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Minas Tirith Forums » Library Council of Minas Tirith » What were the Palantiri made of? (Page 2)
Author Topic: What were the Palantiri made of?
Gollum Gollum
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A palantir can't be too heavy. Just look:
[All quotes from: LotR, RotK, book 5, chapter 7 "The Pyre of Denethor"]
quote:
He [Denethor] stood up tall and proud again, and stepping swiftly back to the table he lifted from it the pillow on which his head had lain. Then coming to the doorway he drew aside the covering, and lo! he had between his hands a palantír. And as he held it up [...].
quote:
At those words Denethor's eyes flamed again, and taking the Stone under his arm he drew a knife and strode towards the bier.
quote:
Then Denethor leaped upon the table, and standing there wreathed in fire and smoke he took up the staff of his stewardship that lay at his feet and broke it on his knee. Casting the pieces into the blaze he bowed and laid himself on the table, clasping the palantír with both hands upon his breast.
Apparently, it is easy for Denethor to lift the stone up or to hold it with one hand, or even under his arm, doing something else with the other hand. He also manages without any problems to "leap upon the table" holding it with one hand...

I've been thinking that maybe the palantiri, made in the First Age and being really powerful devices, can change their weight, just as the One Ring can change its diameter...

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Aiwrendel
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aaaah! Thanks, G2!
I knew there were more reasons why I had the impression the Palantíri were smaller and lighter. I just got lazy and didn't finish researching. Heh. A pillow with a 12 inch diameter lump in it would not be conducive to resting ones head.

It may be that JRRT changed his mind about the size of the Palantíri when he wrote the "official" and published under his name, LotR.

quote:
(Gandalf) Will you, Aragorn, take the Orthanc-stone and guard it? ... [Gandalf] lifted the covered Stone, and bowed as he presented it. - LotR - Chapter 11. The Palantír
Bowing with a large, heavy ball would be awkward and hard on the back. He could have just bowed his head but Tolkian didn't state such and most bows in his books were full, bend-at-the-waist bows.

A bit off topic, in my research I found another intersting thing that I never committed to memory: The original locations of the Palantíri
quote:
They set up Stones at Minas Anor, and at Minas Ithil, and at Orthanc in the ring of Isengard. The chief and master of these was under the Dome of Stars at Osgiliath before its ruin. The three others were far away in the North. In the house of Elrond it is told that they were at Annúminas, and Amon Sûl, and Elendil's Stone was on the Tower Hills that look towards Mithlond in the Gulf of Lune where the grey ships lie.
Back on topic...
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Snöwdog
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Good additions Gollum²!

I guess all this in Lord of the Rings had my mental image of the Palantir as less than a foot in diameter. I really' can't see Denethor do all that with a 50+ Lb. stone in arm.

I always had the impression that the Osgiliath stone and the Amon Sul stone were larger and were the ones that needed more than one man to move. Had to of been a tough move to get the Amon Sul stone out before the tower was destroyed in a war.

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The Flammifer
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Oh, friends. I’m so glad that we have finally come to an agreement as to the properties of the Minor Palantiri, i.e. the Orthanc Stone and the Anor Stone.

We can all agree that Feanor gave all the Stones some unusual properties.

The two Minor Stones in question are four inches in diameter, except when they’re six inches in diameter, except when they’re eight inches in diameter, except when they’re a full foot in diameter.

They weigh about ten pounds, except when they weigh twenty pounds – well you get the idea!

The unusual properties that Feanor gave them were in part:
When falling through the air they are really heavy – one broke off a piece of Orthanc.
When held in hand they are really light for convenience sake.

Thus we can surmise when they are “touched” they become lighter, and when not “touched” they are really heavy.

BTW Aiwrendel or Snowdog, do either of you know how many palantiri there were??

Cheers [] []

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The Flammifer
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Sorry Gollum Gollum didn't mean to leave you out. []

[] []

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Snöwdog
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quote:
you know how many palantiri there were??
Without any research, I'm thinking 7.
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The Flammifer
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quote:
you know how many palantiri there were??
Without any research, I'm thinking 7.

Thanks for not peeking Snowdog, but, no not 7. []

[] []

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Aiwrendel
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You mean other than the seven I mentioned above in the quote from LotR Chapter 11 - The Palantír?
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The Flammifer
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Yes Aiwrendel seven IS the wrong answer to the question. I'll put it another way:

How many palantiri did Feanor make?

But you do bring up another interesting question:

Does anyone know (without research) what was the final disposition of each palantir?

[] []

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Snöwdog
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quote:
"I'll put it another way:

How many palantiri did Feanor make?"

Ah, different question altogether. Eight were brought to Middle Earth, but only seven were used at the various cities of men. The master stone only looked west and wasn't tied to the other seven. I don't think it is known how many Feanor made.

[ 08-18-2014, 02:36 PM: Message edited by: Snöwdog ]

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The Flammifer
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No Snowdog, same (original question): How many palantiri were there; or how many palantiri did Feanor make (same thing).

There were only seven brought to Middle-earth, as listed by Aiwrendel above. Her only error was the palantir of the Tower Hills looked only West to the Undying Lands.

In total there were eight palantiri (Feanor made eight). One, The Master Stone never left the Undying Lands and was kept in the Tower of Avallone. (The chief Stone (of the seven) was the Osgiliath Stone which could survey the other six. And yes, this Stone was occasionally also called the Master Stone, (I think).

The history of the palantiri is very interesting, that’s why I brought up another question: What happened to each of the Seven?

Cheers [] []

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Snöwdog
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*Edited to remove portrait and add quote*

quote:
Flammifer said: "In total there were eight palantiri (Feanor made eight)".
I ask: "Where exactly does it say in canon that there were only 8 made?"

[ 08-18-2014, 10:36 PM: Message edited by: Snöwdog ]

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Aiwrendel
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A silly pic the Library Council? Although I very much enjoy those in other forums, this is the library.

[]

[ 08-19-2014, 09:07 AM: Message edited by: Aiwrendel ]

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The Flammifer
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My, my Snowdog. Do you and your moose get your jollies pushing my button?
First you thought there were 7 total. Wrong.
Then when you knew there were more than 7 you guessed 8 were brought to M.E. Wrong.
Now you want more than 8 total. Not sure what will make the Snowdog happy? Pick a number my friend and be happy. I’ll stick with 8 TOTAL.

Foster’s GUIDE and Tyler’s COMPANION agree. No one (with the singular exception of Snowdog) has ever questioned the total number of palantiri. But Hey! that’s not bad – it’s always good to question authority (not that I’m an authority).

Seven Stars and Seven Stones, and One White Tree.

If there were more than 7 in M.E. Gandalf would have changed the wording of this rhyme of lore.

Cheers [] []

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Snöwdog
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Ah, so we're back to seven again. []

Yes Aiwrendel, it is the library, not the flammifer quiz show...
You're right, I'll remove his pic.

Edit: not worth a post to say I knew the Palantiri lore and enjoyed the banter. It's amazing what a look into a Palantir can show you. []

quote:
Hopefully Snowdog and I can mend fences even though there may be some controversy between us. How about it Snowdog -- ** shake **?
No broken fences or lingering controversy here []

[ 08-19-2014, 08:47 PM: Message edited by: Snöwdog ]

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The Flammifer
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quote:
Ah, so we're back to seven again.
Yes, seven in MIDDLE-EARTH as I made clear above to those who choose to understand a simple sentence. Plus the Master-stone kept in the Tower of Avallone – makes a total of EIGHT.

If you continue to pretend you don’t understand you will come in last in the “Flammifer Quiz Show”!

Cheers [] []

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Aiwrendel
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oops. I made a mistake when I did the Copy&Paste into my post above. I also wanted to mention the Library is not a place for guessing games. []

Re-reading the Library Guidelines I've found all three of us (at least) are breaking rules. The topic is about what the Palantíri are made of. We've moved to their sizes, how many, and now bickering. [] Maybe the size and number are close enough to be in this thread but maybe we are all going to banned from posting in the Library. heh, this post also doesn't belong here. []

So the Palantíri are made of an unknown substance that is much harder than the stone Orthanc is made of. Ents (and tree roots) can split solid stone but could only manage A few scorings. and small flake-like splinters on Orthanc.

The sizes of the Palantíri range from 6-8 inches to larger than 12 inches. The sizes of the smallest and largest may be unknown.

There are at least 8 stones made by the Noldor Fëanor himself, maybe, wrought them.

[ 08-19-2014, 10:32 AM: Message edited by: Aiwrendel ]

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The Flammifer
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Actually Aiwrendel most posts drift somewhat off topic. I personally think this one has remained on track quite well (in spite of the contention, from which you wisely have remained neutral.).

As for guessing games: well there is SO much supposition on this site could we not call it Q&A or games for the brain? I’m sure if we break some protocol a moderator would let us know before banning.

And your palantiri roundup is close enough for me.

Hopefully Snowdog and I can mend fences even though there may be some controversy between us. How about it Snowdog -- ** shake **?

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Gollum Gollum
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Tolkien Gateway says: "Many palantíri were made, but the number is not known.". Don't ask me where they got it from, but I think they may be right - so far, I've never found a single mistake there.
I don't think we'll ever guess what they're made of because we know nothing of ME substances. Do we know what the Silmarils were made of? Or the Orthanc walls?

I have a question about the Osgiliath Stone:
It sank in the Anduin, right? Since it's the heaviest of the Seven Stones, I assume it's too heavy to be taken by the river into the sea. It must still be where it fell. I have no idea how deep Anduin in Osgiliath might be, but we can assume something. Now tell me: why didn't the Gondorians even try to get it out of there? This was the only ME stone through which one could listen to conversations of other stones. The Gondorians would know what Sauron and Saruman talked about, for instance. Why didn't they try?

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Snöwdog
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@ [] : No broken fences or lingering controversy here []

Good question Gollum². I had that come up in a RP I was in once where an effort to dredge the Anduin in Osgiliath and downstream for this Palantir was made. Did set the mind in motion on why this wasn't attempted. Maybe it was but wasn't written about. []

An aside to the question that started this thread ("What were the Palantiri made of?") would be " How did the Palantiri work?" I suppose under the Library rules, this question needs to be asked in its own thread. []

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The Flammifer
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Could also the Ithil-stone possibly be retrieved? It is presumably buried (perhaps deep underground) under the rubble of Barad-dur.

As for how the palantiri worked Tolkien gives a fairly extensive explanation in Unfinished Tales, The Palantiri.
quote:
. . .they had permanent poles, and were originally so placed in their sites that they stood ‘upright’: their diameters from pole to pole pointed to the earth’s centre, but the permanent nether pole must then be at the bottom. … A surveyor, therefore, who wished to look west would place himself on the east side. . .the minor Stones…Orthanc, Ithil, and Anor, and probably Annuminas, had . .fixed orientation . . So it was ‘by chance’ as Men call it …that Peregrin…had the fixed east-looking face in the proper position. The major Stones…could still ‘see’ in any direction.
He then goes into what they saw and how to use them.
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Snöwdog
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Yeah, I read that a while ago (1st time in the early '80's sometime).
I just thought it would be a good question to ask in the Library, not that I didn't know.
quote:
"It is interesting to speculate about the hows & whys of their manufacture."


[ 08-21-2014, 02:05 AM: Message edited by: Snöwdog ]

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Gollum Gollum
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If there was anyone trying to retrieve the Osgiliath stone, there would be something written about it IMO.

Even after Sauron's destruction Mordor was a scary place and I don't think there was anyone crazy enough in Gondor to go to the ruins of Barad-dur and search for a corrupted-by-evil-power palantir. [] The fact that Sauron was destroyed doesn't mean the palatir is free of his influence. The palantiri sometimes seem to have a will of their own (another similarity to the One Ring!) - if they didn't, the Anor stone wouldn't so stubbornly show Denethor's burning hands...

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Snöwdog
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quote:
If there was anyone trying to retrieve the Osgiliath stone, there would be something written about it
Maybe Tolkien's particular notes on that subject wasn't used by CT, or maybe Tolkien spilled tea on those pages and they were lost forever.... []
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The Flammifer
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Good points from G2 on the Ithil-stone. [] It was probably corrupted beyond use such as the Anor-stone apparently was able to be used to some degree only by someone of great strength of will. But why would Aragorn (et al) bother as he had the usable Orthanc-stone.

Also, it’s seems likely that the Osgiliath-stone was washed out to sea after some 1600 years. (It seems reasonable that a round object would roll fairly easily in a swift-flowing river? Although it could have “hung-up” somewhere in the delta of the Bay of Belfalas?) Anyone want to go treasure hunting? []

[ 08-22-2014, 04:55 AM: Message edited by: The Flammifer ]

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