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!
Yes, I had a fight atop a moving train. DON’T JUDGE ME.
I couldn’t help myself, honestly. This fit perfectly with the narrative, and while I realize it’s a bit of a stereotypical place for a fight sequence, I really wanted to see it happen. So there you go.
This is a rather cinematic book—meaning I see it as translating easily to film. Unfortunately, I doubt that will ever happen. Not because I’m pessimistic about having films made in the first place (which I am), but because this is essentially book four in a series. Beyond that, it’s a very odd book four, one that departs wildly from the previous trilogy in setting and (in some cases) tone.
What that means is that we’ll probably never see a film. We couldn’t start with one just of Wax and Wayne, because the setting is too much of a mismatch. Magic, plus the wild west, plus urbanized early 1900s, but it’s not on our world and has three books worth of mythology to it? This sort of thing can work on paper, but I find it unlikely that studio executives would look at it and say, “Yeah, that sounds like a surefire hit to fund.”
Still, we can still hope for the original trilogy making it to film. Perhaps if they’re really sucessful, we could see something happen with these books.
The Book’s Title
It’s from this chapter that we get the title of the book. The Alloy of Law. I realize it’s an odd title. However, something about it strikes me. I don’t think everyone is going to like it; it’s certainly not as immediately powerful as something like The Way of Kings. But then, it’s also a little more unique. It does, in my mind, encapsulate the theme of the novel. The idea is that these two men—Wax and Miles—are both taking their own interpretations of what it means to follow the law, and mixing it up and making something new of it. This book is a confrontation between their two different ideals.
The working book title was simply Wax and Wayne. (As I was writing the early chapters, that was how they were titled.) I knew this title wouldn’t stick, however, as it’s a pretty lame pun. Now, I happen to be fond of lame puns. But they don’t belong in book titles unless you happen to be writing Xanth or Bob Asprin-type novels.
I can’t honestly remember which name—Wax or Wayne—I came up with first. I had Wayne as a character first, but he had a different name. Wax’s name came from the Mistborn ideal, where the characters frequently had strange fantasy names that abreviated to fun terms. (Like Hammond becoming Ham or Dockson becoming Dox.) Wax just fit well with those. Wayne, on the other hand, is a name that feels Western to me, for obvious reasons. As soon as I began thinking of the character by that name, he started to become complete to me—and so I had to keep it, even though the “Wax and Wayne” pun will probably make people groan.