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
Locations
Races
Created by an Elf, but associated with Men in Middle-earth
Division
Cultures
Family
Reserved for use by the descendants of the House of Elendil or their representatives
Other names

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About this entry:

  • Updated 7 July 2021
  • Updates planned: 1

The palantíri or Seeing-stones were created in Aman in ancient times. We do not know how many originally existed, but during the later years of Númenor when its people had become divided, the Eldar of Eressëa gave seven of these Stones to Amandil, the leader of the Faithful party of the Númenóreans. These passed in turn to Amandil's son Elendil, and on Elendil's ships they survived the Downfall of Númenor and were brought to Middle-earth.

In Middle-earth the Seven Stones were divided; three for the North-kingdom of Arnor, and four for the South-kingdom of Gondor. All seven survived through the first half of the Third Age; but the first of them to be lost was destroyed in III 1437, when the Stone of Osgiliath was lost in Anduin during the rebellion of Castamir. Further disasters claimed others of the Stones, until by the time of the War of the Ring only three remained active: those held by Sauron, Saruman and Denethor.

A fourth still existed in Middle-earth, in the Tower Hills of the north, but it was set to look back over the Great Sea toward Aman, and could not be used for other purposes. That Stone was collected by Gandalf after the War and returned into the West. By the dawn of the Fourth Age, only two of the Seven Stones were known to remain in Middle-earth: the Anor-stone and the Orthanc-stone. There is also a very slight possibility that Sauron's Ithil-stone might have been recoverable after the Downfall of Barad-dûr, but this seems extremely unlikely.


For more on the nature, history and geography of the Seven Stones, see the entries for palantíri and Seeing-stones.


Notes

1

The two Stones that survived into the Fourth Age in Middle-earth were the Anor-stone and the Orthanc-stone (although the former had been rendered almost unusable). The Elendil Stone was also intact at the end of the Third Age, but was taken aboard the White Ship and returned into the West. All the others were known to be lost, with the possible exception of the Ithil-stone. That Stone was in Barad-dûr when the Dark Tower fell, and so was almost certainly destroyed, but this is not categorically stated.

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About this entry:

  • Updated 7 July 2021
  • Updates planned: 1

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