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Minas Tirith Forums » Library Council of Minas Tirith » What were the Palantiri made of? (Page 1)
Author Topic: What were the Palantiri made of?
Orome
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What were the Palantiri made from?

I apologize if this has been asked an answered

[ 10-29-2001: Message edited by: White Gold Wielder ]


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Orome

"The strongest hand uppermost!" Brian Boru, Lion of Ireland.


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Cernunnos
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I don't believe it is recorded anywhere. There is some implication that they were made by Feanor.

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Illuvatar
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They were made by Feanor. Gandalf says this in LOTR and in the silmarillion there is made a mention of feanor making things like that.

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Roll of Honor Gandalf the White
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The question wasn't who made them...The question is what were they made of...

I don't think we know for sure, but perhaps it was something like what the "Stone of Erech" was made of...


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Maglor
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They were made by Feanor not to long before the Silmarils were made so i'm guessing it was the same glass type stuff the Silmarils were made out of. Like a jewel except an elf made jewel.

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Orome
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yes i knew they were made by feanor
my assumtion was that they were glasslike as with the silmarils
just wanted to know if it was stated concretely anywhere

thanks fellas


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Ensa Lucis
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Carbon perhaps? Maybe a form of carbon mystically imbued with unexplainable virtues.
A silmaril/palantir to a diamond would be like mithril to silver, or a mallorn to a chestnut tree, or Lothlorien-soil to dirt.

I don't believe it's stated anywhere, simply because it's not important, and you'd get the odd fanatic who'd actually try to make one, amid cries of "I am Feanor, greatest of all Elven smiths!" Some people are weird.


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Sigmark Heimdall
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I think they were made from the same material as silmarils were- some undestructible sort of
?Carbonsilicium? crystal

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Eol the Dark Elf
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I'd think Silima too, except I always saw the Palantír as being naturally dark, not just because of images they showed..

"Lothlorien-soil to dirt"... magic

[ 11-23-2001: Message edited by: Eöl the Dark Elf ]


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Rothrandir
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I don't believe that the Silmarils, or the Palntirs were made of glass. It is possible to "make" stones and minerals such as diamonds, only that they can not be called stones or minerals because in order to be a stone of mineral, it must have naturally formed, even thought it is the exact same compound.
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The Laurenendôrian
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Perhaps they were made from the 'elven glass' referred to by Bilbo in his poem about Eärendil:

A ship then new they made for him
Of mithril and of elven-glass,

Not, of course, that we know very much about this material.


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Grey Pilgrim
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I imagine that elven-glass could work as a groupname for such artifacts. Feanor made the Silmarils (which contained light) and the Palantiri.

Galadriel made the Elven-glass (which contained light) and she was of the Noldor (If I remember correctly) The people who learned most of Aule.

So the material that they both used could have the same origin, but I think that Feanors handiwork was infinitely better in quality.

As for the stone of Erech (and the stone of which Orthanc was made) I think they were made by Men and thus not of the same order.

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Snöwdog
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The Silmarils would have to of been made with serious crystaline glass that could withstand pretty much anything to be able to contain the light of the trees.

The Palantiri would had to of been made with a similar substance, but their ability was quite different.

The Phial of Galadriel was likely made similarly to the Silmarils but it held a much lesser light.

We could ask the question of who made the Star of Elendil (Elendilmir) and what was it made of? (Topic sort of talked about in What Was the Elendilmir?)

For each of these, it is interesting to speculate about the hows & whys of their manufacture.

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Hamfast Gamgee
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I think it probable that Mithril was involved.
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The Flammifer
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A one foot diameter crystal sphere would weigh about 50 pounds. Not very conducive to “carrying in the folds of a cloak” such as Gandalf did with the Orthanc Stone (which it seems was about that size). It seems the palantiri had to be either hollow or made of some material lost in the depths of time.

Anyone ever wonder why Elendil brought a twenty-five ton rock from Numenor to the Hill of Erech?

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Snöwdog
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quote:
A one foot diameter crystal sphere would weigh about 50 pounds. Not very conducive to “carrying in the folds of a cloak” such as Gandalf did with the Orthanc Stone (which it seems was about that size). It seems the palantiri had to be either hollow or made of some material lost in the depths of time.

Anyone ever wonder why Elendil brought a twenty-five ton rock from Numenor to the Hill of Erech?

You assume the laws of physics are the same as the real world.
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Aiwrendel
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One foot diameter? [] Where did that huge measurement come from? That's much larger than an adult human head. I never imagined the Palantir being more than 6-8 inch in diameter. Is its, or any other seeing stone, size stated in any text?

In LotR - The Palantir:
quote:
Pippin sat with his knees drawn up and the ball between them. He bent low over it...he remained bent, clasping the ball with both hands. Closer and closer he bent...
How tall was Pippin at that time? 4 feet? Had he reached his full 4.5 feet yet? At 4 feet tall sitting with his knees up they wouldn't be more than 8-10 inches off the ground. A 12 inch tall ball wouldn't allow much bending over toward it: It would already be in his face.

Edit: Mr. Typo strikes again

[ 08-16-2014, 08:07 AM: Message edited by: Aiwrendel ]

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Snöwdog
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Maybe the "Master Stone" was a bit bigger.
And yeah, I always visualized them to be 6-8" based on the Pippen scene in the book.

(can't believe I'm saying this, but it is one thing PJ actually got close to right)

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The Flammifer
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quote:
From U.T. –The Palantiri: They [the palantiri] were perfect spheres, appearing…of solid glass or crystal… At the smallest they were about a foot in diameter, but some… were much larger and could not be lifted by one man. …They were very heavy but perfectly smooth…
So no. Choose PJ or choose Tolkien – you can not have both!

I have to stand by my original estimate of one foot in diameter for the Orthanc Stone and, if solid, it had to be made of some light material lost in the depths of time.

Cheers [] []

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Snöwdog
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Published Tolkien works during his lifetime, or collected notes from his desk published after his passing by his son. That's like saying 'Choose J.R.R. Tolkien or choose Christopher Tolkien's edited collection of his father's working notes.

Grima must have been quite strong to have thrown the Orthanc Stone down at Saruman and Gandalf, having it split an iron rail, cracking a stone stair (which one could assume was made of the same stone the rest of the tower was made of), and to have Pippen run after it and pick it up. Must of had some strength and big legs after drinking the ent-draught. []

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The Flammifer
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From U.T. Note:
quote:
The author appears in larger type in the primary texts throughout; if the editor intrudes into one of these texts he is in smaller type indented from the margin...
Thus we can rest assured that JRRT wrote the quote I mentioned above. Whether it be musings or not we don’t know. But as JRRT goes into some great detail on the size, weight, and “how to use” the palantiri we know that Christopher would not have the cheek to disrespect his father by making up this short chapter The Palantiri.

So, no, we need not choose between JRRT or CJRT (in U.T. at least), as it is quite clear when the editorial pencil comes into play.

I only mention the above quote to show where I came up with my “one foot in diameter” thought (even though one foot may seem excessive).

And Snowdog, you (and Tolkien himself) seem contradictory: The Orhanc Stone “split an iron rail, cracking a stone stair”; i.e. it must have had some significant weight; yet Pippin had no problem picking it up, nor did Gandalf have any apparent problems carrying it in the “folds of his cloak” while riding Shadowfax. Hmm.

Ah, one of the many quandaries we can banter about. Eh?

Cheers [] []

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Aiwrendel
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Thanks for that text, Flammifer. I’m amazed that the smallest was 12 inches in diameter. The diameter of an NBA basketball is only 9.5 inches and a professional soccer (foot) ball is only 8.6 inches. Sheesh! *Re-reading LotR - TT– The Chapter 10. The Voice of Saruman* I forgot Grima didn’t “throw” the Palantír; He dropped it from above:
quote:
...a heavy shining thing came hurtling down from above. It glanced off the iron rail, even as Saruman left it,...
Pippin coming up the steps, slowly, as if he were bearing a great weight... seems to fit. Gandalf hiding it in folds of his cloak would be awkward: It would look like he had a nasty tumor. But then,
quote:
[Gandalf] was rolled in a blanket, with his cloak spread over the top; and close beside him, between his right side and his bent arm, there was a hummock, something round wrapped in a dark cloth; his hand seemed only just to have slipped off it to the ground.
could also work with a 12 inch diameter ball. I still have a problem with it being between Pippin’s knees if he was sitting on the ground with his knees up, but it seems the Palantír may have been larger than I imagined.
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The Flammifer
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Your welcome Aiwrendel. I recall years and years ago figuring the weight of the “smallest” (one foot) palantiri. I even called my local gravel Co. to estimate the weight per cubic foot of gravel, which I assumed would be close to the weight of marble or crystal. I then calculated (whoops! don’t remember how – bad bookkeeping!) the weight of the Orthanc Stone at 58 lbs. (whew!) This really seems excessive.
Even your soccer ball would seem to come in around 30-35 lbs., and yes, Grima would just have to drop it.

And the weight goes up exponentially – a two foot sphere at 464 lbs; three feet at 1568 lbs. and so on. I know the formula for the volume of a sphere is 4/3 π R3 (that's cubed) , but have forgotten the weight of a cubic foot of gravel, ah well.

But I’m sure this will remain one of those mysteries that Tolkien left us with. I don’t suppose he ever assumed his admirers would get quite so niggling?
Remember also that Gandalf gave the Stone to Aragorn who had possession of it from that point on (although we don’t know if he “dropped it off” temporarily during the War for convenience sake).

Sorry to bother you with a lot of (unnecessary) detail, but the subject is interesting. (And I'm downgrading my one foot estimate to less than your soccer ball while you seem amenable. We should meet somewhere in the middle.) []

Cheers [] []

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Snöwdog
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quote:
one of the many quandaries we can banter about. Eh?
Yes! It's good to see some good Tolkien banter here! [] Thanks for clearing that up as it's been some time since I read that part of UT. I may have been contaminated by the PJ fanfic some... []

The mixed cues that are given by Tolkien himself does paint a rather odd picture. There isn't anything that says Grima threw it, but the part where it says he couldn't decide who he hated more, Saruman or Gandalf, sort of implies that it was aimed, however carelessly. I suppose if he carried it to the top of the stairs and awkwardly hurled a 25-26 kg 1 foot diameter round sphere downward, it would be rather hard to aim. I can't see it just being rolled down the stairs as it seems the first thing it hits is the iron rail.

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Aiwrendel
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quote:
On the eastern side [of Orthanc], in the angle of two piers, there was a great door, high above the ground; and over it was a shuttered window, opening upon a balcony hedged with iron bars. Up to the threshold of the door there mounted a flight of twenty-seven broad stairs, hewn by some unknown art of the same black stone. This was the only entrance to the tower; but many tall windows were cut with deep embrasures in the climbing walls: far up they peered like little eyes in the sheer faces of the horns.
There were many windows on the top of Orthanc where Saruman dwelt with the Palantír in his keeping. My new imagining is Wormtongue wrestled the heavy ball over to a high window and dropped it toward Saruman and the Company below him. He might not have cared who he hit but was hoping to strike his master or Gandalf.
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