In 7th grade I picked up FOTR but couldn't finish in time before the movies came out. Naturally, I was aghast that Gandalf "died" and rushed through TTT and ROTK before embarking on The Hobbit (which as a young child I found more enjoyable). Not a hyperbole when I say Tolkien totally changed my life!
Favorite Tolkien character:
Oh mann... too many... Gandalf the Grey, Feanor, Manwe, Ulmo, Earendil, Samwise, Bilbo, Radagast, movie Boromir, Alatar and Pallando, Balin, Eowyn, Nienna, Fangorn/Treebeard, Finwe, Galadriel