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Shardic Catagories


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I've seen a few posts about putting the Shards on a table similar to that of the Mistborn abilities (allomancy and feruchemy) and I have made one I really think is accurate. Given what we know now about almost all of the Shards and even one of the Dawnshards, I think we can start to draw some incredible conclusions. The Shards are complicated, but knowing Brando Sando, there is a logic to them. Lets figure out that logic and infer new information from it. 

Starting with what is confirmed, Dawnshards are connected to specific Shards. In the mural Rysn sees when she becomes the Dawnshard Change, we see Adolnalsium broken into 4, then each of those 4 into another 4. We can assume that this means that each Dawnshard is specifically responsible for 4 of the Shards. And we can assume they retain some Connection to those Shards (Connection is used lightly here. They're somehow connected. ) We see Rysn gain at least the 3rd Heightening once she becomes the Dawnshard Change. She sees more vibrant colors and can hear a musical quality to voices that she couldn't previously. These are ways Brandon has described the 3rd heighting. So from this, we can assume that Change created Endowment and still has some connection to it, giving Rysn the power granted by Endowment. 

It makes the most sense to me to break the 4 quadrants of the chart into the 3 realms and time. This means Physical, Cognitive, Spititual, and Temporal are out catagories, similar to the way allomancy and feruchemy are divided. But since we know that each Dawnshard is specifically responsible 4 Shards, we can also assign a Dawnshard to each of these catagories. Change goes with the Temporal catagory. We don't know anything about any of the other Dawnshard, but I would bet my hat that they follow this pattern. 

As for the internal catagories, I went with Inward/Outward and Increase/Decrease. These are intentionally vague and up to interpretation. I can't know the actual words Brandon might/will use for this so I just picked something. I can't find it now, but in a WoB he says that Shards are not self-changing. Cultivation isn't seeking to Cultivate herself and Ruin doesn't want to destroy himself. So Inward/Outward is not about the shard doing things internally/externally, but the ways the Shard influence the people around them. Increase/Decrease generally refers to if that Shard wants more of that thing or less of it. This one is hard to explain but it does make some sense looking at the whole chart. It's similar to push/pull. It makes sense in some cases but in others you have to stretch your imagination a bit :)

I made a fancy color coded chart but I can't insert it in the middle of this text so I included it at the end. Here is that same info in a text only format:


  • Outward Decrease - Unknown Shard
  • Outward Increase - Invention
  • Inward Decrease - Autonomy
  • Inward Increase - Whimsy


  • Outward Decrease - Dominion
  • Outward Increase - Devotion
  • Inward Decrease - Ambition
  • Inward Increase - Wisdon


  • Outward Decrease - Odium
  • Outward Increase - Mercy
  • Inward Decrease - Valor
  • Inward Increase - Honor


  • Outward Decrease - Ruin
  • Outward Increase - Cultivation
  • Inward Decrease - Endowment
  • Inward Increase - Preservation


Physical as a category is hard to pin down. Pretty much all of the Shards are qualities of people because it was the Dawnshards that handled the physical stuff. Invention is the only one that makes perfect sense where it is. I can get behind Whimsy being and inward physical increase and autonomy being where it is. But it's hard to justify really

The Cognitive section is stronger than Physical in my opinion. Devotion and Dominion are very close to each other symbolically so it makes perfect sense that they would just be one word apart here. They are how people think of other people so it makes sense they would be here. Ambition is kind of the same. It's a mindset that drives people to do things. Wisdom is not a confirmed Shard but Hoid does reference wisdom as if it is a person so it could be the 15th shard. The argument could be made that Wisdom belongs in Spiritual but I think it fits better in Cognitive. 

The spiritual and Temporal sections are the ones I'm most confident on. Preservation is hard to place anywhere because it doesn't want any increase or decrease but the other 7 placements are really strong. Valor is mostly unknown to me so so I'm going based of this: valor is doing whatever it takes to do the right thing;  honor is doing the right thing, no matter what it takes. Both are internal spiritual aspects, but one is a bit destructive and the other constructive. The Spiritual Shards are generally ways that you can treat other people, but it comes from a very internal place. It's like the foundation that a personality is built on. That's why I think these 4 belong in Spiritual. They are the deepest down aspects of people and how they treat others. 

The temporal ones are more straighforward. These Shards have super long term goals and want to see things change (or not change) in really specific ways. Ruin wants things to be destroyed. Cultivation wants things to grow. Preservation wants things to never change. Endowment is a bit of a mystery but it has this same vibe. 


So there's my list. Please let me know if you think I was wrong about anything. I want this to be as accurate as we can manage so we can start to infer new information from it. Like what are the other 2 Shards and what do they want? How will Odium change Taravangian based on Odiums base Intent? How can we understand Harmony better by understanding what Ruin and Preservation are really truly about. What are the other 3 Dawnshards and how will they impact the cosmere going forward?


Shardic Catagories.png

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The one catagory that doesn’t make sense to me is Inward/Decrease. I can see the Outward catagories as being what you give or take from the wirld. I can even see Inward/Increase as being to gather something for yourself. But I don’t know how Inward/Decrease works. 

Could you please explain your vision for what Inward generally means an how it differs from outward? Is it something about what you collect for yourself or something else? The answers would help me make further judgement



Edited by Mistchemist16
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19 minutes ago, Mistchemist16 said:

The one catagory that doesn’t make sense to me is Inward/Decrease. I can see the Outward catagories as being what you give or take from the wirld. I can even see Inward/Increase as being to gather something for yourself. But I don’t know how Inward/Decrease works. 

Could you please explain your vision for what Inward generally means an how it differs from outward? Is it something about what you collect for yourself or something else? The answers would help me make further judgement

Outward is focused on the world at large, inward is literally more about their own state of it.  So like Cultivation is about making something else More than it was, while Ambition is about making yourself more than you were.  

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Interesting. Have you considered looking at the properties of the metals in the Metallic Arts to determine what Shard might correspond to them. Thats how I theorised my own table, although I'm only really clear on the Spiritual and Temporal segments. Also, the change Dawnshard seemingly granting the effects of the Heightenings isn't necessarily significant as Brandy Sandy has explained that's a generic effect of being highly Invested (I couldn't find the quote I was thinking of but this one is better):



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.)

Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A (Nov. 6, 2020)

Here's how I place the Shards:

Honour=Duralumin - feruchemically about Connection and allomantically about empowerment, which matches Honour and his magic system. I think it can be summed up as the 'more Connection' Shard
Autonomy=Aluminium - both refuse to be affected by external forces, focus on Identity, and removing Connection. The 'less Connection' Shard
Endowment=Nicrosil - obviously both are about granting power to others and Awakening seems to mostly revolve around the properties of Investiture. The 'more Investment' Shard
Mercy=Chromium - this is mostly a guess as we don't know much about Mercy, but it's about relieving others of burdens and as we see with Honour, Connections can be burdens, taking them away wipes power. And who knows, maybe the Shard has some weird association with luck or destiny. Possibly the 'less Investment' Shard

Ruin=Bendalloy - entropy and rapid change. It's safe to say Ruin is about 'more change'
Preservation=Cadmium - stasis, slowing down time. The Shard of 'less change'
Cultivation=Gold? - I'm very unsure about which of this pair of metals she corresponds to, I'm saying gold because Surgebinding has no future sight but far and away the best healing we've seen in the Cosmere and encourages introspection. My guess is that Cultivation is the 'planned/responsive change' Shard
Whimsy=Electrum? - I'm guessing Whimsy pairs with Cultivation but it could just as easily be Ambition. Maybe Whimsy's magic will involve prophecy and warmth (the originally intended f-electrum property). Might be the 'arbitrary/independent change' Shard

Odium=Zinc - of course the whole enflaming emotions thing, but also the two sides of Taravangian's boon which aligned him with Odium were literally the Metallic Art abilities of zinc. The Shard of 'divine wrath'
Valour=Brass - I guess if Odium is Adonalsium's sword, Valour may be its reward. I think the metal is a good fit as it was originally associated with determination and can suppress fear and doubt, perhaps her magic will involve calm, determined people. Might be the Shard of 'Divine reward'
Ambition=Bronze? - pure guess, but the shades which are caused by Ambition's Investiture do punish nighttime activity (wakefulness), so there's that. Possibly the 'Intent' Shard since that's what bronze is basically detecting: magical Intent, plus the shades are particularly sensitive to it iirc
(Wisdom)=Copper? - as good a Shard as any to pair Ambition, I have a theory that the Iriali are splinters or agents of this Shard so a link to copper would explain how they stick to the mission over millennia and collect experiences as well as keeping their origin hidden

Devotion=Tin - maybe both are about being influenced by things, also the most Devotion-y magic uses lots of symbols and light (bit of a stretch there)
Dominion=Pewter - maybe about influencing things, and the very Dominion-y Dhakor monks are like twisted versions of a pewter ferring tapping
(15th Shard)*/Invention=Steel/Iron - process of elimination, no idea which could be which

*You may not be aware, but your "Unknown Shard" has been named in relation to...


...Secret Project 3, and it does seem to pair with Invention. You can find the name on the Coppermind.


So that's my take. If external/internal push/pull does apply, I don't think the meanings are very consistent; sometimes push means increase, sometimes away. I noticed writing this post that some of the magic systems have mechanics that seem directly related to the corresponding metals properties, although cadmium and bendalloy are flipped: cadmium links with Preservation (allomancy) but also blood (oxygen levels) (as in hemalurgy), while bendalloy links with Ruin (hemalurgy) and eating (as in allomancy).

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I did a write up a few times comparing these, and used Internal/External and Push/Pull, with the same basic categories.  Here's what I figured the last time I did it:



Honor - Internal Pushing - I Bind myself

Autonomy - External Pushing - I Unbind Myself

Dominion - External Pulling - I Bind Others to me

Devotion - Internal Pulling - I Bind Myself to Others



Odium - External Pushing - I hate 

Whimsy? - Internal Pulling - I don't care

Wisdom/Prudence? - External Pulling - Wisdom.  I Understand

Valor - Internal Pushing - I do what is right



Endowment - Internal Pushing - I grow others' power

Ambition - Internal Pulling - I grow my power

Mercy - External Pulling - I withhold what you deserve

Justice? - External Pushing -  I give what you deserve


Ruin - External Pushing - Entropy.  All Things Decay

Cultivation - External Pushing - Growth.  All Things Grow

Invention - Internal Pushing - Change.  I make things change

Preservation - Internal Pulling - Inertia.  I keep things the same


Some of the Internal/External labelings don't quite fit, but that could be because I am misundertstanding how they function.  Justice is what I called the Unnamed Shard, assuming Wisdom was another, but I don't read anything regarding the Secret Projects because I want to read them when they come out.  

I put Invention with Preservation, because it is about changing things.  Not decaying or making it grow, but just changing, whereas Preservation is about staying the same.  It seems, though, that most people agree on three of the Temporal Shards.

Endowment, to me, belongs with Ambition.  Endowment is about letting others gain power,  Ambition would be about one's own power.  I put Mercy here because it is almost the oposite of Endowment.  Mercy is all about not giving what you deserve, whereas Endowment is giving what you don't deserve.  Ambition could be construed as taking what I deserve, and that last Shard, which I called Justice, would be about giving what you diserve.  

The Mental Shards are hard.  Originally I thought Hate was the Opposite of Love and had Devotion here, but then I realized that Whimsy is the Opposite of Passsion.  Odium's opposite isn't more passion, it's less, which is Whimsy.  As for Valor being here, I'm not confident about that. It depends on whether Wisdom is acutally the other shard that belongs here.  Valor could maybe replace "Justice" on my table.  I just don't know enough about Valor to know where it goes.  

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1 hour ago, Tglassy said:

Justice is what I called the Unnamed Shard, assuming Wisdom was another, but I don't read anything regarding the Secret Projects because I want to read them when they come out. 

Same, I only saw the Shard's name when looking for the book's title. I'll just say that it is definitely not Justice.

1 hour ago, Tglassy said:

... then I realized that Whimsy is the Opposite of Passsion.

Hard disagree here; to be whimsical is to often change your mind based on a whim, which can be driven by passion. I would think a better pairing would be Odium and Mercy: hateful wrath and compassionate forgiveness.

Also, your Ruin and Cultivation are both external pushing :P

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I like the relations with the metalic properties, though I still think another set of categories can be applied with the dawnshards, and I personally agree with the 4 fundemental forces theory (Gravitation, Electromagnetic, Strong Nuclear, and Weak Nuclear) (Each force is related to a dawnshard, [induce] change for electormagnetism, etc). I wonder if these relations can help us figure out what shard metal alloys do. Whimsy was the only one linked to an alloy we know of other than lerasium alloys, which all do basically the same thing-impart misting abilities, which would be related to the shards related to the metal because they are related to the metal.

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