Perhaps the best indicator of what FotR meant to me was this: I'm typically up until 1AM or later. I got home from FotR, helped get kids to bed, and by 11 PM was zonked asleep.
That movie was exhausting
When I was five, my brother read me The Hobbit. That same book taught me to read, when I insisted on hearing it again and my brother became consistently "too busy" to accomodate me.
It was while I was still six that I was given the Lord of the Rings and I devoured it.
Fantasy and SF are a big part of my life because of LotR. Roleplaying probably exists only because people like Gygax and Arneson read it, and its various knockoffs -- and certainly I roleplay because of it. I don't think the influence of that book on my life can be overstated.
It's fair to say I've been imagining, and waiting for, this movie for twenty-nine years. Five-sixths of my life.
I'm not sure I can react to it now. It's too big. I notice the little things -- the wonderful lines added, the depth of understanding, the perfect illusion of size, the condensation of the history, the time
they took to get everthing right... the way they fixed little things in the book.
I have little gripes, too. Someday I'll write them down. They're not relevant to how I feel.
I've had several 'religious experiences' in my life -- performing with Glory, running Mage, Sherilyn saying 'yes', finding M13 in a C-11 for the first time, seeing my children born, seeing Meat Loaf in concert. This is added to the list.