I re-read LotR last year, and I was surprised at how readable I found it. Page count isn’t an indicator of quality in general to me - worth a warning to someone who might not read loads if (as in this case) you’re looking at something like 9000 pages for the main series, but some people love getting immersed in a world for a while. Maybe my use of ‘flabby’ was a bit clumsy - ‘luxorious’ perhaps? It’s not that it feels badly or wastefully written, just that for me personally, I think I’d prefer it cut down and focused a bit, into the 600-700 region rather than 900-1100. Horses for courses I guess.
Regarding the female characters, I find he’s right on the edge. Some are well written, some are a pretty cliched, but then his male characters are the same, and it is an epic heroic fantasy saga tbf, and written 20 years ago. I do roll my eyes at certain descriptions though.