Shardcast: The Dawnshards

It's our second Dawnshard episode (and our last Shardcast before Rhythm of War), and this one is pedantic! We're getting to... well, the big thing we didn't talk about in the last one. There's so much to discuss here. And here's a great line from this episode: "I guess we are going off different definitions of the word 'action' here." Excellent. Grace also blows Eric's mind at one point.

We have Eric (Chaos), Ian (Weiry), Evgeni (Argent), Grace (thegatorgirl), and David (Windrunner). 

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00:00 Introduction
4:45 The First Mural
13:41 The Big Mural
40:12 Is a Dawnshard cognizant?
51:09 PedantiFest 2020: Intent vs. Command and Visualizations
1:25:30 Other Dawnshards and Categorization
1:45:34 The Shattering, the Weapon, and Hoid
2:08:02 Last Thoughts 

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Matrim's Dice


Oooooh that was so good! Thank you guys! Perhaps the only thing better than this is that I actually could follow along and understand what you were talking about. The fact that I'm actually understanding spiritual mumbo-jumbo is exciting to me.

That said, I'm gonna dump a bunch of my thoughts, crackpot theories, hot takes, and headcanons right here in response to yours. Read it, not see it, ignore it, comment on it, whatever :D 


  • I'm with the idea that visualization is with Intent as opposed to Command. And I'm totally with Eric in not knowing what the heck Command is, but I don't love the idea of it being like 'what the straw man does' (assuming the Intent is the visualization of what the Awakener wants the straw man to do) I don't really like the Command being the straw man actually doing it, though I'm biased because of the actual definition of the word 'command'. It doesn't fly with me that Command would be the following or carrying out of a command (lowercase on that last one.) That being said, I don't know what Command would be in that scenario.
  • I really like the idea of Radiant oaths being this exact thing, it makes a lot of sense to me. 


  • Of the ideas put out, I like Grace's the best, though I have to say I also don't love the whole '4 Shards for each of the 4 Dawnshards' link. Wouldn't be upset if it was true, though I don't love it.
  • Stasis makes... some sense, I don't know what to think about that either.
  • I am all for Grace's other theory about the Dawnshards being the sort of fragments of Adonalsium's Cognitive aspect. I really like that. It makes me wonder if the Dawnshards were separate from Adonalsium before the Shattering though, because I thought/think that they were, and don't know how this would fit into that.

The Shattering:

  • My happy little headcanon of the Shattering actually held up! I'm pretty stoked about that. I'll try to explain it, revamped with the info we have now::
    • I think that the people in opposition to Adonalsium (Hoid, the Vessels, maybe others) destroyed Adonalsium with the Dawnshards. I believe the weapon in question here was simply four people (who were the Dawnshards, remember that Rysn 'is a Dawnshard', it's the same deal here) and they used the power to destroy Adonalsium. I don't know if some of the Vessels were the Dawnshards before they ascended, or if others were, but that's my headcanon.
  • This headcanon includes the Dawnshards being separate from Adonalsium pre-Shattering. I think that was the case. 

Hoid and how he ties into this:

  • Perhaps my biggest reach of all of this is that Hoid was one of the four Dawnshards (or Dawnshard bearers) who Shattered Adonalsium in the first place. I think the Dawnshard he had, he got from the First Gem, from the topaz, in a similar way Rysn got her Dawnshard from a mural on the wall. The Rysn sequence proves Dawnshards can be in physical objects, and I think the same is true for Hoid's with a topaz. After the Shattering, he kept the Dawnshard long enough to be affected permanently by it.

So... I think that was all I wanted to say. Thanks to all who read it, sorry I cluttered up the comments section with my major speculation. 


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I love these podcast, I just wish the host wouldn't interupt everyone, let the people  finish their point before adding your agreement/disagreement. Sometimes I can't even here what grace says because the host has to say something while she is talking.


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Mason Wheeler

Posted (edited)

50:25: "Other aspects of [Brandon's] religion have also shown up in his writing and in the Cosmere specifically."

Far less so than other prominent LDS authors such as Orson Scott Card or David Farland, but one thing does really stand out: I don't think it's possible for anyone but a Mormon to create the ending we got for The Hero of Ages. 

Edited by Chaos
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COMMAND may be more than the order, it may also be command as in mastery. The Shard or Intent is the power and the Command is the will and understanding to use that power to it's potential. 


I don't think Command is the new Focus. Focus is a way of accessing the power/ intent. Rysn is/has a Command now, but has no access to any magic system. She gets passive boosts to her senses from holding the investiture of the Dawnshard, but no magical powers she can actively use. 



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Consider the case of Allomancy- Brandon's talked before about how the molecular structure of the metal acts as a Key that tells the investiture what to do. I would argue then, that for Allomancers, the Command is in the molecular structure, rather than any words.

And, to narrow my focus to Copper specifically because that's the best example what I'm talking about, the only decision a Smoker makes is whether or not to burn their Copper at any particular moment- that's the only place that Intent has a chance to be relevant. They Intend to use their Allomancy, and then they get Investiture from Preservation, and then the structure of Copper gives the Investiture a Command. 

And I think that's generally how it works- on the mortal scale, Intent usually just means 'choosing to use your magic powers', whereas Commands are where you get into the specifics about what your powers do. Radiant Oaths might be an exception to that, but I don't think Awakening is- if you were practicing commands and vizualization, but had no actual intention to give your Breaths away, I don't think anything would happen. Awakening, I think, is just a magic system where you have an unusual amount of flexibility in the Commands. 

But when you get into the levels of power not normally accessible to mortal, you start needing more sophisticated Intents- 'I'm using my magic now' is only good enough if you only have one form of magic available- at the relatively low end, this means a Radiant distinguishing between their two surges and summoning a Blade, or a Mistborn choosing between their metals. But Shards and other high-end beings have a lot more freedom than that.


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I feel like, while the scope of your perception can impact how powerful or wide-ranging a Dawnshard’s effect is, I think amount of investiture is more important. 
My interpretation of this is that the investiture you hold executes the command, so the amount of investiture you hold impacts how powerful the effect is. The scope of your perception also influences it, I think, but to a lesser extent. Any random human with enough investiture could have-say-shattered the plains, but they could also destroy the entire Cosmere with enough investiture, even without the awareness of a shard.

I think how shardic awareness plays in is that it effects your ability to direct the command to effectively do the exact thing you want. Think of it this way. If a human surgebinder with a ton of stormlight grabbed a dawnshard and said “shatter the plains”, the plains would just be shattered how the human vaguely intended. Meanwhile, if a Shard tried the same thing, they know the bigger picture. They can say “Shatter the plains”, knowing where every mineral deposit and fault line in the plains is, and have the scope of understanding to know how to direct the dawnshard more precisely.

I think of it kind of like Rashek at the well of ascension. Whenever a human with a human’s scope of awareness uses that kind of power, they will mess things up and not do exactly what was intended. If a someone with the knowledge of a shard (or a bunch of religions’ histories) tries to do the same thing, however, they will understand how to more effectively get the outcome they want. To use awakening terms, they can better visualize the command.


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Posted (edited)

So, about the Intent-Command-visualization discussion:

I always try to see those things in a philosophical way, in this sense going with a Hegelian/Marxian point of viow. So I see this as a dialectic correlation between both concepts. What I mean is, Intent is passive, Command is active (I think we can all agree on this, just by conceptualizing that one can be "Commanding" but one can not be actively "Intending" as cosmere concepts, something on the lines of what Ian said about "Intent is something you have, Command is something you give"), so they are dialectically opposed. This means they are both opposed and the same thing.

In this sense, you cannot just have something be "entirely Intent", or "entirely Command". Visualization is part of both. You visualize actively for the Command to take form, but at the same time that visualization comes from your Intent, filtering through it.

Think about my way to describe Intent it as in how Kant describes our human preconceptions (as in time and space), trhough which we understand the reality. Without this filters we cannot understand, but with them we understand in a certain way which is (from Kant's perspective) always biased.

In the same way, the visualization would be active, and thus, part of the Command, but it would "appear" through the Intent. Someone's Intent is the filter that let's this visualization exists, but it only exists in relation with the Command.


Edited by CosmereComrade

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Hey! After reading Dawnshard and listening to what you said about Command and Intent, I've developed a theory I wanna share with all of you. The thing is, I don't know where should I post it, because it contains Dawnshard Spoilers, but it has implications that can be understood as RoW spoilers (specially when it comes to Stoneshaping and Soulcasting). I think I should post it on RoW Lore, Magic, and Cosmere Discussion, but I'm not 100% sure. Any advice here? Thanks!!


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