So your lede is:
The overwhelming presence of J.R.R. Tolkien blighted the careers of many writers who could not escape his shadow.In context, "blighting" specifically does not mean "writing a long, somewhat Tolkien-derivative, exceptionally popular, fantasy series," since that's exactly what Jordan did, and you immediately go on to praise him for just that Tolkienian achievement.
So the study question is this: who, exactly, are these writers blighted by the presence of Tolkien? And what on earth do they have to do with anything?