Here is the first batch of annotations for The Alloy of Law. As with all of the other annotations here on the site, each annotation contains spoilers for the current chapter. Spoilers for chapters after the current one are hidden by spoiler tags. We recommend you read the book before reading the annotations! Also, please note that there are not yet annotations for the prologue or first chapter.
Waxillium enters the party with Steris
Alpha and beta readers had an interesting response to Steris. It was almost always passionate—many hated her immediately, some thought she was terribly flat, and others found her to be the most interesting character in the book.
I wasn’t intending her to be so divisive, honestly. I’m very fond of her myself, and so I wanted to embed some strong personality quirks to perhaps make use of some day. Now, that’s not to say that I will make use of them. I like to give some depth to side characters (such as Spook and Breeze from the original trilogy) so that, if the opportunity presents itself, I’ll have something to work with in new viewpoint characters. It’s kind of done by instinct these days, and it being there is no promise (unfortunately) that Steris won’t end up dead.
However, I very much like that as you learn more about the situation, the way Steris acts becomes more and more understanable. Perhaps not rational, as she’s really only rational in her own head. But she is who she is.
Dinner conversation with Marasi
This is probably a good point to talk about Marasi too. She’s a little more simple than Steris, but also more innately likable.
Marasi represents me playing with concepts of how to make strong female characters. I’m well aware that in fiction, one of the most simple ways to make someone strong—male or female—is to make them capable in combat. Whether it’s Vin or Kaladin, being able to kick butt and take names on a battlefield leads to a powerful sense of competence and self-confidence. It’s only one side to those characters, of course, but it’s an important side.
It shouldn’t be the only way to be strong, however. Though I’m very pleased with Vin’s ability to be both feminine and combat-savvy, I don’t want to tall into the trap of implying that only those who can lay waste to their enemies are strong. I have conversations about this in The Way of Kings, but this story felt like a place to put some of it into practice.
I’m curious to see what people think of Marasi. I gave myself a challenge with her—create a female lead who is also very young and inexperienced, prone to blushing, and has no interest whatsoever in picking up a gun. I hope that she ends up interesting in her own right.