We know from Warbreaker that people with large amounts of Breath make colors richer around them, and that to achieve Perfect Pitch one needs enough Breath to reach the second Heightening. In Words of Radiance, Wit is tuning an instrument and says "perfect pitch makes this so much easier than it used to be." This indicates that Wit had achieved the second Heightening and should make the colors around him richer. Why doesn't he?

  • 1
    Hmm, maybe he does but people not familiar with the effect don't notice. Or maybe he can suppress it - he's really good in hiding. Or maybe among his various powers there's something that neutralizes this effect...
    – Mithoron
    Dec 22 '18 at 19:37
  • 4
    Remember how Vasher could hide certain things?
    – Adamant
    Dec 22 '18 at 19:39
  • But Denth didn't keep Breath because he couldn't hide it and he was one of the 5 scholars
    – Antheloth
    Dec 23 '18 at 11:26
  • Denth could hide his divine breath and normal ones can be hidden easier by storing in objects.
    – Mithoron
    Dec 27 '18 at 23:47
  • But if they were in objects he wouldnt have perfect pitch
    – Antheloth
    Dec 28 '18 at 9:04

Hoid has some mixture of mechanisms to prevent it, most likely based on abilities that have only been hinted at so far.

This is what I can find from Brandon on the subject:


Why is Hoid’s color aura from his Breaths not noticed by anyone on Roshar? Are the characters just not used to noticing that sort of thing, or does he not have one?

Brandon Sanderson:

There are a mixture of reasons. Not the least is Hoid's control over investiture.


Would someone with breath be able to notice his aura on Roshar? E.g. Vasher?

Brandon Sanderson:

Various methods of detecting investiture would still work, depending on how good a job Hoid is doing of suppressing his.


So it seems like Hoid is at least taking some form of active measures to prevent it. Of the mechanisms we know of, it's not clear which could be used here. Something like a coppercloud could technically work, according to Brandon, but given that he says he had never thought of it until that point suggests that was not what was done here.

But Hoid is extremely invested and well-versed in investiture and it's usages. It's very difficult to speculate on how Hoid can do a lot of the very special things he does, and this just seems to be one of them so far.

This next part is pure speculation, but there is one ability we know Hoid would have at this point that should, in theory, be capable of suppressing the purely visual aspects of his aura. This would be the Lightweaving that existed on Yolen, presumably pre-shattering, which we can confirm Hoid does have access to:

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]:

Can you tell me something about Hoid that nobody really knows?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]:

So, I get asked this enough that I've run out of the easy facts. So usually, I have to RAFO that, just because rattling them off is really hard to do, the random facts ones. I used to be able to 'em, like early, I'm like, "This, that." But now, what do I say that won't be a spoiler? That's not known by anybody?

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]:

Let me ask you this. Is Hoid basically collecting these different Investitures from all the different planets?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]:

You have definitely seen him trying to do this on multiple worlds. You have seen evidence of him using Breaths and Allomancy, and you have seen him do something like Lightweaving that he calls Lightweaving, and you have also seen him try to get AonDor and fail. That's in the extra bonus scene in Elantris.


It should be easy enough for him to stop any regular Joe walking by from seeing the colours around him more vivid. Stopping someone capable from recognizing that he's highly invested with breath would be a bit more involved. For that, I would imagine Hoid probably puts a lot of work into hiding how invested he is, probably not through any one means.

  • Excellent answer, but there is also a scene in WoR (I believe it's one of Shallan's flashbacks, but I can't recall which), in which Shallan does notice the color aura around him. Perhaps he has to learn how to do it, a la Vasher? I apologize for not being able to provide a better reference than that-- I'm away from my books, and searching Stormlight for references can be painstaking anyways. And now that I think about it, it might have been Vivenna anyhow...
    – Upper_Case
    Jul 3 '19 at 1:48

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.