Alas, it sounds like this problem stems entirely from the fact that I haven’t read the later books.
Garrett Robinson

Perfectly understandable :) I’ve been reading the series for almost a year now, so it takes a lot of time to get through, though books 3–5 are mostly to blame for this delay, because I really took my time getting through them and they didn’t really register. The only part of Book 4 that I remember is a brilliant passage where Rand has a vision of the Aiel’s past in Rhuidean. It was only with the third act of Book 5 that I really started burning through them, barely able to wait to read/listen to what happens next (I alternate reading with listening to audiobooks). Since the end of March I’ve already read Books 5 through 9.

And if you only read Book 1–5/6, I understand where your criticism of female characters may be coming from. They really develop a lot later on, as I wrote in my previous comment.

I also realized that what I like a lot about this series is that women in positions of power aren’t treated like a rare occurence as opposed to ASOIAF (which I also love). Jordan set his story in a quasi-medieval setting, where admittedly women are expected to dress certain way in some cultures/realms (Andor, Cairhien, Two Rivers), marry, have children, are objectified or sexually harassed by some men*, but their sexual freedom is acceptable (Morgase, queen of Andor and Elayne’s mother having various lovers during her reign, Berelain as well, Elayne herself), women are rulers or High Seats of their houses, they are warriors, merchants, ship captains, scholars and inventors (Idrien, a woman, heads an Academy set up in Cairhien by Rand) and specialize in masculine crafts. Not to mention the Aes Sedai themselves. And it is just a status quo in this world, not some weird exception.

  • Jordan balances this by introducing female characters who are downright predatory in their advances towards men and are prone to objectifying male characters or treating them like trophies (like queen Tylin of Altara and Berelain). It is also really nice to read chapters from female characters’ point of view describing their pleasure at observing male bodies (a very important but very rarely employed female gaze).
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