Here is the second 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!
The Mists Form
In writing this book, I had to nail down a few worldbuilding issues I’d been contemplating even before the first trilogy ended. What would happen to the mists, for instance, once Sazed took over and became Harmony?
The mists, obviously, are a big part of the series. It didn’t make sense—either narratively or worldbuilding-wise—to lose them completely. However, they’d been created as an effect of Preservation trying to use his essence to fight against Ruin’s destruction of the world. So . . . wouldn’t they go away?
I decided that Sazed would still send them. They’re part of the nature of the world now. To acknowledge what had happened, they wouldn’t come every night any longer. But they would come. They were changed in that they are no longer simply the raw power of Preservation; they’re now a part of Harmony—so they no longer pull away from Hemalurgy in the same way as they used to. They still have the odd effect of being able to power Allomancy. (And Feruchemy as well—if one knows how to do it.)
The mists are, in part, the raw power of creation. And when one is favored of Harmony, the mists have a greater effect than they might otherwise have. We’ll see more of this later.
The Church of the Survivor
Another aspect of worldbuilding had to do with building all of the religions. Kelsier is still around, by the way. I’ll tell you eventually what he’s been up to, but if you look through the original trilogy you’ll find hints of it.
I wanted the religions of the world to all be grounded in fact, but all have different motivations. I wanted them to be realistic, however, in that they don’t always get along. Harmony may be there watching, but I didn’t think he’d interfere too much. That comes from holding two opposed powers; he’s got more of a Zen outlook on things.
The train cars get swapped
I hope this will surprise a few people, but it’s one of the more obvious twists I’ve had in my books. It’s pretty well foreshadowed, and it’s pretty much the only way this could play out, so I think the “inevitable” part of this twist is more powerful than the “surprising” part of it. That’s all right for me, as I decided to give Miles viewpoints, which meant the “How is he doing it?” side of the mystery became less important to the story than his motivations.
That’s part of what, to me, makes this book more of a “Brandon” book than a regular detective story. As I said in a previous annotation, I hope for this to be a fun page-turner, but it’s still one of my books—which means that the worldbuilding and the characters are more important to me than the amazing mystery. (Which may not be all that amazing.)