As for favorite character, I love Sam - always have and always will! I love his love, loyalty, and devotion for Frodo. One of the things he thinks/feels while he and Frodo are trudging through Mordor really touched me in a way very few things have.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tower high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
I also love many of the other characters too and it would be hard to choose but after Sam my Top 3 are: Gandalf, Aragorn, and Elrond I think!
Oh yes PRECIOUSSSS, I need to have a re-read!