Opinions large and small, worth everything you pay for them.
There's a fantasy novel, Diane Duane's The Door Into Fire, one of the better examples of magic-as-technology I've run across. (The protagonist has a familiar whose name is the living image of a solar prominence, translated as "Sunspark". Sunspark enjoys acting as the forge-fire in the magician's many attempts to do the impossible: make a magical sword.) Anyway, it features a kingdom in which the king, as a necessary ritual which protects the land from malevolent forces, must annually forge a new crown (a rough circlet will do) in the village square, without any guards. It is permitted to kill the king during this process, although as I recall you have do it with no more than a blade (not a spell or a projectile), and if the king is popular, you will have to evade the crowd afterwards.
I'll have to check out her stuff, thanks for the pointer
Um, fair warning: Like a bad movie preview, I've pretty much used up all the smithing stuff.The magic is good, though.
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