Both my parents love Tolkien (I was nearly called Arwen!) so I grew up with LOTR.
I first read it at school - about 1995 - and for my 16th birthday I even had a one ring enscribed :D
Favorite Tolkien character:
Probably Gandalf. I was devastated when he fell at Moria and I confess I peeked at the end of ROTK to see if his name appeared again.
One of the best things about LOTR is that, for a novel with so many battle scenes, a surprisingly high number of characters survive intact ;)