I've been devouring Patrick Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicle for the past few weeks. I'm currently approaching page 700 of the second novel, The Wise Man's Fear. Funnily enough, a fantasy setting rife with magic, invention, religious tension and noble intrigue is doing all kinds of things to my funny little imagination.
So, I've been brainstorming how I'd handle running a game, and where I'd do it. I imagine it would be easiest to throw people into the University and see what sticks. That means they're all in their late teens/early 20s, and all studying to become arcanists, diplomats and the like. It also puts them in easy reach of some nobles (and gambling, drinking and music) across the river in Imre.
It also means I can run a bunch of trainee wizards around a school, and not be stuck with Hogwarts as a de facto setting. I can have them wander the Stacks of the Archives in the dark, around the different pubs and inns of both Imre and the University's surrounding town, send them to lessons in sympathy, sygaldry and naming, and if I get really adventurous let them wander around the Down Below.
That's not to mention a trip to Tarben, or anywhere else in the Four Corners either.
For rules, I'd say FATE would work reasonably well. Character creation gives easy back story, and possible interactions with other characters (plenty of them are noble born after all). As long as I can work out how to balance naming magic with the other kinds. It also works well that sympathy can affect a character's stress track in much the same was as in Dresden Files.
Alternatively, given the strong elements of storytelling and games of chance, hacking together something from the Houses of the Blooded rules might be interesting. My only problem here is removing the unifying background of every character being in the same family, and I'm not sure how that would affect the game of play. I do like the privilege mechanic though...
And then of course there's classless d20, perhaps relying on some kind of point-buy system for character generation and advancement. I think that might require a much bigger hack on my part though.