In 2002. I was sick for a week during the summer and read the books through then. Read "The Hobbit" for the first time around the same time.
Favorite Tolkien character:
Fili, Kili, Thranduil, Bofur, Bilbo and Pippin.
I love so many characters. Fili and Kili I found as endearing as one could with the lack of personalities in the book and I love them in the movies too - where Bofur became a favorite as well as Bilbo. Thranduil is my favorite elf because he's a bit different, darker and interesting. Pippin is easily my favorite hobbit. Very endearing and interesting story.