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General Reddit 2017 ()
#1 Copy


The whole Radiant/Light motif fits naming their Sprenblades 'Dawnshards'.

The term 'Shards' in-world have almost exclusively been in the context of Shardblades or Shardplate. I don't see why they would name a fabrial something in a way that breaks the pattern.

Y'know, if I'm right this wouldn't even really be a spoiler for Brandon to confirm. Maybe the main man u/mistborn could weigh in?

Brandon Sanderson

The nature of the Dawnshards will become (slightly) more clear as the series progresses. For now, RAFO.

Dawnshard Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Hoid was a Dawnshard at some point in the deep past, and the reason he (even still) cannot physically harm people, or even eat meat, is related to the changes this made to his spirit. (Consider this the same fundamental principle as savanthood.) The few of you who have read Dragonsteel know that him being a Dawnshard was also the source of his immortality in that book, though the terms were different back then. (The word Dawnshard was never mentioned, for example--though the primary story of Dragonsteel (which is no longer canon) was about several people who unwittingly become Dawnshards.)

And a preemptive RAFO to all questions on this point. :)

Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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There's going to be more dawnshard stuff in the rest of the SA right? Like I couldn't bear it if you introduce this cool as hell concept of the literal words of creation, and then I have to wait like 10 years for more dawnshard goodness to show up.

So for the sake of my sanity can you just confirm that it's not gonna be another decade before we hear/see more about them?

Brandon Sanderson

There will be more, but not much more in the first five.

Tampa Bay Comic Convention 2023 ()
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In Dawnshard, when Rysn's looking at the mural, it's exploding the sun into four pieces and then each of them is broken into four from there. Based on this, would it be reasonable to assume four Shards of similar Intent could be able to form like a super-Shard without the issues Sazed is encountering? For example, say Honor, Valor, Mercy, and the last maybe unknown Shard like Wisdom or something like that?

Brandon Sanderson

That is a correct line of theorizing.

Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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With savants, the more they use the magic (the more Kaza Soulcasts, the more Spook burns tin), the more pronounced the effect. Is there something similar going on with the Dawnshards? Would Rysn change more and more as time goes by? Savants do, Vessels do...

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, she would change more as time goes by.

Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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and the reason he (even still) cannot physically harm people

This point still confuses me. He quite handily puts Kelsier on his rear in The Well.

So he can harm someone if he's provoked? Or is it because he knows that regardless of what he does to Kelsier it won't actually harm him?

And a lot of "harm" is in the mind. Even without a corporeal body, it would still register as pain, thus harm?

And wouldn't it still be considered physical harm, if Hoid was there physically? Applying physical harm?

Brandon Sanderson

If you re-read that scene, Hoid himself is shocked he's able to do what he does there. Let's just say he himself doesn't quite understand the issue as much as he once assumed.


Can we assume he cannot harm a LIVING being, but Kelsier is at that point not a living being?

Brandon Sanderson

This is the conclusion Hoid came to, so it's a pretty solid assumption.

YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
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Steven Peterson

Is Hoid's restriction on not hurting someone living absolute? Could he cause pain for pleasure situations?

Brandon Sanderson

It is not absolute; you've seen at least one loophole. The thing about is, this is Dawnshard-derived, and weird things happen with the Dawnshards.

Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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If Rysn's Dawnshard is about Change or Remaking or something like, how do we refer to it? The Dawnshard of Change? The Change Dawnshard? I am asking purely from a semantic standpoint.

Brandon Sanderson

I haven't honestly decided yet, Argent. I am playing with several themes for the Dawnshards even still.


It seemed from the way the mural was done in the book that you were implying that there are four Dawnshards, one for each four of the shards, considering the sun was split in four, then each quadrant was then further split into four more.

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO, I'm afraid. As I said somewhere else, this was written as it was deliberately--but also somewhat vague on purpose.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
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Hoid gets his tooth knocked out while in Kholinar. He prompts somebody else to help him with that. Is that because he has issues hurting not only other people but himself?

Brandon Sanderson



And then he considers healing that at a later point in time. Which magic system does he consider using to heal that?

Brandon Sanderson

A magic system that predates-- predates any of the others.

YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
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If someone (with the appropriate knowledge of where to place the spikes to be successful) were to spike Rysn and try to steal the power of the Dawnshard, what would happen?

Brandon Sanderson

A very bad time, for the person attempting it. Dawnshards self-protect.

Bennet Alterman

If Dawnshards self-protect, what's the need for larkins and Sleepless?

Brandon Sanderson

They do self-protect. The larkins and Sleepless are there! You're assuming the larkins and Sleepless aren't there because of Dawnshard influence. Which is a false assumption.

Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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Can you tell us the equivalent Heightening she [Rysn] now has? She seems to be at least Third Heightening equivalent but I'm not sure how much else she has gained from holding a Dawnshard. Do ALL Dawnshards grant these Heightening-like effects?

Brandon Sanderson

All Dawnshards would grant the same effects in this regard.

As for specifics, I think I'll leave that as what is mentioned in the text, for now. (Sorry.)

General Reddit 2020 ()
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1) Is Hoid still holding his Dawnshard?

2) If not, is the Dawnshard currently hold by Rysn the same as Hoid's or a different?

3) Nikli mentions 4 Dawnshards. Are there more than that?

4) Are all the Dawnshards currently (as of SA 4) on Roshar? Or in the Rosharan System?

5) Are there some of them on worlds we have already seen (Scadrial, Sel, Threnody, etc...)?

Brandon Sanderson

  1. Hoid Dawnshard is a RAFO.

  2. Same.

  3. There are only four Dawnshards.

  4. RAFO on whether they're on this planet or not.

These are great questions, but Dawnshard info is mostly for the future cosmere books--and so I consider most of it very RAFOy.

Brandon Sanderson

"Same," here meant RAFO. I answer these quickly, I'm afraid, particularly when they come in a list like that.

Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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Can you tell us a little bit more about what these things are? The book itself gives us a lot in very little, so it'd be nice to get some perspective on how you think about these. Not necessarily fishing for more information, just... clarity on what we just learned.

Brandon Sanderson

By "these things" do you mean the Dawnshards? In this case, I can't say more, I'm afraid. They're plot points in future books, and I maybe already explained more than I should have.


I was mostly wondering what happened in the cave. It's... it feels like the Command to change, to remake, was somehow imprinted or passed onto a mural, and then when Rysn looked at it, it passed back onto, and perhaps into her.

Where I'm a little confused is... is the Command, the Dawnshard, "binding" to her as this thing outside of her, or is it becoming a part of her? Or are these two cases, depending on how you look at this, the same thing?

Also, curious based on how the mural was described in terms of four fours, but is the number of Shards being 16 a function of how the four Dawnshards were used to Shatter?

Brandon Sanderson

Mostly RAFOs, here, I'm afraid.

To those in-world, she now IS the Dawnshard. Whether that's what the community thinks is another story.


Would that make Hoid a "Dawnsliver", or is there some other fancypants terms for it?

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on a variety of things, Phantine. But I'd be okay with that terminology. It's basically accurate.


Does that mean that before she became the Dawnshard that the wall was?

Brandon Sanderson

More the mural. But yes, that would be the implication. Note that it was not an ordinary mural.

Dragonmount Zoom Call ()
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I was wondering if Dawnshards were created at the same time that Adonalsium was.

Brandon Sanderson

Dawnshards, I’ll have to RAFO that, mostly because my timeline for all the Yolen stuff, with the Adonalsium stuff, is going to depend on writing Dragonsteel. And right now, I intend those to be post-Adonalsium but pre-Shattering. But I can’t canonize that until I’ve actually written that mythology and lore. Because the original intent of the Dawnshards, when you read Dragonsteel Prime (which we’ll release with the Words of Radiance leatherbound), you will find two Dawnshards in there. And their original intent has changed a great deal as I’ve canonized things and really, really dug into building the cosmere. And you’ll see what my kind of original intent for those was. (Or at least I can talk about it.) And it’s changed since then. The way that they were in that book (and have remained so far) is that they are younger than Adonalsium.

General Reddit 2022 ()
#36 Copy


[Hoid] was beheaded in Dragonsteel Prime and the Dawnshard is what regrew his head. He makes a crack about always thinking his head would have grown a new body, not vice versa, as he stares at his own severed head.


Slightly related: If the Dawnshard let Hoid regrow his entire head, will it eventually give Rysn back the use of her legs?

Peter Ahlstrom

The different dawnshards have different powers.

Information subject to change when it appears in canon.

ICon 2019 ()
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Questioner (paraphrased)

Is there a Dawnshard in Aimia?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes. Well, there definitely has been a Dawnshard in Aimia in the past, that is why it has been protected so well, obviously. Maybe it is still there and maybe not, that is an open question for now.

Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
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Could you give any insights as to what the Dawnshards are?

Brandon Sanderson

Um......(long pause)...


Am I gonna get a RAFO?

Brandon Sanderson

Nyeaaa it's it's..nyeaa I dunno, do you think? You know what the Dawnshards are right? We haven't talked about that? Ok, I thought we had. Um. We'll RAFO it for now. But good question.

Other person

It's an excellent question. And we have not yet talked about that. I was like...answer that, answer that!


I was trying to think of questions that could get me very close to being RAFO'd, but not quite RAFO'd.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, that was a good one, you were close to not getting RAFO'd, on that. Coz I do want to talk about it at some point.

Dragonsteel 2023 ()
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Nomad was able to overcome his Torment. Would someone else be able to do something similar using soulstamps?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, this is theoretically possible.

Soulstamps are one of the easiest ways to play with spiritual DNA and spiritwebs and stuff like that, so yeah.

Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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Does that mean Rysn is now immortal?

Is a Dawnshard a Shard along the same lines as Odium/Honor or is it a combination of 4 of that type of shard? Or are Dawnshards entirely separate?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO on most! But the Dawnshards predate the Shattering, so they're something other than traditional Shards. Similar, but distinct in some ways.

Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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Could Rysn "use" her Command power and change change the nature of a Shard (e.g. make Odium not evil)

Can the Dawnshards be combined a la Ruin and Preservation?

And on a scale of power who would win: someone welding a Shard of Adolnasium or a Dawnshard? Does it depend of the SoA?

Nikli referred to Adonalsium as "it" and not "him" or "her". Was Adonalsium a being or a general force?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFOs all around!

Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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So, Rysn's Dawnshard was totally used with Surgebinding to make the Dawncities right? E.g. the giant windbreaks in Kholinar that everyone wonders "How did they make those?" that would seem outside the power-level of Radiant soulcasting.

Brandon Sanderson

Let's just say this is a linguistic connection I expected people to make.

Also, creation of the Dawncities (and Urithiru) is beyond the scope of what a Radiant, or even a group of them working together, could create via Soulcasting. (Though note, it's not beyond the scope of what Surgebinding itself could do.)

Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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Does this mean that Rysn is immortal now? If so that's going to start causing some questions if she stops aging.

Also, would Hoid be able to tell that Rysn bears a Dawnshard? Solely from having born one before? (Maybe he'd be able to sense it with Breaths or some other mystery Investiture.)

I also want to see what would happen if you stabbed a Dawnshard (/Dawnshard bearing person) with Nightblood.

Brandon Sanderson

These kinds of questions are why I gave a preemptive RAFO. :)

Dragonsteel 2022 ()
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Dawnshards. More of an Intent, or like a Command?

Brandon Sanderson

More of a Command.


And are they tied to the four groupings of sixteen?

Brandon Sanderson

That is a RAFO.


The four groupings of the sixteen. Could it also be related to the groupings of metals?

Brandon Sanderson

It could be related to that, but I won’t guarantee that it is.

General Reddit 2021 ()
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You've said before that, while the Ten Surges arose due to perception of what things are fundamental forces, there were "seeds" that influenced what people perceived as fundamental. Is knowledge of the Rosharan Shards and Dawnshards the "seed" referenced here?

Brandon Sanderson

The Shards yes, but I wouldn't say the Dawnshards were involved directly--but the Shards were influenced by the Dawnshards, so... It gets muddy.

Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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The Sleepless presumably do not want her to swear a Radiant oath because she would be able to use the Dawnshard in conjunction with Surgebinding, and we know that that combination already destroyed one planet in the system so it's pretty understandable.

But there were a bunch of Soulcasters lying around and they didn't seem bothered. So is this one of the differences between Radiant Soulcasting and Soulcasting via the fabrial? That the Dawnshard cannot be used alongside the fabrial?

Brandon Sanderson

So, the Sleepless ARE capable of Radiant bonds. (I believe the back jacket of the first book implies as much, if I remember correctly.) However, things they at first thought were great are making them increasingly worried, for reasons that will come up (not related to them specifically) in this book and the next.

Soulcasting via a fabrial is way, way less dangerous than Radiant Soulcasting--which is in turn far less dangerous than unbound Soulcasting (meaning without oaths.)


We've seen that the interpretation of the oaths is largely up to each individual spren (to the point that we've seen an entire Order of Radiants change their allegiance). Would it be possible for there to be a "sociopathic spren" that has interpreted the oaths so radically differently from the rest of their kind that it appears, to an outsider, that they are unbound in the same way the wielder of an honorblade is unbound? Or is there something essential about the nature of spren that prevents this?

Brandon Sanderson

I think that spren could go further than we've seen so far, and indeed, many of the older Skybreakers might be horrified by how far their order has gone. However, there are SOME fundamentals that even a spren with a very different interpretation wouldn't be able to abandon.

Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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Now, I can share the Dawnshard theory I am currently running with, and you can super RAFO it (while also providing a cryptic teasing hint that will frustrate for years?). But before that, thank you for this book. It's not quite Secret History level stuff, but it's fantastic in a very similar way, and I am genuinely happy, and giddy, and also not a small amount of confused :P

But theory. So, I am thinking that the Dawnshards are Commands in the way "Let there be light" is a command, and the four of them are enough to explain everything. If one of them is Change (something into something else), then other plausible options might be Create (something from nothing), some form of Destroy (something into nothing), and... Stasis? Maintain? Remain? something like that.

Brandon Sanderson

Super RAFO! Nice theory.


Ooh, another "identity of the Dawnshards" theory, triggered by OP's "Let there be light" comment: I don't suppose the Dawnshards are in any way related to Maxwell's Equations (of which there are four), which govern electromagnetism? I used to have a t-shirt that said "And God said: <Maxwell's Equations>. And there was light," which is what got me thinking.

Brandon Sanderson

That's a big old RAFO, but mostly because I'm trying to stay tight lipped on the subject of Dawnshards.

Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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Why didn't the Sleepless have a guard watching the Dawnshard?

Brandon Sanderson

They did--but only a couple of hordelings to give warning. They never thought, in a million years, the intruders would absorb the Dawnshard. It wasn't seen as possible for a variety of reasons that, some day, might be clear.

Up until the moment realizing what had happened, they assumed they were in complete control, as the humans were locked into a place with no other exit and there were swarms blocking the way back out through the water.