I read The Hobbit when I was in fourth grade, and read the Lord of the Rings the summer before fifth grade. As much as I liked Frodo and Sam, Gollum/Smeagal made a bigger impression on me. I wanted Smeagal to win over Gollum, and finished reading all of those books just because I wanted to know what happened to him.
I re-read the stories later in high school, because the seniors were doing a theater production of The Hobbit, and so everyone was really into Tolkien for a good long while. The play was awesome, and I wanted to get involved in stage management and behind the scenes type work with future drama productions because of it.
Gollum was sinister, and it astonished me that there was a better part of him that had been buried down deep inside of him, even after being such an enemy of all what was good, that Frodo had managed to bring out of him, despite Sam's protests. Frodo made a mistake in betraying him, and because of his unforgiveness and misunderstanding Frodo's intentions, Gollum basically took over Smeagal. Even as a ten year old, I understood the fragility of relationships and trust through the story. It really drew me in.
Now, as an older person, I am in awe at how Tolkien had created such a masterpiece, especially through unforgettable and unique characters such as Gollum, Gimli, Gandalf (he felt familiar to me) and Bilbo. And the ups and downs of friendships.
Enjoy the video.