Fantastic piece. I love a lot of the old books, which I established a relationship withbefore I established a relationship with my social stances. My father first gave me the Hobbit, but he also made sure to hand me Tamora Pierce, so it evened out. That said, those books you mentioned I now love at more of a distance, especially as a fantasy writer who tries to shut down the norms you so astutely point out. I’d like to make a recommendation, which I nominated for the Hugo (sadly, she’s a small pub, so it didn’t make it far, being new to the scene and all). I love Morgan Smith’s books “Casting in Stone” and “Spell in the Country.” She does a marvelous job setting up a world in which women serve many capacities, some successfully, some not. Because she has her own world, she chose to simply put women in places of power. That does not mean there are not gender conflicts (that would probably be a reality no matter what). But her protag is full, interesting and complex and the story had me going. It’s high fantasy, but also dark fantasy. I was even a little spooked at times, it was so well written. I have no stake in the matter, I assure you. I read her book after meeting her at an online fantasy group. I then sought out her friendship as a fan because they were just so well done, and I like to recommend them to those who like complex female leads, high fantasy and elements of dark fantasy. Happy reading, all.