I first read LOTR back when I was a teenager. I was very enthralled with Stephen King novels and read most of them. I also enjoyed his "Dark Tower" series. I was an awkward kid, had no friends. This was in the 1990s before the internet was big and way before I even an internet-ready computer.
There was a very casual mention in "The Talisman" which was co-authored with Peter Straub. The young protagonist who ventured from the real world and into a fantasy land called The Territories was amazed that his one friend Richard didn't seem to have any fiction books in his dorm room. Not even "Lord of the Rings!" I was intrigued by this.
A quick search at the library and I was hip-deep into LOTR. I learned as much about Tolkien as I could and how he'd written about Middle-Earth. I bought my nieces copies a copy of "The Hobbit" before they were old enough to read. The idea was for my sister to read it to them but she was oblivious and insisted they were too young to read something like that.
LOTR and the Dark Tower was the basis of my writing "The Res Kid", a fantasy book of my own. I started it on First Choice software on the Tandy 1000 EX and it spanned five or ten 5.25 floppy disks because the software only let you have so many pages on each file. I polished that story, added to it, revised it, and grew tired of it in the span of 20 years or so.
I've written several books, none of which professionally published, but many on Print On Demand or on Kindle or Nook.
My favorite character from LOTR was Gollum. I felt his death was best realized by the animated "Return of the King" film. He taught me about life, obsession, addiction, and the great lengths one would go through for survival in a harsh, cruel world. As for Stephen King, I wouldn't have read him had it not been for my sister gifting me a couple of his short story collections plus "Drawing of Three" which was part two of Dark Tower. She'd also given me "Geek Love" by Katherine Dunn and when I was in 10th grade my bro got me "Insomnia" by Stephen King.
I've gotten many books over the years from my siblings later on but these early gifts taught me how awesome it was to read and to write. I spend most days online today... not exactly making any master pieces, just pecking away at the kb...
EDIT: Oh, I forgot something. Prior to the movies having been released in theatres, I had been depressed and suicidal. I then read a magazine article about how there were going to be LOTR movies. I swore I'd stay around long to at least watch those movies!!! Well, I got my act together, visited support groups, and found a small variety of friends to hang out with... and I no longer have thoughts of harming myself...
Now that's a great movie that should be re-released or or put back into theatres!