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.
If you’ve read the book, then you probably won’t be surprised to find that a partial inspriation for it was the Sherlock Holmes stories. Of course, you’d have to search pretty far to find any kind of detective story that isn’t somehow influenced by good Mister Holmes. This story, however, is more conciously inspired along those lines. I purposely developed a mysterious (almost even magical) series of robberies along the lines of what you see in the Holmes stories. The techological era is similar as well.
Of course, the characters are much different—even down to the character roles and dynamics. I wanted Wax to be a thinker, but more of a lawman than an eccentric. Wayne has encogh eccentricity for three characters. I wanted the way that Wax approached solving a problem like this to be more methodical, more like a lawman who has grown accustomed to doing things on his own—but who has proceedures he follows.
Beyond that, I wanted Wax to be solid. Many people are going to prefer Wayne for obvious reasons, but I prefer this story to be about Wax. (I’ll talk more about Wayne’s origins later.) Wax’s solidity helps anchor the story, I feel. Perhaps I find him more interesting than others will, but the different parts of him that are warring inside create for a stronger dynamic than some of the other characters, who are more static.
If you watch in these scenes, I’m trying very hard to set up the butler’s eventual betrayal. This one must be done very carefully, however, for a couple of reasons. First off, Tillaume is actually a pretty good person. Loyal to Wax’s uncle, true, but a good man. He doesn’t want to kill Wax, but he sees it as important and understands what must be done.
What he is doing here in discouraging Wax is an attempt to keep him from drawing the old Lord Ladrian’s attention. Tillaume knows that if it goes too far, Wax will have to be removed. But Tillaume is fond of him, and doesn’t want that to happen. Hence his dissapproval. He doesn’t actually know he’ll be ordered to kill Wax; in fact, if he had known that he’d be responsible, he probably would have tried harder to sabatoge what Wax is doing in these chapters. It takes him a little by surprise that Wax does all this, however, as Tillaume thought he’d sufficiently discouraged such behavior.
Yes, one of the months of the year is named after Vin. There are twelve months, one after each member of the crew, with a few tweaks. (The days of the week have different names too, but we ended up not using any in this book.)
By the way, Scadrial—the world of Mistborn—is the closest Earth analogue in the cosmere. I did this intentionally, as I wanted one planet where technology and the like progressed similiarly to what we have. There are distinctions, of course, but generally we’ve got a lot of similarities. Even in the original Mistborn, we referenced plants and animals by Earth-style names. You can assume that on Scadrial they have horses, dogs, cats, sparrows, and the like. There are twelve months, and a twenty-four-hour day. Gravity is earth gravity. Things like this.
There’s no hidden meaning there—no tie back to Earth, at least not in any important way. The cosmere is entirely separate from Earth. This one planet, however, has creatures that were developed along the same lines as Earth. (Well, it’s not the only one, but to say more would be to give away too much.)
Wax gets his earring
That was MeLaan, by the way, who converted Wax and gave him his earring. (MeLaan, if you don’t remember, is TenSoon’s adopted daughter/little sister. Though the “little” part is subject to debate, as she’s easily five centuries old by this point.)
Sazed speaks to Wax
So, if it matters to you, this is actually Sazed talking to Wax here. It’s not just Wax’s imaginings.
I’m not sure what readers are going to think of this. My goal with the original Mistborn trilogy was to set up a mythology for the world, one in which real characters were playing a part. Sazed is, essentially, God now. Maybe a lowercase g would be better on that word, but regardless, he’s the one watching over the world and making sure things go as they should. At this point, he’s working hard to discover what’s going on with the other Shards and to keep another disaster from coming Scadrial’s way.
I’ve spoken before on my fascination with religion, and this aspect is a particularly interesting one for me. I’ve played with the ideas of men being treated like gods in Elantris and Warbreaker—but they didn’t really deserve it. Here, however, we have Sazed who is approaching more of what a god would be. Should he be prayed to? Why or why not?
You should know that holding two opposed Shards of Adonalsium has made Sazed more . . . zen, if you will. Not inactive. However, he has taken a belief that both Ruin and Preservation are important in people’s lives, and doesn’t feel that interfering is something he should often be doing. He sees his primary role being to encourage people to be better, to keep an eye on the other Shards, and to make sure the world keeps working as it should.