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Dawnshards reading between the lines...



The Coopermind says almost with these words that Dawnshards cannot “inflict phisical pain”

They can cause pain in the Cognitive realm, they can kill (if the cause of death is painless).

I'm thinking that if a certain Dawnshard were to hold out his hand and not give an explicit order to his Spren, if the Shardblade were to materialize (killing someone), it technically wouldn't be the Dawnshard's responsibility. Or use Diminishers fabrials to avoid inflicting pain. Or using Aon Sheo.

Could someone shed some clarity, please?

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Ok, I'll try to check it (spoilers):




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.

Brandon Sanderson

Let's talk about the Torment for a second. Hoid would not call what has happened to him a Torment. Hoid, by holding a Dawnshard, was made permanently unable to cause physical harm to other beings. Eating meat makes him nauseous (if he is somehow able to eat it, and a lot of the times he just can't). That is because of the nature of the Dawnshard that he held actively warping and changing his spirit. He would not name it this. Nomad has named what has happened to him, a Torment. This is not a term that you can universally apply as a magical aspect of something. This is Sigzil saying "this terrible thing happened to me". And indeed what is happening to Sigzil is on a level beyond what happened to Hoid. So therefore perhaps other arcanists would say, "Yes, these are an aspect of holding a Dawnshard and Torment is the right way", but that word is loaded. That word has meaning, and someone is naming it this. You are not gonna run into a large set of people- there are only four Dawnshards- and you're not gonna run into a large set of people that have held one, so there may be no consensus even in-world to what these are called, and if they are Torment or blessings or what they are. Holding a Dawnshard will warp your soul. It's so much Investiture, it is so powerful, that you cannot hold one even briefly without it having a permanent effect upon you. 


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.


At no time does it put anything to kill without pain…

Edited by Onironte
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Are those limits of being a Dawnshard or after effects of holding one? I don't remember now if Dawnshard have the same limits, or even if this was confirmed.

For now we have only "one" example of after effects with Hoid. He could beat Kel, because he was already dead, and he technically didn't feel pain. So no harm was done. If a certain someone would hold up his hand without commanding his spren, then a Shardblade would not materialize as no command was given. If that someone were to command it to materialize knowing that it would appear inside of another person, it wouldn't appear, as Dawnshard's after effects would prevent it. Intent matters hugely in this case. Any action that would be done to harm, inflict pain, attack or kill, would be stopped. Using painrials or Aons wouldn't work as well. 

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