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The Burning Wheel: Parts 14-17

So in a recent post I explained why I am splitting Trappis’s Burning Wheel story into bits and pieces.
In this post, I want to do a deep dive on the parts where “Encanis” speaks.

14. “Tehlu” bound “Encanis” to the iron wheel. The iron hurt him, especially when he lied.
16. Final confrontation between the trapped “Encanis” and “Tehlu.” Some interesting words exchanged, the ringing iron wheel brooks no lies.
17. “Encanis” is thrown into bed of coals to burn.

If Encanis is an amalgam of different evil figures in Temerant’s history, and this dialog has any historical accuracy at all, then it must be something that happened with  one of the individuals, but which one? It’s certainly easy to jump to Haliax because he is their leader and Encanis is covered in shadow. But let’s look at the scene(s).

The character curses and bites and scratches. He pleads pitifully. He laughs. He shrieks.

Now we’ve seen Haliax. He is calm and controlled. It’s really nothing like the hostile emotions spewed by character on the wheel. Skarpi’s depiction of Lanre is pretty subdued too. His voice is described when young Kvothe sees him as cool and patient.

Furthermore, we have this draft thumbnail of that scene from

Interestingly, he doesn’t look very wreathed in shadow here. And (while I don’t know what to make of it), it’s fascinating that he appears to have a mask tied onto his face, rather than a mantle of shadow. The mask certainly never actually comes up in Trappis’s descriptions.

Point being, there’s not much evidence for Haliax. However, the character’s spiteful nature does remind me of one or two other characters we’ve also seen up close. Cinder, or possibly the Cthaeh.
Encanis laughed. “You will give me the same choice you give the cattle? Yes then, I will cross to your side of the path. I rep-“

So let’s look a little closer at each option:

1. Cinder

  • Well, certainly one could explain Cinder’s epithet if he had been charred and burned to ash in a pit of coals.  (“So it was that Encanis passed from the world.”)
  • There is ample evidence to support Cinder has an adverse reaction to the name of iron, and “Encanis” is hurt by the iron of the wheel.
  • He has a rasping voice…  “Encanis” hisses in a voice “like the rasp of stone on stone”
  • “Encanis” says “your people are like cattle my kind feed on!” This suggests he is fae (since as the reader we know there are no demons, only fae). Cinder certainly seems more Fae than human.

2. The Cthaeh

  • It’s not clear whether the Cthaeh is a fae or not, or just in the fae. (Or if one stays there long enough, does it matter?) He smells just a hint of iron on Kvothe, and wonders how Felurian stands it. But it’s unclear if that means the Cthaeh can’t stand iron, or just knows Felurian can’t stand it.  So maybe iron hurts it, or maybe not.
  • “Encanis” bites, and screams about biting. Felurian is very concerned about whether the Cthaeh bit Kvothe.
  • The Cthaeh has a “cool, dry voice.”
  • Cinder did him “a bad turn.” Possibly a play on words about a wheel.
  • The Cthaeh doesn’t lie.

I lean slightly towards the Cthaeh, but just in general this is interesting food for thought.



  • Nate   /   November 4, 2018., 12:28 amReply

    Yo. I think I'm really down with this theory and just reached the same conclusion myself ( that encanis is cthaeh). The Cinder possibility is interesting, but idk if he carries that much weight historically as a character. Also, I think that the story is interesting in how it refers to Encanis and the destruction of cities. Maybe that is the element of the story that is out of order? It would make sense, since the church is trying to mess up the details of history to give everyone a different story. What if Encanis did have a part to play in the destruction of the 7 cities because both Iax and Lanre spoke to the Cthaeh tree. And since he is the Cthaeh tree then it was his words that led them on their path of destruction. Whoooaaahhhhh The story, whether it is in the order that Trapis tells it or the order I suggested (Encanis becomes Cthaeh tree and then leads to destruction of cities due to speaking with both Iax and Lanre) leads to the same conclusion; just through a different perspective, which seems pretty rothfussian-esque to me. I also apologize that my grammar is shit.