Wheel of Time does have many more strong and important female characters
than The Lord of the Rings. Unfortunately, they come across as smug and
cocky on too many occasions, as do the male characters of the story. The reader
often comes away from The Wheel of Time disgusted with mankind in general,
because of the lack of noble qualities to be found in anyone. Perrin is the
lone character who continually shows some decency and nobilitiy, but he develops
a supernatural ability that makes it harder for readers to empathize with him.
Little mutual respect is shown between the genders.
The women all think they know what is best and set out to manipulate the men.
The men all think the women are just pretty faces who need protection, guidance
and in need of a good spanking. Society is broken down by gender. There are
male organizations that try to keep women ignorant, while there are women's
organizations that try to dupe men and manipulate them. While Tolkien's Middle
Earth is clearly patriachial, there is no overt animosity between the genders
and women are held in high esteem.
When it comes to relationships, neither side demonstrates
having a clue. The women become emotional wrecks worrying about the approval
of their man, while the men have trouble thinking above the waist. As a result,
the female characters often come across as witches, while the male characters
often border on male chauvinism. These elements place The Wheel of Time
in a sharp contrast with The Lord of the Rings.
The Lord of the Rings has few female characters,
but they are respected and considered equals in many ways to their male counterparts.
The Wheel of Time is full of appalling chauvinistic behavior from both
genders. In The Lord of the Rings love and marriage is viewed as a sum
greater than its parts, while in The Wheel of Time the prevailing view
is that marriage is a detrimental to decision-making and judgment and is a sum
lesser than its two parts. The only childlike character is Mat, but he quickly
turns into a dangerous imp. Jordan later adds Olver, but this role is so small
that it has little bearing.