Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A

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Name Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A
Date Nov. 6, 2020
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#1 Copy


Jasnah is married? I may have misread it, but I'm pretty sure she refers to her husband in the negotiations

Brandon Sanderson

I think you might be mistaking Jasnah and Navani, as Navani refers to her husband (Dalinar) during negotiations. Jasnah doesn't appear on screen, though she does have a few lines via spanreed.

It's a little confusing because by this point, Dalinar and Navani have started using king/queen for themselves in reference to Urithiru as a separate kingdom. Jasnah is queen of Alethkar, but Navani is also Alethi and a queen--but not of Alethkar...so once in a while, I found alpha/beta readers getting tripped up by the terminology.


So Dalinar dropped his 'I must never be king' resolution? Kinda weird, that felt like an Oath to me.

Brandon Sanderson

You're referring to young Dalinar realizing that he couldn't want the throne, lest it lead him to turn against his brother? I didn't intend that to be a capital O oath.

For what it's worth, in the months after Oathbringer, he realized that as long as he wasn't putting himself on the same level as the others, they would worry he wanted more. So being named king was a way for him to calm the coalition.

#2 Copy


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.

#3 Copy


What is your favorite portrayal of Hive Minds in SciFi?

Brandon Sanderson

My favorite group mind is from A Fire Upon the Deep, which will probably come as no surprise to people.

Hive mind...to be honest, Unity from Rick and Morty was a really interesting take on the concept, and is the one that springs to mind right now. But I don't know where the internet is on Rick and Morty these days. First it was cool, then I think it became cool to hate? Still, I enjoy the way the show took some of standard science fiction concepts and give them a much-needed shake up.


How about the Formics from Ender's Game, particularly the sequels?

Brandon Sanderson

I enjoyed them just fine, though I never felt there was anything super distinctive about them. Just a well done hive mind.

#4 Copy


I'm curious - they said there's 20 Sleepless working together in this group. Can you give a (possibly rough) estimate of how many Sleepless are on Roshar, in that one group or not?

Brandon Sanderson

Nikli is the youngest (and the twenty-fourth) swarm on Roshar. Originally there was only one Swarm on Roshar. All the rest came from it.


Does that mean there are 3 rogue ones (the text mentions 20 still accept the authority of the First)? Or is the First counted in that 20 and there are 4 rogue?

Edit: the "true traitors", plural, are mentioned. So are the Sleepless factions on Roshar the 21 serving the First, 2 "traitors", and Arclo rogue on his own?

And why did Arclo tell Lift:

“If you ever encounter another of the Sleepless, tell them you’ve spoken with Arclo. I’m certain it will gain you sympathy.”

if he's rogue?

Brandon Sanderson

They like Arclo--he's not an "enemy." He just disagrees with them, but they don't hate him.

That's also a pun on his part. In that they'll be sympathetic that the person had to deal with Arclo.

I meant twenty including the first, though it's not clear the way I phrased it, is it?


So this means 4 that do not obey the First? Are all 4 still alive?

Brandon Sanderson

All four are still alive, and one is Arclo.


How many of the "true traitors" mentioned are there? (I'm assuming that means traitorous Sleepless.)

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO. Keep an eye out in Rhythm of War. (Actually, you don't have to keep too much an eye out. It's kind of obvious.)

#5 Copy


Do you need to read it [Dawnshard]? Like, I went back and read Edgedancer, but it definitely wasn’t required to read the main books. Is this the same, or do you def need to read this to understand ROW?

Brandon Sanderson

If I write something as a novella, I consider it non-required reading. It will expand, add context, and will usually give more backstory to a side character or two. Consider them extended interludes.


Will it be coming to audible?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, eventually--probably not for a year or so.

#6 Copy


Wait - there are Sleepless on other worlds?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes indeed.

Have you seen them? RAFO. (Note that non-Rosharan ones can't imitate humans.)


Would the non-Roshar ones have hordelings that look similar to the Rosharan ones, or would they have bred completely differently?

Also, can the Sleepless communicate with the ones on other planets? Do they do so often?

Brandon Sanderson

They would look completely different.

RAFO on the second question.

#8 Copy


Can a single Sleepless swarm (say, Nikli, or Arclo) form 2+ humanoid bodies and essentially pretend to be two people at the same time?

Brandon Sanderson

Possible, but difficult. Splitting their consciousness risks accidentally birthing another Sleepless, and splitting them into two people permanently. It's much easier if one of the bodies doesn't have to interact in an intelligent way.


Is this the only way for a Sleepless to create a new Sleepless? Splitting an existing one into two, where each of the two retain some personality/consciousness of the combined, but different enough to be two distinct individuals? Is the process extremely painful and hence prevents them from trying to create more?

Brandon Sanderson

That's all RAFO material indeed. I will get into it eventually.

#9 Copy


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.

#11 Copy


They are not native to Roshar and yet they fit among the Rosharan cremlings so perfectly... So was Rosharan fauna based off of another planet? Or are the crab species on Roshar invasive and from wherever the Sleepless are from? Or are only Rosharan sSleepless made up of crabs because they melded with the local species? Or do living things in the Cosmere evolve into crabs alarmingly often just like in our universe and its a coincidence?

Brandon Sanderson

The ones on other planets will look less like cremlings. Realize that a swarm is always evolving. The first swarm's hordelings were more spider-like when it first came to Roshar.


The theme of generations is also a thing we see with the Kandra, who can also disguise themselves. Were the Kandra perhaps modeled after the Sleepless? Or is there any relation at all between the two?

Brandon Sanderson

No direct relationship here.


Was Aimia originally terraformed to be more like their home ecosystem (just like how Shinovar is like the human home ecosystem)?

Brandon Sanderson


#12 Copy


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.

#14 Copy


In the Liar of Partinel samples, we see fain life is covered in skullmoss (and iirc seems to have it inside them, from a few mentions of eating fain-touched animals being deadly). If a fain being were to Ascend, would their body retain this skullmoss when they drop (I mean, Leras and Ati seemed to retain their clothes, so it wouldn't surprise me), or would it be killed off by the process?

(Actually, I'm curious about this with microorganisms and such in general with Vessels, but the fain life is what made me think of it.)

Brandon Sanderson

Imagine the body that drops after a Shard dies being the essence being recreated out of energy. It wasn't there all along--it was absorbed into the power, then drops back out as a kind of husk. But it's not literally the same atoms. There has been some strange E=MC2=Investiture shenanigans going on.


Interesting. Is this similar to transitioning in and out of the Cognitive through a Perpendicularity?

And does this recreated thing include microorganisms (like the stomach bacteria or something), skullmoss, foot fungus, clothing, etc? Or just the minimum required to count as the body itself? (Leras and Ati tended to appear dressed, as well as Leras having his knife, but them choosing to appear in the Cognitive might not be the same thing as that body.)

Brandon Sanderson

I'll RAFO it here. Good questions as always, though, LTT.

#15 Copy


It seemed like from the story there is a strong connection between the larkin and the ancient lanceryn. Would you be willing to answer whether these are the same species by two names or if there is some evolutionary step between them?

Brandon Sanderson

I was a tad vague on purpose, but you're looking at it the right way. It's KIND OF the same species.


Like a pokemon evolution? Most Larkin are charmanders, Chiri-Chiri is a charmeleon, lanceryn are charizard?

Brandon Sanderson

Have to RAFO it from here out. I'll get into it eventually, don't worry.

#17 Copy


So, the third ideal of the Windrunners. Is it about protecting those you hate or is it more broadly about going against your instincts/wants in order to protect others better?

Brandon Sanderson

For most people, it's going to go along the hatred lines--but it extends all the way to what you're implying. Mostly, I think of it as, "I'll get rid of my caveats about those I'll protect."

You're likely to see the more extreme examples as I write out the oaths for others, particularly in-scene, as I don't want it to feel too repetitive. But you can assume that for most of the original members of Bridge Four (who are slowly hitting this ideal) that it had to do with agreeing to protect a group that they in some way dislike. (So long as it's right to do so, as defined by themselves and their spren, of course.)


At or near the endgame of SA do you think you'd release a guide on the specifics of each orders oaths, so that the fans could personalise their own?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, if I haven't gotten to them all by then, I will release them all.


Will we find out Sigzil's or was it just a fleeting mention? If so, are we going to get a personal 3rd ideal story from every Bridge 4 member?

Brandon Sanderson

Afraid we won't have a chance to see each and every one of them.

#19 Copy


Do you think the Worldsingers will eventually get some time? That's who I'm most curious about. It's just so cool to see new parts of the world/cosmere.

Brandon Sanderson

Possibly. Someday, I hope to be able to do more with the connection between them and other groups with oddly similar names across the cosmere.


I always wondered if there was a connection between Worldsingers and Worldbringers. Can I take this as confirmation there is one?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there is a connection.

#20 Copy


And as a transgender woman, thank you so much. To see that little detail of the Reshi king transitioning using Stormlight made me so happy.

Brandon Sanderson

I wanted to make sure I got the Reshi king another cameo at some point because it feels to me there would be a disproportionately large number of trans people among the Knights Radiant, considering the journey of self-discovery they go on in their lives.

#22 Copy


From Rysn's observations in the epilogue, it seems like she has a lot of the same aspects of a Fifth Heightening/Returned at the least. Is this because her Dawnshard is particularly connected to Endowment or because the effects of a certain level of Investment result in similar effects?

Brandon Sanderson

The latter.


Interesting. So are actively Surgebinding Radiants or metal-burning Allomancers just not Invested enough to gain those passive effects, or do they not experience perfect pitch/color/etc. because their Investiture is just not as tightly bound to their Spiritweb as Endowment's Breaths or a Dawnshard would be?

Brandon Sanderson

Be aware that the two groups you mention don't generally hold much Investiture themselves, at least not in large quantities over time. More in Surgebinding. Almost none in Allomancy.

But RAFO to specifics.

#24 Copy


Are the Sleepless a race that predates the Shattering? And with the Big A namedrop by Nikli, does that mean we'll see them in the future with any future Yolen content?

Edit: Now I'm wondering if the Rosharan Sleepless are able to communicate to Sleepless on the other side of the Cosmere

Brandon Sanderson

Great questions!

#25 Copy


IRL there is a condition called aphantasia where someone doesn't have the ability to use their visual imagination. How would that affect Lightweaving, and possibly other forms of Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

It's actually something I've read up on, and something I find fascinating. Like face blindness, it asks some very interesting questions. It would affect Lightweaving, but not really handicap it. Just make it different.

#26 Copy


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. :)

#28 Copy


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!

#29 Copy


Are these kinds of threads fun to watch as they run with every little tidbit and try to figure out things that you haven't even fully decided on?

I feel like there's a little bit of "hehehe, look at them try to understand" along with the the compounding second-hand excitement of watching people be excited about something

Brandon Sanderson

I'm rarely going "hehehe." Though sometimes they touch on things I haven't decided upon, or things that I hadn't considered. That's not uncommon, honestly.

#30 Copy


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.

#33 Copy


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.)

#34 Copy


What are your current thoughts on Silence Divine? The setting and magic are some of my favorite to visualize so I'm always crossing my fingers you'll want to do something with it. It just hits all the right checkboxes for "cool" and with Dawnshard's release, well I was hoping it might be on the radar...

Brandon Sanderson

It's on my radar, yes, as are the two other Cosmere novellas I want to write. (A sequel to Emperor's Soul and one to Sixth of the Dusk that I've actually started.)

Problem is, it's hard to find slots for these things. We'll see. Not forgotten, certainly.


I don't know why, (an old WOB?) but I thought we would only be dealing with Sixth in the background from now on, so a sequel is awesome to hear.

Brandon Sanderson

The Sixth sequel is him exploring Shadesmar. I have a scene done, but it involves some pretty big spoilers for space age cosmere, as within a few years of the story that happened, there is a lot more going on in relation to other worlds. So I'm not sure if it's wise to continue it at this point.


I know I'm a minority in this, but I love normal humans in a magic world. While Sixth has no investiture, the world is still fantastic and has the air of mystery.

Will we see other cosmere settings where the people don't have magic, but the world does, like in Sixth, and shadows?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you will see more like this. (Many of the settings that involve Aethers can be like this, for example.)

#35 Copy


I also have the theory that Huio will swear Dustbringer oaths (taking spanreeds apart to see how they work and a badass Shardhammer). And I want to get my first RAFO so:

Can a KR swear 2 order oaths after obtaining a Shardblade?

Brandon Sanderson


#36 Copy


Would Sleepless be the 3rd race native to Yolen? Man, Dragon, and Sleepless?

Brandon Sanderson

The Sho Del are the third race from Yolen.


I've heard you mention the Sho Del a few times, though only that they were the third race on Yolen. Is there anything else you could reveal about the Sho Del that's not too spoilery?

Brandon Sanderson

The big thing happening on Yolen (and major plot points of both Dragonsteel and The Liar of Partinel, neither of which I decided to publish) is two competing ecologies on one planet. An entire invasive ecology (called "fain") and the regular one, familiar to us. The Sho Del fill the niche in the fain ecosystem that humans fill in ours.

#37 Copy


Wait, Hoid can't eat meat, despite the fact that he loves bacon? That poor, poor man.

Makes me wonder if this extends to Soulcast meat, though.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, that's usually part of the joke when I mention his love for it.

There's a cognitive aspect to it, though--but whenever he's around food, you'll often note him acting a little oddly.


So does that mean he was extra mean to the Alethi because he had to show up to all their feasts as Wit?

Brandon Sanderson

No, taking on the Wit persona was his choice.


Is that inability to eat meat and harm people related to the Intent of the Dawnshard he took up? Is he like a Sliver in a way?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO, I'm afraid. But these are the right questions to be asking.

#38 Copy


When the Sleepless communicate, are their words being transmitted to each other instantaneously or is the transfer of information limited in speed to the speed of light? Like if one Sleepless was on Ashyn and they communicated with one on Roshar, would they be able to converse normally or would there be a time lag while the information was being sent from one planet to another?

Brandon Sanderson

I have to RAFO this for now, as there are certain relativity related things I don't want to get into quite yet in the cosmere.

#39 Copy


Do the Sleepless name themselves? Seems like they would since they spawn from "lost" swarms. Would they think of themselves as the original swarm at first? Would this would bring in all the scifi clone identity problems where the clone doesn't own it's identity?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO for now. I'll get into their society some other time.

#40 Copy


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.

#41 Copy


When the Sleepless refer to 'Surgebinding' with the Dawnshards do they mean it specifically in the Rosharan sense, or just because that is the word Roshar has for magic.

I.e. if this occurred on Scadrial would they still call it 'Surgebinding' or something else?

Brandon Sanderson

Surgebinding is kind of a catch-all for cosmere magic here, as you're assuming. Literally binding (using) surges (a word for what we would call types of magic.)


So, Rosharans would look at an Allomancer or Feruchemist and say, "Yep, that there is a Surgebinder," correct?

Brandon Sanderson

Many Rosharans. Many would also just think of them as some kind of voidbringer or other mythological figure, from local lore.


Wait, have mistborn been to roshar or am I reading this wrong?

Brandon Sanderson

What I mean is that someone like from, say, Bavland might have different stories they tell about creatures in the night than someone from Rira. So while they might call someone who uses strange abilities a surgebinder, they are probably more likely to talk about the local equivalent of something like a fae creature from local British lore.

#43 Copy


How much have you thought about the evolution of the biology on Roshar? It seems like the creatures we saw in Dawnshard attacking the crew (Sleepless aside, they're a whole other can of cremlings) are basically amphibious chasmfiends? Or some descendent of larkin? Or even an offshoot of hordelings?

Brandon Sanderson

I imagine there's a lot of aquatic Rosharan megafauna, as many prey species on the planet have literal sources of energy inside of them that (with the right biological adaptations) can be turned into calories. Mix the low gravity, high oxygen, environment--and the possibility for bonding spren for other adaptations--and there's some real fun to be had.

Rosharan Sleepless, as a species who can self-evolve over internal generations, have managed to interbreed with some species of cremlings to come up with specialized hordelings to do some remarkable things.

#46 Copy


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.

#47 Copy


Since when did your start to plan this specific development for Rysn? Was it something that existed from her inception?

Brandon Sanderson

Rysn wasn't in my very first outlines; I decided upon this path for her when working on Words of Radiance, as I realized I really wanted one Interlude character that I returned to, and showed a longer story across several years for.

#49 Copy


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.

#50 Copy


So once Huio swears the ideal and the bargain is made, why not use the Oathgate? Did I miss something here?

Brandon Sanderson

The group isn't certain yet if they want to expend the military (particularly naval) might to secure the location just yet. It's not something you make on a whim; and now that the Sleepless have agreed not to attack them, Windrunners can fly back in a matter of hours, so they don't have to decide right now.

#52 Copy


Now that Rysn has secrets to keep, where do her alliances lie? She seems slightly skeptical of the Radiants, so would she be more patriotic to Thaylen City and potentially share her information with Queen Fen? Or maybe even Vstim?

Brandon Sanderson

Her loyalty is most likely to her babsk and others who have proven, in person, to her their merit.

#55 Copy


I was wondering if you could clarify how The Sleepless communicate between all the members of their horde and each other? They are described as buzzing, so are they relaying messages from hordeling to hordeling across huge distances or do they have so kind of more specialized telepathy?

Brandon Sanderson

It's mostly telepathic; hordeling buzzings are more like emotional punctuation, like body language in humans.

#56 Copy


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.

#57 Copy


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.

#59 Copy


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.)

#60 Copy


So now that we know at least one group of Rosharans are aware of the Sleepless (the Horneaters), are there other Rosharans who know of them as well?

By which I mean - have the existence of the Sleepless influenced Irialian religion and the belief in the One?

Brandon Sanderson

There have been Iriali who know about the Sleepless, though the Iriali religion predates their arrival on Roshar. (That said, it has evolved during their time here.)


So the idea of the One - a single entity breaking down into smaller, constituent parts in order to gain diverse and varied experiences - predates the Iriali's contact with the Sleepless?

And now that I think more about this theme of a single entity breaking down (splintering/fracturing?) into smaller parts... could the belief in the One and the Many be influenced by the fracturing of Adonalsium? Or is this general theme just a coincidence?

Brandon Sanderson

The general theme is not a coincidence, but the Iriali having this philosophy predates me bringing the Sleepless into the Cosmere from another science fiction book I'd written during my early unpublished years.

#62 Copy


So here's a bit of an oddity, in the RoW chapter 3 preview it says "They’d learned about the interactions between conjoined fabrials and aluminum from the Azish scientists." So was having Huio discover the aluminum trick a bit of a last minute addition, or am I missing a distinction here? Seems a bit extra odd since the aluminum trick is said to be the key to make the ship work, but it is already alluded to being under construction in Dawnshard before this.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, last minute addition. I thought we'd caught them all, but this is a problem with writing Dawnshard after. I was never pleased with the Azish thing--thought I'd cut it, honestly. Have a look at the released edition. It might not be in there.

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There seems to be a concentration of “aliens” in the west of Roshar, with both the Sleepless and the Iriali being non-Rosharan, possibly the Siah Aimians too (though I have my own headcanon about them); and of course the Ashynite humans arrived somewhere in the west too, probably in or near Shinovar. Is this a coincidence? It seems reasonable to me that in the past, Honor’s Perpendicularity was somewhere in the region and at least some of these groups used it to arrive on Roshar.

Brandon Sanderson

Not a coincidence. Having multiple perpendicularities on the land, mixed with easy-to-access Investiture, mixed with a vibrant Shadesmar side with actual cultures and cities all make Roshar a tempting destination. The amount of investiture flying around (literally) also makes the place a little easier to find in Shadesmar than other destinations might be.

There's also the fact that it wasn't created post-Shattering, like Scadrial was. There's just been more time to get to it.

Event details
Name Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A
Date Nov. 6, 2020
Entries 64
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