I was 13 going on 14 years old, and after being sent home from school one day I was sent to my room. So it was boredom that first made me pick up my dad's well worn and nicotine stained copies of The Lord of the Rings, but I have never really put them down except long enough to switch to my own less worn copies. The first reading of The Hobbit unfortunately came many years later... and now they all sit on the table at the end of my bed, and will until the end of my days.
Favorite Tolkien character:
Gandalf. It is both his integrity and strength that makes him the most enduring character in all of Middle-earth as far as I am concerned. There is no doubt that Bilbo, Frodo, and Sam are among the most beloved when it comes to the Hobbits for obvious reasons... but for me one of the most interesting stories is certainly that of Pippin. After all he goes from a simple Hobbit to Guard of the Citadel, and beyond which to me makes him stand tall among the others. Not just because of the Ent-draughts.