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During Guardians of the Galaxy, we see a few people hold the stone, with varying amounts of success.

  • Eson the Searcher: The celestial wields it to destroy entire planets.
  • Unknown group of 8 or 9: Able to hold it for a "moment" before being destroyed by it
  • Carina, the slave girl: immediately destroyed by the Stone
  • Ronan: Able to hold the the stone for a period before inserting it into his hammer
  • Peter Quill: able to hold the stone for a period, but the Stone does begin destroying him
  • Peter + Gamora: delays destruction of holders

- Peter + Gamora + Rocket + Drax: able to hold the stone for a time before wielding its power to destroy Ronan Peter stores it in the containment orb.

It is revealed that Peter

is only half-Terran, which may or may not contribute to how long he was able to hold the Stone without being destroyed.

What factor(s) affect how quickly someone is destroyed by the Power Stone? Is it an issue of brute strength? Willpower? Something else?

Possible mitigating factors: Eson and Ronan primarily wield the stone within other weapons. Does the stone have less of a destructive effect to the wielder if it's not directly held?

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    This seems like a duplicate of: What is required to wield an infinity gem? Will let community decide whether to close it. – Thaddeus Howze Mar 30 '15 at 16:43
  • Regarding the last line: it seems clear that indirect contact isn't harmful. Plenty of people hold the orb containing the gem, for example, and Ronan's hammer isn't said to have any special protective abilities. Only direct contact between organic matter (as someone observes toward the end of the film) and the gem itself causes the reaction. – Nerrolken Mar 30 '15 at 17:17
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    @Thaddues: I think this is a bit of a different subject as the other question doesn't answer phantom42's question, but there's a lot of information there that might help him. It might have something to do with the sentience of the stones – nine9 Mar 31 '15 at 7:08
  • It sees you like power so it puts some extra power in your power power. – Paul D. Waite Jun 26 '15 at 14:10
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    @PaulD.Waite Does it deliver it in a Power Wheels truck? – phantom42 Jun 26 '15 at 14:11
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In the canon Marvel Universe, the Infinity Gems never show up in the hands of people who don't already possess superhuman power. It is as if almost a requirement to have superhuman abilities to find them or use them.

As another answer points out:

The original holders of the infinity gems were all super powered (the Gardner, Grandmaster and Champions were elders, the Runner and In-Betweener cosmic beings). When Captain America used the Infinity Gauntlet to move a planet the strain caused the gems to shatter. The others who have held the Infinity Gauntlet (Thanos, Nebula and Adam Warlock) were all super powered and able to use it without destroying the gems.

So in answer to the question, mortal humans can hold and use the gems but only if they are super powered. Eson the Searcher, Ronan the Accuser were all people with super powers/cosmic beings.

Peter, being a half Terran as mentioned, was able to withstand the destructive effect of the stone for a definite period. When joined by Gamora and the rest of the team, they could manage to contain it as long as possible, as more is the organic matter available for destruction, much delayed the effect of the stone will be.

This would be the reason why the slave girl and the group of unknown people were incinerated when they came in contact with the stone, as they were mere mortals.

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    James Gunn has said that the Peter's father in the comics is not the same father as in the MCU. – phantom42 May 26 '15 at 11:55
  • @phantom42: Context here in question is MCU, see the original question for your reference. – Ze Knight May 26 '15 at 12:03
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    Exactly - which is why your point about his father being the prince of Spartoi is incorrect. Peter is half-terran, but we don't know who the father is. – phantom42 May 26 '15 at 12:07
  • @KillianDS The Aether is not an Infinity Stone, it's a container for one; just like the Scepter, Tesseract, and Orb. Normal people held all of those things, but once you crack open and get at what's inside, all bets are off. – KutuluMike May 27 '15 at 13:16

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