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 two survived into the Fourth Age
Locations
Originally housed in Osgiliath, Minas Anor (later Minas Tirith), Minas Ithil (later Minas Morgul) and Orthanc; the Ithil-stone was later removed to Barad-dûr
Origins
Made by Fëanor
Race
Division
Culture
Family
The rightful users of the Stones were descendants of the House of Elendil and their appointees
Pronunciation
Gondor is pronounced 'go'ndorr'
Meaning
Gondor means 'Land of (the People of) Stone'1
Other names
Individually known as the Master Stone (of Osgiliath) the Anor-stone, the Ithil-stone and the Orthanc-stone

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About this entry:

  • Updated 17 January 2017
  • This entry is complete
Map of the Stones of Gondor

The four Seeing-stones or palantíri placed around the land of Gondor by Elendil and his sons. The greatest of these - the so-called Master Stone - was held beneath the Dome of Stars in Osgiliath, but was lost during the uprising known as the Kin-strife. The other three were placed in the fortresses of Angrenost, Minas Anor and Minas Ithil. When Minas Ithil fell to the Nazgûl in III 2002, its palantír came into the hands of Sauron, a fact that would later give him a powerful advantage in the War of the Ring.

Master Stone Lost III 1437
The most powerful of the Stones of Gondor, this was one of the largest of all the palantíri. The great black orb held beneath the Dome of Osgiliath was said to have been too large and heavy for a Man to lift, and had the ability to view conversations between other Seeing-stones (something that was impossible using lesser Stones). In the burning of Osgiliath by the usurper Castamir, the Stone of Osgiliath was lost in the waters of Anduin.
Anor-stone Survived into the Fourth Age
The palantír set in Minas Anor (later called Minas Tirith), which was originally the citadel of Anárion son of Elendil. It survived the tumults of the Third Age, but it faded from memory, so that by the end of that Age it was a secret held only by the Steward Denethor. His use of this Stone allowed Sauron to influence his perceptions, causing him to believe that Gondor's defeat was inevitable and eventually driving him to take his own life. Denethor burnt himself to death on a pyre while holding this Stone, and after this time the palantír would show an image of Denethor's burning hands.
Ithil-stone Presumed destroyed 25 March III 3019
Eastward from Osgiliath, in the western foothills of Ephel Dúath, stood Isildur's fortress of Minas Ithil. Like his brother Anárion in Minas Anor, Isildur maintained a palantír in his tower. This Ithil-stone remained in place for more than two thousand years, until the Nazgûl emerged suddenly from Mordor and captured the city. Thus the Ithil-stone fell into the hands of Sauron, and through it he entrapped and deceived his enemies, subverting Saruman and driving Denethor to despair. The fate of the Ithil-stone is not established with certainty, but it was presumed destroyed when Barad-dûr fell in the War of the Ring.
Orthanc-stone Survived into the Fourth Age
While the early Gondorians clustered three of their Seeing-stones in their eastern cities, the fourth was placed far away on their western borders. The great impregnable Tower of Orthanc within Isengard watched the western extent of their realm in its early days, and the Orthanc-stone allowed its commander to receive orders or warn of attack. Over the millennia the Orthanc-stone was forgotten by all but the Wizard Saruman who acquired the Tower and recovered the Stone that it held. Through it he was beguiled by Sauron using the Ithil-stone. The Orthanc-stone later came into the possession of Gandalf and Aragorn, who used it to further their efforts against the Dark Lord.

Notes

1

Given that the term 'Stones of Gondor' literally translates as 'Stones of the Land of Stone', there is perhaps room for confusion. The 'stone' referred to in Gondor's name was that used by its early builders to create great cities and other works; there is no connection with 'Stone' as in 'Seeing-stone' or palantír.

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 17 January 2017
  • This entry is complete

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