I had not read it before the movies came out. And I am one of those rare 'delayed gratification' people. It was no trouble to me to hold off reading, and let the MOVIES inform me of the full story.
Can you imagine not knowing that line "The ring is mine" was coming? What a mind-blowing cinematic experience - I pretty much leapt into the air, yelling 'OMG!'
Favorite Tolkien character:
Pippin - for his Tookishness.
Thranduil - for so many reasons, most often explained in the Thranduil Appreciation Threads.