One last thing on the sexism: A good fantasy or Science Fiction is a unstained mirror of real life, in fact, the best books (like the lord of the rings)are more real than reality itself. Thus, these genres must reflect the culture of the time they are to reflect. In the time J.R.R. Tolkien wrote in, they specialized so that each sex worked in the way that would best utilize their skills:the man's strength(testosterone) and the woman's patience and communication(women have ~15% more neurons in their brains devoted to speech and communication). I still think that this system works better, rather than the system where everyone feels they have to do everything, even if there is someone else(like their spouse) who could do it better. Wasn't even "oppressive" to women until after the renaissance. Until then, work was seen as a good thing and the work did not have to be of great renown for it to be very good. ("Valour without renown") In fact, the less renown you had the better, because they took pride very seriously in the middle ages (chief of vices and all that, read Dante's Divine Comedy, possibly the only work to beat the Lord of the Rings in my book). Women were very well respected in Rome & all through the Middle Ages, like Galadriel they were consulted on everything & their husbands were subordinate to them, but they were also subordinate to their husbands(again like Galadriel). Much like Creon in Oedipus Rex, they had all the power without much of the responsibility(they had different responsibilities). And that is how Tolkien portrays his women(with the notable exception of Eowyn, who has been covered enough in this thread).