It's quite hard to pick a character when so many are examples of great strength and kindness. Every time I go to pick a character, I immediately turn round because another is equally as great. And while it may be that only one can truly be a favorite, they will all hold a place in my heart. So I suppose, if I must decide, I'll start with the Hobbit first.
The first time I ever read the Hobbit, was tenth grade and I was sixteen years old. I was grounded for neglecting school work, the only thing I ever seemed to get punished for. Perhaps muggle schooling just wasn't my cup of tea. Grounding in my house meant you couldn't use electronics and TV was only allowed if someone else was watching it. So my father brought me downstairs and sat me down, told me to pick a book and we'd read for a while. He picked his and I picked mine; I'm eternally grateful I chose as I did. I hadn't yet read the Hobbit, I had only watched the Lord of the Rings movies a thousand times. I figured it was time I learned of Bilbo Baggins and his tale. I marked my book about twelve or so chapters in, setting a stopping place for the night. And so I began, in no time reaching my marker. I was so enthralled I pushed on, setting my marker a few more chapters away. Again and again I repeated this process until the entire book was finished. I remember feeling as though I had underwent a journey myself. There had been laughter and intrigue and fear and tears. I was in love. Never since have I read a book that made me feel quite as that one. All the more reason that when the movies came out I was deeply saddened (they didn't live up to the expectations LotR has since set.) However, it only strengthened my love for my Hobbit companion, Bilbo. The change he underwent in the book endears him to me and always will. It's cliche to like the main character I know, "everyone likes him." It doesn't change the fact of Bilbo's kindness nor his bravery. It doesn't undermine the pain he will ultimately put himself through at being a bearer of the ring. I felt for him in his loss of Thorin, in his newfound sense of self upon returning to Bag End. Bilbo Baggins will always be the hero of the story to me.
Now, as I've said, I've watched the Lord of the Rings more times than I care to count. Every month since middle school I set aside one weekend to simply sit back and watch the full, extended spectacle that is the trilogy. The characters endeared themselves to me and I knew their every word as if it were my own. I will always consider myself the Fellowships 10th walker, as I have traveled with them a million times, and will do so a million more. My favorite character from this particular adventure is another fan favorite, though I suppose in their own right they all are. Aragorn, son of Arathorn, Dunedain Ranger of the North, and heir to Isilduir, once King of Gondor. Estel. A man who fought the sways of the Dark Lord and won. A man who's kindness I have not known in my own world. He is my favorite here. When I was younger, I was all about the Mirkwood Prince, Legolas. He was beautiful, and skilled; witty and brooding. And now still, I love him dearly. But as I've grown, I've come to appreciate the man that Aragorn is all the more. He was everything I wanted to be. Educated in the tongues of Elves, gifted with long life, and strong in every since of the word. A perfect ruler; a perfect man. One who would have gladly gave his life for Frodo; would have gladly gone with him until the end. He was valiant and wise. He loved with his whole heart a woman who loved him deeply in return. It's what I envy most about him I think, and what makes him my favorite character. His ability to love so wholly. It is unlike any love I have seen. His love did not stop at Arwen. He loved his Fellowship, his friends. He was a man I could have stood behind. When he gave his speech at the Black Gate, ready to lead thousands of men to fight, every time I want to go with him. The words resound within me and I want to fight. To stand along side him and forward his cause. In the words of dearest Boromir, "I would have followed you, my brother. My Captain. My King."