I don't really remember a time when I didn't love Tolkien. I remember reading the Lord of the Rings for the first time, because I took The Two Towers to camp with me that summer and repeatedly resented being torn away from it. It's the first thing I remember really latching on to. I had an elvish transliteration of "Speak, Friend, and Enter" on my bedroom door in high school (I also remember that I stole the idea from Pamela Dean's Tam Lin, because it was just so perfect and right a thing to do). I haven't read the Hobbit in years, I don't think, but it makes me happy just to know that it exists.
Peter Jackson's Middle Earth isn't Tolkien's, in a lot of ways. There are plenty of objections to be made to the changes he made in his first trilogy, and there are certainly going to be as many obejections to this one, if not more. But for all the shifting around of details and plot bits, I still feel like he got something fundamentally right about the spirit of the thing -- at least mostly (let us not speak about shield-surfing Legolas). And although this isn't entirely the Hobbit story as I have known it all my life, it's got the spirit of the story there. So I just can't bring myself to care.
It has also become apparent that at some point, Howard Shore installed a little hook in my heart, and all it takes is that hobbit theme to make me weepy-eyed. Let us hope he only uses this power for good.