I came to Harry Potter late on. I saw the films before I had read the books and because I enjoyed them so much, I waited until I had seen all the films before attempting the books.
That being said, I loved the books even more than the films. There are things in the films that aren't in the books, for obvious reasons and things in the books that aren't in the films. I find that this offsets the whole chaos of having to only like one or the other. They both have a lot to offer.
For the first book, I loved the excitement, the newness of it all and how well it's explained to what could be a new reader. I love Hagrid and Ron, and Neville. And I really love the interaction between Harry and Draco.
Definitely one of my favourite series.