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I read at least two books in this series, within the last 10 years.

A scribe finds the famous wizard in an inn somewhere living in hiding and can't believe his luck in finding the famous wizard. He wants to tell the story:

A young, poor man determines to go to a University of Magic that is too expensive. He gets there with a little money but does something that impresses the masters, who let him in on a scholarship. Some of the masters disagree and don't like him. He is not allowed into the library. At one point the school is attacked. He is always trying to find money to pay for the next year's classes, food and shelter. At one point he works at a night club on the edge of town (I am remembering a magic harp or guitar?). He falls in love with a woman who is sort of a con artist. He eventually goes traveling for a year or so and runs into the girl again and saves the life of a king. He gets back to the university and lives off campus. There are tunnels under the school where something lives.

The last book I read ended with the wizard's inn being destroyed and him deciding to stop hiding and go fight the big bad, which I don't remember.

1 Answer 1

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This is The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, the first book of The Kingkiller Chronicle.

As the novel begins, the reader hears an old storyteller speaking of a famous old wizard called Taborlin the Great, who was captured by evil beings called the Chandrian. Escaping them, Taborlin fell from a great height—but since he knew the "Name of the Wind", he called it and the Wind came and set him down safely. In later parts of the book, characters are often skeptical of such stories. Some kinds of magic are taught in the university as academic disciplines and have daily-life applications (those who can afford it are able to buy magical lamps, for example, much better than the candles used by poorer people). However, most of the population does not have reliable knowledge of the magical disciplines and many still doubt that magicians can truly call upon the Wind. The Chandrian—whose appearance is supposedly heralded by flames turning blue—are often dismissed as mythical bogeymen.

In the rural town of Newarre, the Waystone Inn is managed by an innkeeper named Kote and his assistant Bast. It is revealed that Kote is actually the renowned Kvothe: an unequaled sword fighter, magician, and musician, rumored to have killed a king—earning the title Kingkiller—and caused the present war in which the civilized world is embroiled. Bast is Kvothe's assistant and student and a prince of the Fae. Kvothe has gone into hiding and assumed the identity of Kote in order to keep a low profile. Kvothe saves a traveling scribe known as Chronicler from spider-like creatures called scrael, whereupon Chronicler, recognizing Kvothe, asks to record his story. Upon consenting, Kvothe tells Chronicler that this will take three days (corresponding to the planned trilogy of novels).

[...]

Kvothe then resolves to get into the university, whose vast Archives include all kinds of accumulated knowledge, including, presumably, also on the Chandrian. Having through great effort obtained some minimal funds for both clothing and traveling, he sets out. En route Kvothe becomes enamored with a talented young woman known as Denna, who is a musician like himself. Kvothe enters the university despite his lack of tuition funds and performs admirably as a student, but faces continuous poverty and rivalries with the wealthy student Ambrose Jakis and the arrogant Master Hemme, who sees that Kvothe receives lashing for misbehaviour. A trick by Ambrose causes Kvothe to be banished from the Archives, hampering his research on the Chandrian. However he does very well in other fields of study, advancing in medicine and runic metalworking, and gaining some loyal friends. Kvothe buys a lute despite his poverty, and performs brilliantly at a famous musical tavern to earn money, where he also befriends Denna again.

Per Wikipedia

Note that the third and final book remains "forthcoming" a dozen years since the publication of The Wise Man's Fear (2011) and there is currently no sign that publication is imminent.

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  • 14
    Oh man, Doors of Stone has been waiting so long that Rothfuss is showing up in story identification!
    – Michael W.
    Sep 14, 2023 at 22:13
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    @MichaelW. The whole thing is such a debacle. Patrick's depression, him lashing out(?) whenever DoS is mentioned, rumours about lack of manuscript, hearsay about DoS being split into two books... If I haven't been in the "Wise Man's Fear sucks" camp, I would be despondent; but even my dislike WMF doesn't stop me from grieving for an author with such beautiful prose.
    – Dragomok
    Sep 15, 2023 at 14:30
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    @Dragomok Indeed! NOTW was definitely better than WMF, but I enjoyed both. Sadly, I now lump Rothfuss in with Martin in the "never going to finish the story" camp and can't recommend them anymore because of it :(
    – Brian
    Sep 16, 2023 at 8:57
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    Warning for anyone who thinks this is worth reading: it is. You'll regret it and wait for part 3 forever.
    – DonQuiKong
    Sep 16, 2023 at 17:38
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    @Brian: Not unlike those waiting for the Thorn of Emberlain, due in 2019, no, 2021, no, 2022, no now there's going to be three novellas bridging the gap between Republic of Thieves (2013) and Thorn of Emberlain, no wait, it's radio silence for another few years... Sep 16, 2023 at 18:27

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