RedBeardRaven

Dissembling The Letter

32 posts in this topic

I have been wondering if anyone has really picked The Letter apart. I know that it has been theorized (and basically all but confirmed) that Hoid wrote it. I have not been able to find anything here, on the 17thshard site, where we go over some of the curious things inside the letter. I will quote the letter here as well as previously linked The Letter for referencing. Below will be the parts that I find very interesting and would like to know more/theorize about. I will quote each sentence for referencing so that everyone knows what part we are talking about.

I understand that a good portion of this may be redundant. I accept that as sometimes being redundant is necessary in research. I just want to try and figure out more with this letter.

1: Old friend, I hope this missive finds you well.

2: Though, as you are now essentially immortal, I would guess that wellness on your part is something of a given.

3: I realize that you are probably still angry.

4: That is pleasant to know.

5: Much as your perpetual health, I have come to rely upon your dissatisfaction with me.

6: It is one of the cosmere's great constants, I should think.

7: Let me first assure you that the element is quite safe.

8: I have found a good home for it.

9: I protect its safety like I protect my own skin, you might say.

10: You do not agree with my quest.

11: I understand that, so much as it is possible to understand someone with whom I disagree so completely.

12: Might I be quite frank?

13: Before, you asked why I was so concerned.

14: It is for the following reason: Ati was once a kind and generous man, and you saw what became of him.

15: Rayse, on the other hand, was among the most loathsome, crafty, and dangerous individuals I had ever met.

16: He holds the most frightening and terrible of all the Shards.

17: Ponder on that for a time, you old reptile, and tell me if your insistence on nonintervention holds firm.

18: Because I assure you, Rayse will not be similarly inhibited.

19: One need only look at the aftermath of his brief visit to Sel to see proof of what I say.

20: In case you have turned a blind eye to that disaster, know that Aona and Skai are both dead, and that which they held has been Splintered.

21: Presumably to prevent anyone from rising up to challenge Rayse.

22: You have accused me of arrogance in my quest.

23: You have accused me of perpetuating my grudge against Rayse and Bavadin.

24: Both accusations are true.

25: Neither point makes the things I have written to you untrue.

26: I am being chased.

27: Your friends of the Seventeenth Shard, I suspect.

28: I believe they're still lost, following a false trail I left for them.

29: They'll be happier that way.

30: I doubt they have any inkling what to do with me should they actually catch me.

31: If anything I have said makes a glimmer of sense to you, I trust that you'll call them off.

32: Or maybe you could astound me and ask them to do something productive for once.

33: For I have never been dedicated to a more important purpose, and the very pillars of the sky will shake with the results of our war here.

34: I ask again.

35: Support me.

36: Do not stand aside and let disaster consume more lives.

37: I've never begged you for something before, old friend.

38: I do so now.”

Line #1 implies that the author of this letter was at one point friends with the recipient. It also, partially implies that the bearer is not the author. I say this because it says "I hope this missive finds you well." I take this as "I don't know if I am or someone else is going to give this letter to you. Either way, I hope you get it.

Line #2 implies that the recipient is a god, a Shardholder, or in same way/shape/form immortal. This also implies that at one point in time, the recipient was not immortal. They acquired immortality. This leads me to believe they are a Shardholder more than anything else.

Line #3 implies that the recipient is angry with the author. This is hard to refute as the sentence that I wrote and the sentence on line #3 are nearly identical.

Line #4 implies that the author is happy to know that the recipient is (still) angry with the author. This could mean that the author did something to vex the recipient on purpose.

Line #5 implies a few things. This is especially true when taking into account line #4. This further states that the recipient is immortal or has the ability to have everlasting health. This does not imply that they are not invulnerable to dying by other means. The other thing that this line implies is that the author might have been a pupil/student of the recipient. This could also/rather imply that the author needs the recipient to still be wroth with the author. This could possibly be a necessity for a plan to be executed properly.

Line #6 baffles me slightly. This line could imply a multitude of things. This could mean that the recipients anger towards the author could actually have an effect on the cosmere. This also implies that there might/is more than one constant in the cosmere besides the anger from recipient to author.

Another thing that this line could imply is that over all of the cosmere the recipient has been angry with the author. With this idea in mind that could mean that the recipient has been traveling through/to all of the other cosmere worlds as well as the author. This might be slightly farfetched but I cannot rule this out just yet.

This line could also be just a play on words.

Line #7 is the line that really peaked my interested in dissecting The Letter. This line implies that there is something that the author has that is of value that the author is keeping safe. The author wants to reaffirm to the recipient that this is the case for the element. I have no clue what the element is but both of them do. And because they are "old friends" this could lead back to Adonalsium.

Line #8 implies (when coupled with line #7) that the element may or may not be with the author at the time of writing the letter. The home that the author found is a place that the author has the ability to keep safe as well as the element. This also implies that the element may or may not be in that home at the time of writing the letter. (The letter only says that the author has found a home and not that the element is in the home.)

Line #9 implies that the author is certain to protect the element (when coupled with line #7) like the author would protect their own life (or literally just their skin). To me, this implies that the element could be inside the author and that is the home and a way for the author to protect it as they would their own skin. This could mean a Shard or something else related to a Shard. Possibly a binder/core for the Shards, maybe?

Line #10 implies that the author knows for a fact that the recipient does not agree with the author's motives. This could be at the very core of why the recipient is angry with the author.

Line #11 implies (when coupled with line #10) that the recipient and the author disagree about something specifically. This could be, again, something from their past that changed their friendship. The disagreement is apparently complete in that there is no part of the disagreement, on either side, that either believes is flawed.

Line #12 implies that the author may or may not have been serious or not forward before this line. This could also just be that the author is wanting to ask a question straight forward without any wit or banter to construe it.

Line #13 is referring to a past time when the recipient noted that the author was concerned. Again this implies that they knew each other in the past. This could be at the time when they were friends or were not or even in the middle when the friendship was breaking.

Line #14 implies (when taking line #12 into consideration) that the reason for concern was what happened with another person that they both know. Ati. Apparently Ati was nice, at the time that both author and recipient knew Ati, but then something changed Ati into being not nice. This something could be an actual object or not. So far it is unclear.

Line #15 states that another person that both author and recipient knew, Rayse, had been dangerous and bad person as far as the author was concerned.

Line #16 implies (when taking into account line #15) that Rayse is in possession or was in possession, as far as the author is aware, of a Shard that could do fearful things. This does not necessarily mean it is the most powerful shard, just the most frightening. This also implies that the recipient may or may not know about Rayse holding this fearful Shard.

Line #17 implies that the author is bringing this information (when taking line #16 into account) to the recipients attention. This also suggests that the recipient is someone who has decided or is not taking any action against Rayse, or possibly Ati too, who could be doing something horrible. This also suggests that the author is trying to get the recipient to taking action or possibly change their view/standpoint on a situation. Lastly, this line could insinuate that the recipient is an actual reptile or is trying to insult or have a jape at the recipient. This is possible to force the recipient into action.

Line #18 implies (when taking line #17 into account) that Rayse was or is not inhibited in their own actions.

Line #19 is stating that Rayse had a part in some sort of occurrence on Sel. Also, this implies that Rayse only stayed on Sel for a short time and caused the occurrence before leaving.

Line #20 suggests that the recipient is refusing to hold or consider that Rayse did anything on Sel. This could be or that the recipient does not believe that Rayse is a bad person.

Also the author is stating that two other people, that which both author and recipient knew potential from when they were friends or thereafter, have died. There is an implication that these people, Aona and Skai were killed potentially by Rayse. In this line the author states that what they had was Splintered. Since we know that Shards can be Splintered then this is highly likely. What is uncertain is if Aona and Skai held one Shard between them or more than one. The author is bring this to the attention to the recipient as it might not be known to them and could help sway their judgment.

Line #21 implies that the author does not know specifically the reason why that object that Aona and Skai was Splintered. The author believes that the reasoning that potential Rayse Splintered the Shard(s) was to protect Rayse from being hindered in their objective. What Aona and Skai held apparently held either a power or intent that could equal Rayse’s own ability. It is either this or that if Aona and Skai held more than one Shard each then the power or ability between those two was able to stop or hinder Rayse.

Line #22 states that the author knows that the recipient thinks that the author is arrogant. This could be what stopped their friendship in the past. This could also be the focal point of what they disagree upon. The author is bringing up so that the recipient is aware that the author is aware of this still.

Line #23 implies that the recipient judged the author for the author’s actions or feelings toward both Rayse and Bavadin. Also the author is stating that the recipient did not agree with the continual feelings that the author had toward Rayse and/or Bavadin. Bavadin is potentially another person that they both knew in the past.

Line #24 is where the author agrees with the recipients thoughts about the author. The author states that he is in fact both arrogant and holding a perpetual grudge on Rayse and Bavadin. This could be a confession of sorts or just a means to aid the author in swaying the recipient in deciding to act.

Line #25 implies that (with line #24 in mind) even though the author’s feelings and emotions toward Rayse and Bavadin is/was (potentially still) strong that their or just Rayse’s harmful or miss intent actions are still true.

Line #26 states plainly that the author knows that he is being chased. The author is also telling the recipient that the author knows that he is being chased.

Line #27 implies (with line 26 in mind) that the author believes that the people chasing him are the friends of the Seventeenth Shard. Also this line states that the author knows that the recipient is or was a friend of the friends of the Seventeenth Shard. This could mean that the people chasing him are a group known as the Seventeenth Shard or that there is a Seventeenth Shard that has underlings to do it’s biding. This also suggests that the recipient is or was a friend of the Seventeenth Shard at one point or is at least aware of them.

Line #28 implies that the author believes but does not know that the people chasing him have lost his trail or are just plainly lost in their ideals. This line also states that the author has led the pursers away from his own path and onto a false path. This could be a physical trail or a hypothetical trail filed with false hints or ideals.

Line #29 implies that the author thinks that the false trail that he left for them will keep them happy or make them happier. This line also implies that the author knows what the pursuers intentions/ideals/objective is/was.

Line #30 implies that the author believes that if he were to be caught by his pursuers then the mere act of catching him would confuse them. This could mean that the pursuers were created/formed to catch the author. This could also mean that if these people chasing the author caught up to him then they would not know how to actual deal with the author. These people who are chasing the author might not have been informed, have the knowledge, or the power/ability to do anything about/to the author.

Line #31 implies that the author does not know if the recipient is aware of what the author is saying. The author could be boasting in order to request through an intriguing comment for his pursuers to be stopped. This could be a feign in order to see if the recipient will take action in order to aid the author or just to draw out an answer (through possibly action/actions) from the recipient. This line also implies that the recipient has the ability to stop or persuade his pursuers. If nothing else then it might mean that the recipient has an influence upon his hunters.

Line #32 implies that the recipient could even request that the pursuers help their target instead of hinder him. (when coupled with line #31) This line also implies further that the recipient is still at an odds with the author but if (taking line #31 into account) the recipient is aware of what the author is trying to boast or tell then they could potentially do something and further surprise the author in changing their opposing opinion.

Line #33 appears to be of an intent to persuade and affirm the recipient of the author’s actions. The author states that he has not had any nobler purpose in mind and that he is seeking to do this one thing. This line also implies that the foundation of the sky (which could just be a ___ ) will be torn down with the war that the author intends to bring or start. The author might not be meaning to bring a war but believes that with his intentions there will be a war that will destroy/shake the “pillars of sky”.

Line #34 is implying that the author is asking the recipient for a second time. It also implies a plead toward the recipient.

Line #35 is a request from the author to the recipient to aid the author in his quest/idea/purpose.

Line #36 implies that the author knows of a destruction/malicious event being brought to take more lives. This could mean more than kill more lives and could mean that the disaster could be actually taking those lives from one place to another. This also implies that this sort of event/disaster has happened before. This also suggests that both the author and the recipient were there when the event/disaster happened at least once before. Also, this (when coupled with line #34 and #35) seems to be a further plead for the recipient to act instead of sit idle before this event.

Line #37 implies that the author has never pleaded or begged with the recipient before this time. The author also states that they, the author and recipient, were at one time friends in the past.

Line #38 seems to be the last plead of the letter and the sole purpose of this letter. (As this is the last line)

Before we go any further I wanted to make sure that all of the things said seemed to be true with everyone else.

Edited by RedBeardRaven
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Line #27 implies (with line 26 in mind) that the author believes that the people chasing him are the friends of the 17th Shard. Also this line states that the author knows that the recipient is or was a friend of the friends of the 17th Shard. This could mean that the people chasing him are a group known as the 17th Shard or that there is a 17th Shard that has underlings to do it’s biding. This also suggests that the recipient is or was a friend of the 17th Shard at one point or is at least aware of them.

Just me nitpicking - for purposes of distinction, the organization in the books is referred to as Seventeenth Shard. This is specifically so we can more easily distinguish it from this very website, 17th Shard.

Also, little known fact - this letter was written on the back of a grocery list.

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"To buy: element polish, heat lamp for that old reptile, new pillars for the sky, milk, eggs, and bread crumbs for the false trail"

seriously though, it's an interesting point you make about aona and skai perhaps having the ability to stand up to rayse. now iirc, it's pretty much confirmed that aona and skai each had their own shard, but they did share something in common, namely, the Dor. the Dor could have formed from an interaction between their two shards, or perhaps it was already there as the Power of Creation. even if it isn't, we know that it is powerful. powerful enough to worry rayse? maybe so, since he apparently felt it necessary to go and remove the guiding minds holding those two shards, and make sure that no one else could take them up.

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#14: Ati = Ruin. That should remove some ambiguity.

Ah, but that is the thing. This is saying that Ati was a man once who became something else. Potentially harmful. To me this could mean that Ati and the Shard were what created Ruin. This could be from the event in the past, potentially the breaking of Adonalsium, and that breaking was what made Ati turn into Ruin while holding the Shard. (I don't see any implications that the Shard had it's own cognition prior to Ati since he/she is the original holder.)

Just me nitpicking - for purposes of distinction, the organization in the books is referred to as Seventeenth Shard. This is specifically so we can more easily distinguish it from this very website, 17th Shard.

Also, little known fact - this letter was written on the back of a grocery list.

Ah, very true, I will go back and correct my post. Thanks for that! Also, thanks for that little known fact. :D

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Ruin IS the shard that was held by Ati. Brandon has said that if a regular person holds and/or is connected to a shard for long enough they become warped by the shard itself and start to take on the shards intent.

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"To buy: element polish, heat lamp for that old reptile, new pillars for the sky, milk, eggs, and bread crumbs for the false trail"

seriously though, it's an interesting point you make about aona and skai perhaps having the ability to stand up to rayse. now iirc, it's pretty much confirmed that aona and skai each had their own shard, but they did share something in common, namely, the Dor. the Dor could have formed from an interaction between their two shards, or perhaps it was already there as the Power of Creation. even if it isn't, we know that it is powerful. powerful enough to worry rayse? maybe so, since he apparently felt it necessary to go and remove the guiding minds holding those two shards, and make sure that no one else could take them up.

I should note that we don't know what the Dor is, at all. That doesn't make what you said wrong, of course, I just wanted to make everyone get on the same page.

However, calling it the "power of creation" is premature at best. Part of the power of creation, yes, but I strongly suspect that Adonalsium itself is the power of creation, and "Shards of Adonalsium" mean "fragments of the power of creation." That seems like the most direct interpretation, linguistically, and the simplest conceptually.

So, the Dor (whether made up of Aona, Skai, or both) would be a part of the power of creation, but not the power of creation itself.

Ruin IS the shard that was held by Ati. Brandon has said that if a regular person holds and/or is connected to a shard for long enough they become warped by the shard itself and start to take on the shards intent.

Yup. All the letter author is signifying with referencing Ati is, "Hey, Shard's intents can turn good people into really nasty ones. You really need to pay attention to that nasty dude with an exceptionally nasty Shard. That is especially bad."

The reason why a Shard's intent molds its holder's mind is because that intent is what actually keeps that person alive, now that their body is "vaporized." See the article on intents, because copying and pasting the quotes there would be too much effort :P.

Edited by Chaos
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One thing came to mind after re-reading The Letter today. We know a few things about the Author of The Letter.

The Author:

Was alive when Adonalsium broke

Was a friend of the recipient

Is holding an "element" and is "protecting it's safety like they would their own skin"

Is being chased by someone(s) who are potentially The Seventeenth Shard

Set a false trail for their pursuers to follow

Is angry at Rayse and Bavadin for some reason

Is arrogant

Is potentially trying to stop Rayse, maybe Bavadin too

A part of me wants to believe that there was a messenger delivering The Letter. This could be the false trail that the author states in the letter. The messenger could be going to the recipient and taking the pursuers there to have the recipient be confronted to take action in one way or another.

We believe that Adonalsium was broken in the Dragonsteel book(s?) and that there was an original Hoid there. We also know that the Hoid that is traveling through the Cosmere now was given the title by the original Hoid. I am not certain but this could of happened during the same time as the breaking of Adonalsium. We also know that the original Hoid died.

Could it be that the original Hoid "died" and fused with a Shard and passed down his name to the "new Hoid" in order to trick The Seventeenth Shard from trying to stop him? Could the original Hoid have written the letter and sent it with the new Hoid to have The Seventeenth Shard stray away from his scent and be brought to the recipient to help aid him? Could it be that the Author holds a Shard and is asking for a "pairing up" of the recipient as Aona and Skai did to try and stop Rayse?

I am not certain about this whole thing but a part of me feels that this could be right. I do not have enough information and I have not read enough about the rest of the Cosmere or the other books to know if I am flawed.

Help me 17th Shard. You're my only hope.

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actually in the Liar of Partheniel{sp fail} sample chapters, the "original Hoid" dies onscreen in the first chapter, so the Original Hoid is just plain dead.

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One thing came to mind after re-reading The Letter today. We know a few things about the Author of The Letter.

The Author:

Was alive when Adonalsium broke

Was a friend of the recipient

Is holding an "element" and is "protecting it's safety like they would their own skin"

Is being chased by someone(s) who are potentially The Seventeenth Shard

Set a false trail for their pursuers to follow

Is angry at Rayse and Bavadin for some reason

Is arrogant

Is potentially trying to stop Rayse, maybe Bavadin too

A part of me wants to believe that there was a messenger delivering The Letter. This could be the false trail that the author states in the letter. The messenger could be going to the recipient and taking the pursuers there to have the recipient be confronted to take action in one way or another.

We believe that Adonalsium was broken in the Dragonsteel book(s?) and that there was an original Hoid there. We also know that the Hoid that is traveling through the Cosmere now was given the title by the original Hoid. I am not certain but this could of happened during the same time as the breaking of Adonalsium. We also know that the original Hoid died.

Could it be that the original Hoid "died" and fused with a Shard and passed down his name to the "new Hoid" in order to trick The Seventeenth Shard from trying to stop him? Could the original Hoid have written the letter and sent it with the new Hoid to have The Seventeenth Shard stray away from his scent and be brought to the recipient to help aid him? Could it be that the Author holds a Shard and is asking for a "pairing up" of the recipient as Aona and Skai did to try and stop Ray am not certain about this whole thing but a part of me feels that this could be right. I do not have enough information and I have not read enough about the rest of the Cosmere or the other books to know if I am flawed.

Help me 17th Shard. You're my only hope.

A couple of things. Your first fact, that the author was alive when Adonalsium shattered, is not a direct implication of the letter. You jumped to some conclusions there. More precisely, the letter says that the author was alive and knew the Shardholders before they got their Shards. That could be an important distinction. I do believe that the author was alive when Adonalsium was Shattered, but I just wanted to make sure that that is a theory, not an absolute necessity.

I don't think there's anything special about original Hoid. In the Liar of Partinel sample chapters, Hoid dies essentially on the first page. That's supposedly the book where Adonalsium is Shattered (maybe) but even if it wasn't, the old Hoid wasn't a Shardholder. I'd be willing to bet that in the times of Liar, there is no Seventeenth Shard, either.

(You can download the Liar sample chapters in the Verified List of Unpublished books/chapters in the Brandon News and Discussion forum. There's a link to it.)

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I see. Thank you CrazyRioter and Chaos. I just read the first chapter of Liar and it appears that my theory collapsed on it's face. Side note, the "More samples" link does not link to anything now.

Chaos, you are correct that the author does not indicate that they were there at the shattering of Adonalsium. It only suggests that the author was alive at the time.

Well then. Do we know what the element is then? That has been bugging me since I read it.

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nope. We have almost no basis on which to guess anything about the element.

the only things we know about it is that it's something powerful and/or dangerous that both the Author and the Recipient wanted protected and that if you take the comment about protecting it like he does his own skin, the Author embedded it in his own body somewhere, which indicates a small object.

some people thought it was a Lerasium bead, but I don't think one Lerasium bead is sufficiently powerful to warrant that much apparent concern.

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Chaos, you are correct that the author does not indicate that they were there at the shattering of Adonalsium. It only suggests that the author was alive at the time.

Well then. Do we know what the element is then? That has been bugging me since I read it.

Technically, Adonalsium could have Shattered, and if no one picked up the Shards for a thousand years, then everything in the letter would still be satisfied. It is not a necessary and logical consequence that the letter writer had to be alive at the when Adonalsium was Shattered.

(This is kind of a silly, semantic distinction, because I do think that it is likely the author lived at that time. But it is not at all a logical consequence of the letter that that must be the case.)

The element is a huge mystery.

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It may be worth pointing out that the author's goal and stopping Rayse & Bavadin may not be the same thing- the letter could be read as either "my goal is to oppose these two" or "let's ignore my goal and the fact you don't like it, these two shards are dangerous."

Personally, I think the latter makes more sense.

Edited by Ari
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First things first,I am just going to assume the letter writer was Hoid until someone can bring forward another good, viable theory more specific than "someone we haven't met yet". I apologize to those who dislike this assumption, feel free to substitute "the author" if it makes you feel better (hopefully that won't cause any of my points to fall through).

Now that that is out of the way...

31: If anything I have said makes a glimmer of sense to you, I trust that you'll call them off.

32: Or maybe you could astound me and ask them to do something productive for once.

These lines really imply to me that:

The recipient, actually lets call him Fred, much easier; so, they imply Fred is either the one who set the seventeenth shard on Hoid's trail in the first place, or he is their leader/master/director. It could be both though I am inclined to think he just asked them to find Hoid, or set them on his trail, especially as they are referred to as "your friends of the Seventeenth Shard". That doesn't imply leadership to me.

In fact reading over it again it seemed to me that one of, if not The, main objective of the letter was to get Fred to interfere with the Seventeenth Shard's search. Look at the structure of the letter:

1: Old friend, I hope this missive finds you well.

2: Though, as you are now essentially immortal, I would guess that wellness on your part is something of a given.

3: I realize that you are probably still angry.

4: That is pleasant to know.

5: Much as your perpetual health, I have come to rely upon your dissatisfaction with me.

6: It is one of the cosmere's great constants, I should think.

7: Let me first assure you that the element is quite safe.

8: I have found a good home for it.

9: I protect its safety like I protect my own skin, you might say.

These first nine lines are all housekeeping, pleasantries, touching on important topics of the past in order to dismiss them, and setting Fred at ease. That is not to say I don't think they are packed with good information and may contain key clues, both for us and Fred, but right now I am talking about Hoid's intent in writing them. What was his purpose behind writing these lines? This theory says it was to put Fred in the right mood for his future request.

10: You do not agree with my quest.

11: I understand that, so much as it is possible to understand someone with whom I disagree so completely.

12: Might I be quite frank?

13: Before, you asked why I was so concerned.

14: It is for the following reason: Ati was once a kind and generous man, and you saw what became of him.

15: Rayse, on the other hand, was among the most loathsome, crafty, and dangerous individuals I had ever met.

16: He holds the most frightening and terrible of all the Shards.

17: Ponder on that for a time, you old reptile, and tell me if your insistence on nonintervention holds firm.

18: Because I assure you, Rayse will not be similarly inhibited.

19: One need only look at the aftermath of his brief visit to Sel to see proof of what I say.

20: In case you have turned a blind eye to that disaster, know that Aona and Skai are both dead, and that which they held has been Splintered.

21: Presumably to prevent anyone from rising up to challenge Rayse.

22: You have accused me of arrogance in my quest.

23: You have accused me of perpetuating my grudge against Rayse and Bavadin.

24: Both accusations are true.

25: Neither point makes the things I have written to you untrue.

Here Hoid quickly rehashes the pertinent parts of their previous disagreement, probably because he wants Fred to know he has not changed his views either, therefore they need not re-cover old ground; and skillfully uses those past disagreements to bring forward his best and strongest arguments. The placement of these lines in conjunction with the sudden switch to the topic of being chased in the following lines is what really makes me feel that Hoid wants Fred to intervene with the Seventeenth Shard much more than he actually puts in writing. Presumably because, as Fred is angry at him, has been for a long time, and will continue to be for some time yet, he might be less inclined to comply if Hoid said outright how badly he wanted him to intervene. He downplays both the intelligence and power of the Seventeenth Shard implying that he sees them as of little importance to anything, making it a small request to ask Fred to call them off, though the placement implies much more importance.

26: I am being chased.

27: Your friends of the Seventeenth Shard, I suspect.

28: I believe they're still lost, following a false trail I left for them.

29: They'll be happier that way.

30: I doubt they have any inkling what to do with me should they actually catch me.

31: If anything I have said makes a glimmer of sense to you, I trust that you'll call them off.

32: Or maybe you could astound me and ask them to do something productive for once.

Small request, easy to comply with, doesn't require a break in the policy of nonintervention.

33: For I have never been dedicated to a more important purpose, and the very pillars of the sky will shake with the results of our war here.

34: I ask again.

35: Support me.

36: Do not stand aside and let disaster consume more lives.

37: I've never begged you for something before, old friend.

38: I do so now.”

And then the grand finale. Hoid hits the strongest points of his previous argument, calling up any stirrings that argument may have made in the heart of Fred, and finally closes with an all out plea relying on the strength of the friendship they once had, reaching back across time and bitter feelings to a time when they felt the common bond of that friendship. Notice the word I bolded, that word ties this final plea to the previous request, lending that request a very large amount significance without stating right out how important Hoid finds it that the Seventeenth Shard be asked to stop chasing him.

Now, I make no claims as to whether Hoid really cares that the Seventeenth Shard are chasing him. He may find them as unimportant as he pretends. I think they are probably more of a nuisance than he lets on, but that they are not the real reason he tries so hard to get Fred to call them off. What he really wants is for Fred to get involved, but Fred doesn't want to get involved, so Hoid brings out all the big guns calling forth his considerable powers of persuasion and tries to get Fred to do one simple thing. Something won't actually break any of Fred's self-imposed policies, something that will relieve a very large and potentially disastrous (when you are engaged in the kind of war Hoid is, and that war is coming to such a critical turning point as what we see in the Stormlight Archive, anything going wrong, even something small, is disastrous) relieve a large and potentially disastrous annoyance, but ultimately something that will get Fred involved with Hoid again and thereby make him more likely to respond favorably later when a second bigger, but much more urgent, request is made.

I am sorry, my thoughts surely do ramble about. Hopefully this makes some sort of sense.

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I think viewing the first nine lines at face value may be a mistake. I wonder if some of them are sarcastic or even veiled references to something we don't know about yet. I particularly think that there's something going on behind the line "old friend" that probably relates to some part of the larger Dragonsteel story we don't know about.

Or it could just be a poor joke about immortality.

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ummmmmm something just jumped out at me.

17: Ponder on that for a time, you old reptile, and tell me if your insistence on nonintervention holds firm.

Hoid is from the dragonsteel series. There is discussion that there are dragons in dragonsteel.

Edited by Catalyst21
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ummmmmm something just jumped out at me.

Hoid is from the dragonsteel series. There is discussion that there are dragons in dragonsteel.

If we were theoryland, there would already be factions about the nature of the recipient. I'm of the "The recipient is an actual dragon" faction, myself. Your quote is really close to the only evidence for it, but why not?

Thucydides: Awesome analysis. I think you've pegged most of the intent, assuming we can take the letter at face value. Wonderful. Have you done this kind of analysis before?

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26: I am being chased.

27: Your friends of the Seventeenth Shard, I suspect.

28: I believe they're still lost, following a false trail I left for them.

I had a thought regarding this. This "false trail" - from what we the readers know, the "false trail" seems to mean "They think I'm around the Purelake, but I'm really at the Shattered Plains." (This, of course, requires that the letter is written some time around the events of WoK, and not much, much earlier.) What if the "false trail" referred to, when the letter was written, means "They think I'm on Nalthis, but I'm really on Roshar", and that Hoid doesn't know that Galladon and the others have successfully trailed him to Roshar?

No way to prove it either way, I know, but just something interesting that popped into my head. Hoid seems crafty, though, and has much more experience than Galladon, so I'd actually be a little surprised if Galladon and the others managed to get one up on Hoid without the latter knowing.

17: Ponder on that for a time, you old reptile, and tell me if your insistence on nonintervention holds firm.

Another thought that popped into my head. Brandon knows what we're like. He knows we'll do this very thing - try to analyze every single word that he wrote in an attempt to figure things out before it's all spelled out for us.

It wouldn't surprise me if he put a line like this in there, intending its use to be literal, while we initially gloss over it as a simple insult. Hiding something in plain sight, as it were. "Hee hee, I'm actually telling them outright that the recipient is a reptile, but they're going to think the writer is just insulting the recipient. /cackle"

So yeah, I too am leaning towards the dragon idea.

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Well someone should write up a theory and we can start espousing it. Thank you happyman, no I have not.

I had a thought regarding this. This "false trail" - from what we the readers know, the "false trail" seems to mean "They think I'm around the Purelake, but I'm really at the Shattered Plains." (This, of course, requires that the letter is written some time around the events of WoK, and not much, much earlier.) What if the "false trail" referred to, when the letter was written, means "They think I'm on Nalthis, but I'm really on Roshar", and that Hoid doesn't know that Galladon and the others have successfully trailed him to Roshar?

The feeling I had was that Hoid did know where they were, but they were much closer than he wanted them. So when he says:

28: I believe they're still lost, following a false trail I left for them.

he is mostly using bravado. Yes, they are on a false trail, but they are still on the right planet, much too close for comfort. That may not be the case, maybe Hoid really is worried about them as little as his words convey, but I think there is a strong possibility he is bluffing at least a little.

edit - small grammatical error

Edited by Thucydides
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Out of curiousity, any idea how long this is taking place after Elantris? Are the Elantrians such as Galladon effectively immortal? I've never been particularly clear about the chronological order between different books of the cosmere. I think I remember reading that Alloy of Law actually takes place before Stormlight Archive, but that all the other books happened in the Cosmere in the order they were published. But I don't think I've seen anywhere the span of years between Elantris and Mistborn, Mistborn and Warbreaker, and Warbreaker and Stormlight Archive.

From the reddit interview, Brandon said that Hoid is far older than a human could normally be, but that he hasn't actually experience all the years he has lived through. Something about a time dilation trick I believe. I wonder if that's another possible application of Shadesmar, besides traveling between Cosmere planets.

Also, weren't those of you who read Dragonsteel saying in the other Hoid Letter thread that you have a pretty a good guess who the letter was written to?

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I heard it's 500 years between Elantris and Way of Kings, with Warbreaker taking place a few hundred years before WoK.

Elantrians are not as immortal as Returned and others of the Fifth Heightening, because they are subject to diseases, like the heart problem that killed Galladon's father, but they may be ageless, I don't think it's been made clear, certainly they live significantly longer then regular humans.

And unfortunately we aren't supposed to discuss details of unpublished works that aren't available to the general public.

Edited by CrazyRioter
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And unfortunately we aren't supposed to discuss details of unpublished works that aren't available to the general public.

Fortunately, the first few chapters of Liar are available to the general public.

An observation: The Letter, no matter how many hints it contains about the greater cosmere, is directly connected to WoK and the Stormlight Archive, and is meant to be (at least partially) accessible to people who haven't read all the books.

To me, this means two things:

1. the author's "quest" is directly connected with Roshar and the Last Desolation.

2. The "war" the author refers to is the Last Desolation.

The war is referred to as "our war here". "here" presumably means Roshar. "war" means conflict, battles, and lots of people dying. "our" means the author, and presumably Rayse, and... who else?

Also, I suspect that the author is not being entirely metaphorical when he (she?*) says that "the very pillars of the sky will shake with the results of our war here." What does this mean.

* technically, the author could be female, but I subscribe to the theory that the author is Hoid. The author must meet the following conditions: is on Roshar, is being chased, and has some ability to communicate with Shards. Hoid fits all of these criteria, and the thought of there being more than one seems beyond all probability.

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Fortunately, the first few chapters of Liar are available to the general public.

An observation: The Letter, no matter how many hints it contains about the greater cosmere, is directly connected to WoK and the Stormlight Archive, and is meant to be (at least partially) accessible to people who haven't read all the books.

To me, this means two things:

1. the author's "quest" is directly connected with Roshar and the Last Desolation.

2. The "war" the author refers to is the Last Desolation.

The war is referred to as "our war here". "here" presumably means Roshar. "war" means conflict, battles, and lots of people dying. "our" means the author, and presumably Rayse, and... who else?

Also, I suspect that the author is not being entirely metaphorical when he (she?*) says that "the very pillars of the sky will shake with the results of our war here." What does this mean.

* technically, the author could be female, but I subscribe to the theory that the author is Hoid. The author must meet the following conditions: is on Roshar, is being chased, and has some ability to communicate with Shards. Hoid fits all of these criteria, and the thought of there being more than one seems beyond all probability.

I'm guessing that the Stormlight Archive is just part of a bigger war, but it will be a major, perhaps even critical, part of that war. In addition, given the amount of Cosmere hints being dropped and given that Hoid was a major character and even tossed out the name Adonalsium at people, we'll probably learn enough backstory to make sense of what happens, even without reading the other books in the Cosmere.

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Following the theory that the recipient is an actual reptile, I got to wondering if the sender might also be draconian. There is no real evidence for or against this, but it does shed a new light on the bit about how he would protect the element like his own skin. Reptiles, of course, molt. Then they just leave their old skin behind.

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