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I'm looking for a fantasy trilogy that I've read more than 15 years ago. I remember lots of bits but since it was so long ago some might be from other stories.

The main themes I remember are that the magic in the world is imbued into items with smithing, the protagonist learns this art, falls in love with some girl who becomes a bird and flies away. The series has some mystery nemesis that has something to do with cold. In the final book the protagonist discovers that a) the girl he loves is the villain/her helper b) he is actually a smith god that turned himself into a human.

Some more details I remember: The trilogy starts with the protagonist being a villager (I think one of the first description are of him leading an ox (or multiple?) outside of the village proper.

As the story progresses he learns some kind of magic smithing technology in/on a mountain and becomes a master of the art. At some point he escapes, I think through the dwarf city inside the mountain.

During this time the protagonists falls in love with the girl who at some point turns into a big white bird and flies away.

In the final parts of the series the protagonist builds himself a set of magical black wings, travels to a different continent, discovers the woman he loved is the villain / helps the villain (maybe coerced?), and that he himself is the smith god that chose to become human.

marked as duplicate by Mike Scott, Bellatrix, Blackwood, Möoz, Valorum story-identification May 20 '18 at 23:28

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That’s the Winter of the World series by Mike Scott Rohan (no relation). The original trilogy was later extended with another three books.

The Winter of the World stories are set in a strange and hostile time, one of the eras when the Great Ice spread out yet again from the polar caps, seeking to engulf the world in its chill grip and scour it clean of contaminating life - and most of all the first, and long forgotten, civilizations of men. But, as the Winter Chronicles record, men were not wholly without friends; and they found in themselves strange and magical abilities to help them survive and keep the lights burning against the encroaching dark. Greatest among these was the working of metal to arcane effect, the power of smithcraft; and the men in whom that power burned fiercest of all became the source of many legends, the Mastersmiths of the Northlands.

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