One of the four original palantíri of Gondor, held in the tower of Minas Anor under the command of Elendil's son Anárion. When Anárion's descendants became Kings of Gondor, the use of the Anor-stone was theirs by right, and that right continued with the Stewards after them. As the Third Age wore on, the lore of the Seven Stones came to be forgotten, but it was remembered by Denethor II during his years as Steward.
Denethor was unaware that Sauron had a Stone of his own: the Ithil-stone captured by his Nazgûl more than a thousand years before. With that palantír Sauron was able to turn Denethor's mind to despair and madness, so that eventually he took his own life, burning himself on a pyre with the Stone of Minas Tirith in his hands. Though the Stone survived that burning, it was said that afterward it would show nothing but the vision of Denethor's withering hands, except to the most powerful of wills.
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