Shortly after seeing the FOTR film in theaters, was about 20 years old at the time. I had both read The Hobbit and viewed the RB cartoon well before that, but originally had no idea TH and LOTR were linked until seeing FOTR. after reading LOTR I devoured whatever new Tolkien material I could get my hands on (and could afford).
Favorite Tolkien character:
Saruman fascinates me, I find him to be Tolkien's most tragic figure (yes, even more so than Gollum in my mind).