Confession time: I don't really like The Lord of the Rings.
I read the trilogy two or three times, but I still had a really hard time following the plotline. The first book was okay, and I was able to kind of keep track of what was going on, because all of the adventurers were together. But then the book ends with the group splitting up, and that's where the plotline confuses me.
The book sort of jumps around at the start of Book 2. It has Merryweather and the other hobbit trying to find Frodo for a chapter or two. Then I think it switches to the Legolas/Gimli Power Hour for a chapter or two, and I'm confused because I have no idea what they're doing besides bickering with each other. And then Aragorn does stuff for some chapters, and by this time, I'm completely lost because I haven't seen Aragorn in 100 pages.
And then Gandalf is back from the dead, for reasons that aren't fully explained. And he's fighting Sauron, who...I have no idea who he is. He must be a bad guy. The dialogue with Sauron is cool, though. And there's a huge battle at Sauron's castle.
[Edit: I apparently mixed up Sauron with Saruman. In my defense, the two bad guys have similar names.]
Eventually, I stumble my way to Part 2 of Book 2, which starts with Frodo and Sam, who are still on the quest to destroy the ring. And their adventures are...actually, pretty boring. I remember a whole chapter being dedicated to the fact that they were having rabbit soup for supper. Even Gollum the Creeper had a hard time making these scenes interesting.
There's a chapter about them going up a long flight of stairs, and Sam conveniently steals the ring from Frodo, shortly before Frodo gets kidnapped by bad guys. Then The Two Towers ends, and I'm left wondering...when was a tower ever mentioned in the book, much less two towers?
Book Three picks up Aragorn somehow being a king in charge of a huge army now. Wasn't he just a forest ranger named Strider when we first met him? Anyway, Aragorn deals with a lot of people I don't remember, and they're fighting other people I don't remember. I just sort of skip through this, until I get back to the part I can actually understand, the adventures of Frodo and Sam.
Sam and Frodo escape the bad guys, and they have the worst hike ever while going to the volcano and throwing the ring inside. Only the ring turns Frodo evil, and he doesn't want to get rid of it anymore. There's a showdown between Gollum and Frodo, and Gollum accidentally destroys himself and the ring in the volcano.
Somehow, somehow, destroying this one ring manages to kill the main villain of the book series. Even though the villain is hundreds of miles away. Even though the villain hasn't had the ring in centuries or so. And then the magical eagles come to save Frodo, and you're sort of confused as to why Tolkein brought back some obscure characters from The Hobbit to save the day.
The book series gets simpler and winds down after that, kind of. Frodo and the hobbits have a mini-adventure defeating the bad guys in the hobbit village, and that was fun. And the book ends on kind of a weird note, with Gandalf and Bilbo and Frodo and crew sailing across the sea, and they've all got rings now. I bet the movie had a slightly different ending. I only watched the first movie, so I wouldn't know.
...So yeah, that's about what happened when I read The Lord of the Rings. Re-reading it didn't really help my comprehension of the plotline, and I just sort of focused on the plotline with Frodo, because that's the one I can understand the best. Maybe I'll re-read the trilogy a fourth time, but probably not.