This book resonated with me personally now. The series portrays a battle between good and evil, darkness and light.
There are several points throughout the book, though, where the battle comes to a head. It’s essentially the decisions of only a few people persevering that wins the battle. Aragorn, deciding to accept the responsibility of requesting that the dead fulfill their promise to his ancestors, Sam going back for Frodo when he thought all was lost, these were great feats of courage and leadership that won the battle.
Even so, these decisions would never had made a difference without the huge efforts of masses battling the darkness head on. If not for Gondor taking a stand at Minas Tirith or the Rohannians coming to bolster their stand, it would have made no difference when Aragorn came. If they hadn’t gone to the Gates of Mordor next, Sauron would surely have discovered Sam and Frodo.
A note on dwarves. In the Hobbit there are several unflattering passages about the greed of dwarves throughout the book, something that Tolkien changed in later books. In the trilogy Gimli is the heart, he’s also the comic relief, but he’s truly the heart. He is the first to jump into battle and the most generous with his loyalty. He is the most completely loyal to Galadriel who represents pure goodness. I wish that there were more dwarves in those books, but Gimli more than makes up for the way they were smeared in the Hobbit.