The films provided my first introduction to Tolkien, and I became enamored. I first read LOTR while deployed with the Army in 2005 and have turned reading LOTR, the Hobbit, and the Silmarillion into an annual tradition. My own little hobbit was born in July and she already loves my, "animated" reading of the Hobbit.
Favorite Tolkien character:
There's at least a dozen but if I can break it down by race I'd say Samwise, Faramir, Elrond, and Gimli.