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[Theory] Dawnshards are Adonalsium Spren


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Theory: The Dawnshards are powerful spren: the splinters of Adonalsium hanging out on Roshar.

Sub-theories: Dawnsingers are spren-symbiotes with the Adonalsium spren

     Dawnshards may be physical spren-blades


I’ve seen this idea floated around the forums lately, namely here, and since I tend to agree with it I wanted to give it a home


First of all, I want to compile the little that we know of Dawnshards and Dawnsingers.



“A mythological treasure, Brightness, much like the Dawnshards or the Honorblades. Certainly worth seeking, but only with great caution”

This remark by Shallan is, I think, the basis for the assumption that Dawnshards are some kind of shardblade. Not only does it have “shard” in the name, but the first time we are introduced to the term it is linked to honorblades as a comparable item of value. This may or may not be a valid assumption.

“Taking the Dawnshard, known to bind any creature voidish or mortal, he crawled up the steps crafted for Heralds, ten strides tall apiece, toward the grand temple above.” —From The Poem of Ista. I have found no modern explanation of what these “Dawnshards” are. They seem ignored by scholars, though talk of them was obviously prevalent among those recording the early mythologies.

-Jasnah’s notes in tWoK

I originally read this as the Dawnshard being a physical object, though this is not necessarily the case. Lately I try not to be too literal in reading Jasnah’s notes.


I draw your attention to the word BIND in this quote. Perhaps similar in nature to a nahel bond? Spren symbiosis?


And not just bind, but bind any creature. Voidish I imagine refers to the listeners, and mortal to humans. So far we have seen nahel spren bind humans, and nonsentient (assumedly) spren bind listeners, as well as distinctly odious spren bind listeners. However, there has been no overlap in the type of spren that will bind humans/listeners.


Dawnshards could bind both.


“And without the Dawnshards… Well I have done what I can. It is a terrible, terrible thing to leave you alone”

-Tanavast in the final vision of tWoK

This would imply the Dawnshards no longer exist, or at least are no longer able/willing to help. I also read this as the Dawnshards having had sentience--thus leaving the humans “alone” in the present.



It is possible that the Dawnshards have no relation to the Dawnsingers, but that would strike me as an odd worldbuilding—err, worldnaming?—choice.


I assume—and I think it is a fairly common assumption—that the Dawnsingers are whoever/whatever hold/wield/bind the Dawnshards.


In Vorin culture at least, Dawnsingers are given credit for creating the dawncities, great works of architecture including the Palanaeum, and glyphs and letters.


Of note is this quote from Kabsal (possibly an unreliable source, admittedly)

“They were healers, kindly spren sent by the Almighty to care for humans once we were forced out of the Tranquiline Halls”

This suggests there is a relation between Dawnsingers and spren. From what we know of spren, they have a very difficult time interacting with the physical world. In order to perform the wonders ascribed to the Dawnsingers, these “kindly spren” likely would need some kind of physical bond.


Adonalsium Spren

Now time for a little Word of Brandon


A: For instance there were some spren on Roshar before Honor and Cultivation got there.  Those were already splinters of Adonalsium where he had left power which attained sentience on its own.



Apparently there are (or were) spren that are splinters of Adonalsium. The spren we have seen so far have been splinters of Honor and/or Cultivation and/or Odium. So, how would these Adonalspren be different? My guess: moar power. Power of creation itself.


So, binding one of the Adonalspren could provide access to more surges or different surges than what nahel spren offer. My pet theory is the Adonalspren might provide access to all the surges, though I have no real basis for that.


Whatever the distinction between Adonalspren and other shardspren, I get the impression their power may be in line with that of the Dawnshards/Dawnsingers of lore.


One last WOB, which I don’t yet know how to interpret:

One dawnshard is not like the rest.


Note the present tense. So, these dawnshards still hanging out?


It is possible that these spren have also been trapped into blade-form. That would, essentially, have killed them and prevent them from actively helping in the upcoming desolation. Yet they would still be present. That begs the questions, how would one bind and Adonalspren, and how would one sever that bond?

Edited by Ephemera
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This remark by Shallan is, I think, the basis for the assumption that Dawnshards are some kind of shardblade. Not only does it have “shard” in the name, but the first time we are introduced to the term it is linked to honorblades as a comparable item of value. This may or may not be a valid assumption.


What about Shardplate? I think your assumption that Dawnshards are some sort of Blades is a bit unsupported here.


I agree with the idea that Dawn-anything is likely of Adonalsium. Dawnchant, Dawnsingers, Dawnshards, are all probably from the time of Adonalsium's Shattering. We know Adonalsium left some of his power behind. This could have taken the form of Dawnshards, though I don't have any idea of what they would have looked like. Perhaps they were some type of spren, though that makes me wonder what the Dawnsingers were since they were supposed to be kindly spren.

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I too am not convinced that the Dawnshards are the third type of Blades. Shallan's comment could easily compare them to Honorblades only in terms of value and mysticism. The quote about them being bind to bind creatures both mortal and voidish makes me think that we haven't seen anything that's even similar to the Dawnshards - note that Jasnah's notes speak of binding creatures, not binding with creatures. This sounds more similar to the gemstones' ability to trap spren (except, you know, not for spren. Probably.) than the spren's ability to bind with humans and listeners.

Edited by Argent
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Roshar is a crustacean-based world. What if the Adonalsium splinters created these lifeforms?  What if the unique dawnshard is the Roshar super-continent itself - a super giant great shell like the Reshi islands only much much bigger? That might explain why the continent looks like it has spun around at times.

Alternatively, maybe the santhid or Larkin is the unique dawnshard. Each seems to have unique features and properties. Just some speculations...

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