When I was nine years old I received a box set of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (the Del Rey mass market paperback editions) as a gift from my dad, who had been an LOTR fan when he was a teenager and hoped I would be as well. However, the books sat on a shelf for several months, still in the plastic wrap, before I became interested in reading them. The tipping point was the movie tie-in game of ROTK, which led me to ask a ton of questions such as "what are orcs?", which I did not receive satisfactory answers to from the other kids I knew who played the game. I decided to read the books out of curiosity and, after starting with The Hobbit, read through them as quickly as I could and haven't looked back since.
Favorite Tolkien character:
Faramir, who has always stood out to me as the epitome of the positive aspects of Gondorian culture and all it could be. His nobility, his courage, and the inspiration that he gave to those around him (especially Beregond) were especially attractive qualities at the time I first read LOTR due to events in my home life.