I first read The Hobbit in school when I was around 11 years old. Then I immediately watched the LOTR movies. At that time I found them a bit overwhelming and confusing.
It wasn't until the release of The Hobbit movies that I was reminded I still hadn't read LOTR.
Now, I just can't get enough. Not only have I reread The Hobbit as well as LOTR multiple times, enjoying it every time, I've also read several of Tolkien's other writings about Middle-earth. Not all just yet, though.
Favorite Tolkien character:
Well ... It's impossible to choose just one. I LOVE Fíli and Kíli. Always have.
Also there's Gandalf, of course. And Beleg Cúthalion. And ... this goes ever on and on. Don't even get me started on all the characters I came to love through the movies.