So silly of me. The second time is a charm. The initial love and lust of the movies have warn off. They are beloved movies and classics and I can now peel away the layers and look for those beautiful treasure troves. Now I can take the book on its own without the movie. It does influence how I picture the characters now. I'm seeing things I didn't see the first time around.
When I read "The Hobbit" last month I realized how Bilbo really becomes the leader in the book. He takes charge and gets stuff done. The movies don't quite portray that, I think.
Same goes for "The Fellowship of the Ring." Aragorn is more sure of his destiny than he is in the movie. Frodo is a lot older in the books and commands a bit more respect, I think, than in the movies as well.
I think the movies help add to the books but the books is where the meat lies, the heart of it all.
Tolkien truly created the pinnacle fantasy series. I only wish he had added more depth to the story by adding more women. I think there are only 3 major female characters in the series and they never talk to each other.
Overall it's the stuff of epic myth and story. Stories stay with us and make us want to be better, do better, and avoid the dark paths. Heroic imagination at its best. (This relates to the whole series not just the first book).