MountainKing

Does anyone know what Brandon read during Jordancon?

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Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

A focused southern breeze made the trees sound like they were chattering. Tiny crisp leaves spreading the news of the Traveler’s return. Pure white leaves, clustered along branches like skeletal limbs. Even the bark clinging to the trees was white. In some lands, white meant purity; in others, it meant death. Here, it didn’t mean a thing. It was simply, normal. 

The Traveler sat on the mossy white ground, back to the tree, legs crossed idly as he picked at a pomegranate, eating the seeds one by one then spitting out the pits. They fell on the stark moss-covered ground, leaving red juice like blood running across a sterile white floor. To say he wore rags would have be an insult to many a goodwife who kept her washing rags in much better shape than the Traveler's costume. Ragged brown and black canvas, tattered cloak, and scruffy beard, rubbed dark with a black material that might have been soot — or ash. 

The leaves suddenly fluttered excitedly behind him, and a strange puff of wind blew across the trunks. A moment later, a figure in simple gray robes walked into the clearing. Clean-shaven and silver-haired, he had the look of an aged scribe, not haughty, but tired. 

“So, you’re back,” the elderly visitor said. 

“Did I leave? I am the lingering odor you can never quite locate, my friend. Just when you think I've faded you open your cupboard and find, in an overpowering reveal, that I've merely been… ripening.”

“Hmph, that’s a new look for you.”

The Traveler looked down at his ragged clothing. “I’ve been learning to blend in. Hard to do that in one of my normal costumes.”

“I doubt you’ll ever be the type to blend in.”

“You’d be surprised!”

“Is that soot in your hair?”

“Maybe.”

The elderly man sighed, walking across the short clearing and settling himself down on a large protruding tree root. “You can’t keep doing this.” The Traveler continued to eat his seeds, though he had started to chew them up rather than spitting out the pits. “You will just make things worse.” 

“Ati and Leras are dead,” the Traveler said, picking a piece of seed out from between his teeth. The elderly visitor said nothing, and the Traveler eyed him, leaning in closely, studying the man's eyes. The pupils were rimmed with a silver far too metallic to be natural, at least for a human. 

“You sly old lizard!” the Traveler said, pointing. “You already knew! You were watching! And here you were chastising me.”

“I did NOT interfere,” the elderly man said. ”You meddle in things we promised to leave alone. Things that we—”

Traveler held up a finger, interrupting him, then slowly he pointed at the older man. ”I. Made. No. Promise.”

“You made your choice. Why now seek for things you so eagerly denied? My friend, it’s the dangerous desire, the lust for power best untouched, that created the situation in the first place.”

The Traveler did not reply. The two sat for a time, listening to the winds through the garrulous trees.

“Did you… find what you were seeking?” the elder man finally asked.  

The Traveler shrugged, picking at another seed and nibbling on it. 

“You will not find a way to restore what you have lost, old friend,” the aged man said softly. ”It is impossible.” 

“You don’t know that. The old rules no longer hold.” The Traveler turned the pomegranate over in his fingers. ”Besides, I’ve heard of a place… It doesn’t matter. I don’t care. This isn’t about the dead… or it’s not JUST about the dead, at least.” He dropped the fruit to the ground, wiping his fingers on his riding coat.

“So it’s a simple vendetta, then,” the aged man said, sighing. “How many years have you lived, and you still can’t learn the wisdom of just letting go?”

“A simple vendetta?” the Traveler said. He rose, stalking up to the older man, holding out a finger and touching the man's chest. “You saw what Ati nearly did.” The Traveler leaned down, face even with that of his older companion. “I would not think it MY vendetta that should worry you, old friend.”

 

Footnote: Intro to the reading.
source

I know it's Cosmere and it probably is about Hoid and Frost, but is this a developing story or just a scene he wrote, and is it cosmere canon?

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I believe it is quite canon. Brandon's hesitation in releasing when he wrote it (8-9 years ago) suggests that. As per his little intro before reading it. 

 

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I think unpublished stuff never counts as canon because they can go through extreme changes during writing and revision.  That said, yeah it's almost certainly Frost and Hoid.

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That almost sounds like fain life to me. Yolen short story? Considering Brandon doesn't have plans to write about Hoid and also the timeline for when this must have taken place, this strikes me as internal writings. Small writings about crucial, but small events, for internal consistency... or just for fun, but not for actual publication.

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1 hour ago, Wandering Investor said:

That almost sounds like fain life to me. Yolen short story? Considering Brandon doesn't have plans to write about Hoid and also the timeline for when this must have taken place, this strikes me as internal writings. Small writings about crucial, but small events, for internal consistency... or just for fun, but not for actual publication.

?  Brandon does have plans to write about Hoid.  He's just not sure when, exactly.  Hoid's origin story is Liar of Partinell, then there's Dragonsteel, which will be the story of the Shattering, and finally Mistborn Era 4, the space opera, which will have Hoid as a main character.

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1 minute ago, RShara said:

?  Brandon does have plans to write about Hoid.  He's just not sure when, exactly.  Hoid's origin story is Liar of Partinell, then there's Dragonsteel, which will be the story of the Shattering, and finally Mistborn Era 4, the space opera, which will have Hoid as a main character.

I meant immediate solid plans. He's made us aware that Hoid has adventures all over the place all the time, but anytime he's asked about it, he just says in the future, like for Liar or Dragonsteel. Hadn't heard Hoid as a main character in Era 4, that's neat!

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I'm wondering personally if he'll slide that into the 10th anniversary of Hero of Ages as a postscript...

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2 hours ago, Khyrindor said:

I'm wondering personally if he'll slide that into the 10th anniversary of Hero of Ages as a postscript...

I've seen some people think the same. I like the idea.

As for its canonicity, it's as much as canon as a first draft can be. 

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7 hours ago, RShara said:

...Mistborn Era 4, the space opera, which will have Hoid as a main character.

Where did you see this?

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30 minutes ago, Random Reader said:

Where did you see this?

On Arcanum

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The Chaos Geek

Is there a plan for a book focusing on Hoid or will he always remain an enigma?

Brandon Sanderson

The final Mistborn sequence will have him as a main character, as will the Dragonsteel prequel novels.

source

 

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On ‎23‎.‎04‎.‎2018 at 6:40 PM, MountainKing said:

You saw what Ati nearly did.

Thanks for posting this! What do you guys think this is referring to?

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4 hours ago, Sandra said:

Thanks for posting this! What do you guys think this is referring to?

Ati nearly destroyed a world and all of its people. Not just killed another shard or splintered it, but the actual destruction of a world and all its people. 

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30 minutes ago, Calderis said:

Ati nearly destroyed a world and all of its people. Not just killed another shard or splintered it, but the actual destruction of a world and all its people. 

To give credit to Ati.

He also created all' the People's ancestors he then tried to destroy.

#atiLawer

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Comparing the Traveler's vendetta to Ati might also be a indirect hint at Odium's apparent Vendetta. Kind of a, Ati's Intent made him a danger to the entire cosmere, and he's not the only one. Or just a direct call to Ati almost destroying a planet, one of the two.

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2 hours ago, Yata said:

To give credit to Ati.

He also created all' the People's ancestors he then tried to destroy.

#atiLawer

*helped create. Humans were more Preservation than Ruin.

47 minutes ago, Wandering Investor said:

Comparing the Traveler's vendetta to Ati might also be a indirect hint at Odium's apparent Vendetta. Kind of a, Ati's Intent made him a danger to the entire cosmere, and he's not the only one. Or just a direct call to Ati almost destroying a planet, one of the two.

I think he is pointing out how twisted Ati had become, and if Ati the best of them was so twisted by his power, what of the rest? It kind of implies one of the shards has a vendetta against what I assume is Frost.

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6 hours ago, Fatikis said:

I think he is pointing out how twisted Ati had become, and if Ati the best of them was so twisted by his power, what of the rest? It kind of implies one of the shards has a vendetta against what I assume is Frost.

I agree with the interpretation about Ati. He was a great guy, turned pretty dark and nearly destroyed an entire planet. I read this as Hoid using that example to justify why they should absolutely be more concerned about Odium. If good-guy Ati was capable of destroying an entire world, imagine what terrible Rayse is going to do! We know Hoid spends TWOK and WOR making this very argument, first to Frost and then elsewhere. Seems to me like he's trying to drum up support for his anti-Odium crusade.

Edit: Removed OB spoilers

Edited by Strifelover
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@John203 good call, didn't realize the post wasn't tagged for OB. Just 3 more months and we don't need to worry about that anymore!

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Okay, so let's take this piece by piece...

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A focused southern breeze made the trees sound like they were chattering. Tiny crisp leaves spreading the news of the Traveler’s return. Pure white leaves, clustered along branches like skeletal limbs. Even the bark clinging to the trees was white. In some lands, white meant purity; in others, it meant death. Here, it didn’t mean a thing. It was simply, normal. 

At first, this just seems like simply setting the scene. However, as we analyze more closely, we notice a few things. Firstly, they say the "Traveler's return." From this, we know that a person has been away for a while on some sort of journey, as referenced by the name, and is finally returning to their homeland.

We also notice the part about interpretation: "In some lands, white meant purity; in other, it meant death." This proves that the Traveler has been going to places with different belief systems. 

There are two sentences which refer to this location having a balance of sorts: "Here, it didn't mean a thing. It was simply, normal." Seeing as there is no stronger belief, it is safe to believe that this is where everything once started; this is where forces are equal. It would be the first world of the Cosmere, and its center: Yolen.

With that, we can infer that the Traveler who is returning is Hoid, as he is the only person we know who meets both of the criteria stated: he has been traveling across the Cosmere, and is from Yolen.

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The Traveler sat on the mossy white ground, back to the tree, legs crossed idly as he picked at a pomegranate, eating the seeds one by one then spitting out the pits. They fell on the stark moss-covered ground, leaving red juice like blood running across a sterile white floor. To say he wore rags would have be an insult to many a goodwife who kept her washing rags in much better shape than the Traveler's costume. Ragged brown and black canvas, tattered cloak, and scruffy beard, rubbed dark with a black material that might have been soot — or ash. 

Nothing much is implied here until the last sentence. We just know that the traveling has hard, and Hoid had to endure some wear and tear on his adventures.

However, in the last sentence, we can notice a reference to a different Cosmere world: "...rubbed dark with a black material that might have been soot -- or ash." Ash falls from the sky in Mistborn, so we now know a few key details about this story. Hoid has just come from Scadrial, and this story takes place during or soon after Mistborn Era 1. 

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The leaves suddenly fluttered excitedly behind him, and a strange puff of wind blew across the trunks. A moment later, a figure in simple gray robes walked into the clearing. Clean-shaven and silver-haired, he had the look of an aged scribe, not haughty, but tired. 

“So, you’re back,” the elderly visitor said. 

This is probably just an introduction to a new character in this story. However, this character is referenced as "the elderly visitor." In other times with Hoid's point of view, we never hear him reference anyone as "elderly" or "old." If this story is indeed written in Hoid's point of view, and he is the second oldest character in the Cosmere, second only to Frost, we can assume that this is "elderly visitor" is Frost. 

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“Did I leave? I am the lingering odor you can never quite locate, my friend. Just when you think I've faded you open your cupboard and find, in an overpowering reveal, that I've merely been… ripening.”

This just seems like a Hoid kind of thing to say. To put it in simpler terms, Hoid is basically saying that it seems like he is everywhere, and you can't pin him to a specific location. So, Frost cannot know whether or not he really left Yolen, because if Hoid is everywhere, "everywhere" entails Yolen.

When Hoid says that he has been "ripening," he is saying that he has learned more during his travels. We do not know if this simply means that he knows more factual information, or if he has grown as a person.

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“Hmph, that’s a new look for you.”

The Traveler looked down at his ragged clothing. “I’ve been learning to blend in. Hard to do that in one of my normal costumes.”

"Normal costumes" might refer to when he is the King's Wit, as we get the most time with Hoid during the Stormlight Archive. Wearing his black nobleman's clothing on a different world would make him incredibly conspicuous.

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“I doubt you’ll ever be the type to blend in.”

“You’d be surprised!”

This might be a reference to something we don't know yet, about Hoid's childhood on Yolen.

What Frost says does have some truth to it, though. Even when Hoid is pretending to be a beggar on the streets, he finds some way to make himself distinguishable when the right people pass him-- just enough for him to make a difference. He has a good sense of being in the right place at the right time.

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“Is that soot in your hair?”

“Maybe.”

The elderly man sighed, walking across the short clearing and settling himself down on a large protruding tree root. “You can’t keep doing this.” The Traveler continued to eat his seeds, though he had started to chew them up rather than spitting out the pits. “You will just make things worse.” 

When Frost says "You can't keep doing this," all Sanderfans just feel the need to pull their hair out. What is "this"? It undoubtedly means Hoid's motives, but that is what we all want to know. But, from the line "You will just make things worse," we know that what Hoid wants is dangerous-- or at least, the process of obtaining it is dangerous. 

This also lines up with what Hoid told Dalinar at some point in the Stormlight Archive. He said that he would see the world crash and burn to get what he wanted, and that this would overrule the sadness he would have at seeing the world end. Hoid is clearly desperate.

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“Ati and Leras are dead,” the Traveler said, picking a piece of seed out from between his teeth. The elderly visitor said nothing, and the Traveler eyed him, leaning in closely, studying the man's eyes. The pupils were rimmed with a silver far too metallic to be natural, at least for a human. 

With this, we solidify the time period of which this story takes place. It takes place after Mistborn Era 1. I won't say anything else, as that would spoil the series for anyone who hasn't read it.

This also supplies further evidence that this is Frost, who is not human, but instead, a dragon.

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“You sly old lizard!” the Traveler said, pointing. “You already knew! You were watching! And here you were chastising me.”

Now, we can be completely sure that this is Frost, as Hoid calls him a "sly old lizard."

Hoid also calls him out for being a hypocrite. He claims that Frost was reprimanding him for going to Scadrial, but was actually watching as well.

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“I did NOT interfere,” the elderly man said. ”You meddle in things we promised to leave alone. Things that we—”

Traveler held up a finger, interrupting him, then slowly he pointed at the older man. "I. Made. No. Promise.”

Frost, in response, says that there was a difference between what he did, and what Hoid did: Hoid interfered in the events that had recently passed. Frost even goes farther, saying that there was a promise that they made to leave everything alone. We don't know exactly what promise was made, but perhaps it was a promise to not get involved with anything of Shardic nature. 

However, Hoid then says that he made no promise of any sorts. This is an interesting portion of the story. Hoid is generally seen giving wise and practical advice, and always letting reason guide him. At this point, one can almost envision a smoldering rage behind his eyes. It seems that emotions are ruling his plans and intentions, rather than the reasonable Hoid that we generally see.

With this, we can tell that whatever Hoid wants is more important to him than why the promise was made. Even if it would have benefited the Cosmere to make the promise, Hoid decided not to. We are getting a sense of how valuable the thing he desires is to him. 

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“You made your choice. Why now seek for things you so eagerly denied? My friend, it’s the dangerous desire, the lust for power best untouched, that created the situation in the first place.”

The first two sentences imply that Hoid used to have negative feelings towards whatever he is now chasing. Though he may not have promised to let it go, he made an adamant choice. His current actions go against that choice.

The last sentence of this quote is an obvious reference to the Shattering, where the sixteen original vessels shattered Adonalsium for power. We also know that the Shattering created some major problems, and lead to Hoid's current intentions.

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The Traveler did not reply. The two sat for a time, listening to the winds through the garrulous trees.

“Did you… find what you were seeking?” the elder man finally asked.  

The Traveler shrugged, picking at another seed and nibbling on it.

Frost does care, in some way, whether or not Hoid finds what he was looking for. Otherwise, he would not have asked. Whether this is just care for a friend, or for the Cosmere's best interests, we do not know.

Hoid's passive response suggests that he either (a) has not, (b) is unwilling to share what he found with Frost, or (c) has found some evidence, but not all.

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“You will not find a way to restore what you have lost, old friend,” the aged man said softly. "It is impossible.” 

“You don’t know that. The old rules no longer hold.” The Traveler turned the pomegranate over in his fingers. ”Besides, I’ve heard of a place… It doesn’t matter. I don’t care. This isn’t about the dead… or it’s not JUST about the dead, at least.” He dropped the fruit to the ground, wiping his fingers on his riding coat.

Now, we understand Hoid's intentions a bit better. He has lost something, or rather, someone, and it seems to be someone he cared about. There were some sort of old rules that were in place, maybe before the Shattering, that prevented him from doing what he can to get what he wants. But according to Hoid, these rules no longer exist. 

When Hoid says "Besides, I've heard of a place..." it gives a new depth to the Cosmere. There are things that not even Hoid knows about, and locations that he has not traveled to throughout his long life. But, what is this place that can bring back what has been lost to death? Hoid is very familiar with most places in the Cosmere.

However, just as we start to believe that we understand his intentions, he shuts them down... well, half shuts them down. He says that this is only partly about the dead, and therefore, only partly about what he has lost. 

In this scene, we also get a new perspective of Hoid. It seems that he is desperately trying to convince himself that what he wants to do is possible, even if it is not. This goes back to the emotion/reason switch. Hoid's emotions want him to believe that the goals he set are possible, yet his reason is telling him otherwise.

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“So it’s a simple vendetta, then,” the aged man said, sighing. “How many years have you lived, and you still can’t learn the wisdom of just letting go?

This is where we wonder: a vendetta against who? Against what? When we combine this quote with the one preceding it, one could assume that this is a vendetta against someone who is still living, for causing the death of someone else. Perhaps this is Rayse, the vessel of Odium. In the Stormlight Archive, Hoid admits to him and Rayse not having the best relationship. 

Frost obviously believes that it would be wise to forget that anything ever happened. It would be safer for both of them, and possibly for the entire Cosmere.

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“A simple vendetta?” the Traveler said. He rose, stalking up to the older man, holding out a finger and touching the man's chest. “You saw what Ati nearly did.” The Traveler leaned down, face even with that of his older companion. “I would not think it MY vendetta that should worry you, old friend.”

When Hoid states "You saw what Ati nearly did," there are a few ways that this could be interpreted. However, it is most likely that he is speaking of Shardic intents. If Ati, a good man and the best friend of Leras, tried to destroy Scadrial, what would happen to the other Shards? If someone of evil intent to begin with, possibly Rayse, took on the power of an Shard with evil intentions, what would become of that vessel? What should the world fear?

But, how does this tie into the topic of vendettas? Did Ruin's intent simply play upon emotions that were already in place? Perhaps Ati was seeking vengeance against Leras, his best friend, who put him in restraints on a world they created together.

In addition, Hoid states that there is a different vendetta that Frost should be worrying about. From the way he says it, Hoid implies that this person is a greater danger than he. Is it the desire for revenge of a Shard? Of Frost himself? Because the story ends here, we do not get to see Frost's response to that statement. 

 

To summarize:

Hoid returns to Yolen after the events of Mistborn Era 1. There, he is met by Frost, a dragon, and the only person in the Cosmere older than Hoid. Frost reprimands Hoid for intervening in the events leading up to the deaths of Ati and Leras, the vessels for Ruin and Preservation. This leads into a conversation about Hoid's intentions: he has lost something or someone, most likely a dead loved one, and is seeking revenge for the person who killed them. When Frost tells him that it would be wise to let it go, Hoid reminds him about what a "simple vendetta" could lead to, by referencing how Ati nearly destroyed the world. Hoid leaves us on an ominous note, saying that there are more powerful beings with stronger desires for revenge, who are more dangerous that he could ever be.

Edited by Ashspren
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For some reason, I feel like Threnody is the "place" Hoid is talking about.

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47 minutes ago, Random Reader said:

For some reason, I feel like Threnody is the "place" Hoid is talking about.

That would be interesting-- maybe he was talking about finding Shades, and somehow bringing them back. 

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Pomegranate seems like such a strange fruit for Hoid to be eating. Have we seen them anywhere else in the Cosmere? 

With such a small amount of information it seems like every detail has been very carefully and deliberately used.

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2 hours ago, Jeffo said:

Pomegranate seems like such a strange fruit for Hoid to be eating. Have we seen them anywhere else in the Cosmere? 

With such a small amount of information it seems like every detail has been very carefully and deliberately used.

I think that the pomegranate might be a reference to Greek mythology. In the story of Hades and Persephone, she eats from a pomegranate, and has to stay in the Underworld because of that. We can interpret that in different ways—is Hoid eating the pomegranate to signify him to staying true to his beliefs, regardless the price?

At least, that’s how I am thinking about this.

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11 hours ago, Ashspren said:

I think that the pomegranate might be a reference to Greek mythology. In the story of Hades and Persephone, she eats from a pomegranate, and has to stay in the Underworld because of that. We can interpret that in different ways—is Hoid eating the pomegranate to signify him to staying true to his beliefs, regardless the price?

At least, that’s how I am thinking about this.

I definitely agree that the pomegranate references the story of Demeter, Hades and Persephone in some way. Even the way Hoid spits out some seeds and eats the others, which reflects the way Zeus judged how long Persephone could spend with her mother each year, based on the number of seeds she had swallowed in the underworld.

For me, Hoid/the Traveler seems like Demeter - who, at one point on her quest to recover her daughter, disguised herself so she could blend in and interact with the local mortals and gain information. So far, so Hoid!

On 23/04/2018 at 5:40 PM, MountainKing said:

“You will not find a way to restore what you have lost, old friend,” the aged man said softly. ”It is impossible.” 

“You don’t know that. The old rules no longer hold.” The Traveler turned the pomegranate over in his fingers. ”Besides, I’ve heard of a place… It doesn’t matter. I don’t care. This isn’t about the dead… or it’s not JUST about the dead, at least.” He dropped the fruit to the ground, wiping his fingers on his riding coat.

 Also, Zeus originally told Demeter that the rules were clear - Persephone could not return from Hades (especially since he was the one who'd agreed to the forced marriage between his niece and his brother in the first place ). However, when faced with the chaos / famine / disease Demeter could cause by neglecting her duties as Goddess of the crops etc, he bent the rules for her by allowing Persephone to move between realms based on the number of seeds she had swallowed. Seems like Hoid is another being who could force a rule change just by being SO difficult and chaotic that the rules have no choice but to bend for him!

So yes, to me - the pomegranates point to a deliberate referencing of Greek mythology in some way.

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2 hours ago, ljósmóður said:

I definitely agree that the pomegranate references the story of Demeter, Hades and Persephone in some way. Even the way Hoid spits out some seeds and eats the others, which reflects the way Zeus judged how long Persephone could spend with her mother each year, based on the number of seeds she had swallowed in the underworld.

For me, Hoid/the Traveler seems like Demeter - who, at one point on her quest to recover her daughter, disguised herself so she could blend in and interact with the local mortals and gain information. So far, so Hoid!

 Also, Zeus originally told Demeter that the rules were clear - Persephone could not return from Hades (especially since he was the one who'd agreed to the forced marriage between his niece and his brother in the first place ). However, when faced with the chaos / famine / disease Demeter could cause by neglecting her duties as Goddess of the crops etc, he bent the rules for her by allowing Persephone to move between realms based on the number of seeds she had swallowed. Seems like Hoid is another being who could force a rule change just by being SO difficult and chaotic that the rules have no choice but to bend for him!

So yes, to me - the pomegranates point to a deliberate referencing of Greek mythology in some way.

This is awesome, it seems to fit so well.

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