The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
Made during the Years of the Trees. At least two1 survived into the Fourth Age
Origins
Made by Fëanor
Pronunciation
palantee'ri
Meaning
Roughly 'far sight'
Other Names
Note
The word palantíri is a plural; the singular form is palantír

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 22 March 2014
  • Updates planned: 1
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The original locations of the Seeing-stones
The original locations of the seven palantíri of Middle-earth.

The Stones of Seeing; powerful crystalline globes that enabled their users to witness events and communicate with one another over great distances. Seven of these were brought to Middle-earth by Elendil.

Palantíri of the North-kingdom

Elendil Stone Taken into the West III 3021
The Seeing-stone of Emyn Beraid, which was held in the tower of Elostirion in the Tower Hills west of the Shire. It was said that this Stone was so attuned that it could be used to look across the Great Sea to the lost West. The Elendil Stone was removed from its tower and taken back to Aman aboard the White Ship at the end of the Third Age.
Stone of Amon Sûl Lost III 1974
The largest of the three palantíri of Arnor, and said to be the most powerful, was originally housed in the Tower of Amon Sûl in the centre of the North-kingdom. When the Tower was destroyed by the Witch-king, the Seeing-stone was rescued and taken to Fornost. When Fornost itself came under attack, King Arvedui escaped into the north with this palantír and the Stone of Annúminas. Both stones were lost when Arvedui's ship sank in the Icebay of Forochel.
Stone of Annúminas Lost III 1974
Said to be the least powerful of the three Seeing-stones of the North-kingdom, this palantír was nonetheless the one most used by the Kings of Arnor and Arthedain. It was originally held in Elendil's capital at Annúminas, but when the house of the Kings was moved to Fornost, the stone was moved, too. It was lost in the Icebay of Forochel with the Stone of Amon Súl.

Palantíri of the South-kingdom

Master Stone Lost III 1437
The Master Stone of Middle-earth was held in the ancient capital of Gondor, beneath the Dome of Stars. After the siege of Osgiliath by the rebel Castamir, the city was left in flames, and the palantír was lost in the waters of the Anduin.
Anor-stone Survived into the Fourth Age
Also called the Stone of Anor and the Stone of Minas Tirith, the palantír held at Anárion's stronghold of Minas Anor remained there throughout the Third Age. As the centuries passed, the stone was almost forgotten, but the Stewards knew of it. Denethor used it in secret, but Sauron subverted it and drove the Steward to madness. Denethor burned himself to death with the palantír in his hands, and from that time on, the image of the burning hands of the Steward was fixed within the stone.
Ithil-stone Presumed lost III 3019
The counterpart of the Anor-stone was the Ithil-stone, held in Isildur's city of Minas Ithil beneath the mountains of the Ephel Dúath in Ithilien. In III 2002, the Nazgûl assaulted Minas Ithil and captured the city along with its palantír. Thus Sauron was later able to use the Ithil-stone to influence both Saruman and Denethor in the War of the Ring. The fate of this palantír is not known with certainty, but it was presumably destroyed in the Downfall of Barad-dûr.
Orthanc-stone Survived into the Fourth Age
The fourth palantír of the South-kingdom was held in the tower of Orthanc in Isengard, which was originally a northerly outpost of Gondor. Saruman later petitioned Steward Beren of Gondor to grant him the Key of Orthanc, in hope that he would find the stone still within the tower. His hope was fulfilled, but through the stone he was ensnared by Sauron. After the fall of Isengard to the Ents, Gríma Wormtongue unknowingly threw the stone from the tower as a missile, and thus it ultimately came into the hands to Aragorn, who as the true heir of the Kingship of Gondor was its rightful keeper. After the end of the Third Age, the Orthanc-stone was the only truly usable palantír remaining in Middle-earth2.

Notes

1

There were originally seven palantíri in Middle-earth (there were evidently others in Aman, too). Three of these were definitely lost or destroyed: those of Annúminas, Amon Sûl and Osgiliath. The Stone of Elostirion in the Tower Hills was taken back to Aman on the Ring-bearers' White Ship. The Anor-stone and the Orthanc-stone both survived into the Fourth Age.

The fate of the seventh, the Ithil-stone, is not completely certain. It was in Barad-dûr during the War of the Ring, and was most likely destroyed in the downfall of Sauron. The substance used to make the palantíri, though, was exceptionally strong, and there remains a very slight chance that the Ithil-stone also survived into the Fourth Age.

2

The Anor-stone also survived, but the image of Denethor's shrivelling hands remained imprinted on it, so that it could only be used with difficulty by those of sufficient will.

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