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Palantir of Osgiliath

Odin

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The Palantir of Osgiliath is referred to as the "master-stone". What properties did it have that made it greater than the other six Palantiri in Middle-Earth. It's said to be the largest of the seven, so big that a man couldn't carry it. What could this giant Palantir do that the others couldn't?

Also, the Osgiliath-Stone was lost in the Anduin during the kin-strife. Was any attempt made to recover it? The Anduin couldn't be that deep, it was a river, not an ocean, like the ice bay of Forochel, where the Stones of Amon Sul and Annuminas were lost.
 

Starbrow

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I always thought that the Osgiliath palantir could talk to all the other stones at once. However, I don't have any textual evidence for that.
 

HalasĂ­an

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The Palantir of Osgiliath is referred to as the "master-stone".... Was any attempt made to recover it? The Anduin couldn't be that deep, it was a river, not an ocean, like the ice bay of Forochel, where the Stones of Amon Sul and Annuminas were lost.
If it had fallen into the Duwamish River in Seattle, it would not be easy to find years later with all the silt. Anyway, Having it lost in the river was likely a convenient plot to write so as not to have to explain its powers?
 

Odin

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What could this so-called "master-stone" have done that the other Palantiri could not?

Could it see further away, or something?
 

Gothmog

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What could this so-called "master-stone" have done that the other Palantiri could not?

Could it see further away, or something?
The Two Towers: Chapter 11: The PalantĂ­r

'Each PalantĂ­r replied to each, but all those in Gondor were ever open to the view of Osgiliath.
While the "lesser" PalantĂ­r could be used in a manner much like our phones allowing people to talk to each other it seems that they needed to have someone at each of them to work. In the case of the Master-Stone of Osgiliath one using this stone could look through any and all of the stones in Gondor even if there was no one there to "answer". How much could be seen of the area around the called stone is not said, nor is anything mentioned as to why the "Arnor" stones are not "ever open to the view of Osgiliath" they were of the same set and should have been under the same power.
 

Eledhwen

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The stones were perfect spheres that looked like black crystal (maybe like obsidian, but much more durable). The smallest were about a foot in diameter, but the ones at Amon Sul and Osgiliath were too big for one person to lift. They were placed originally on black marble tables with an indentation in the middle, and could be revolved by hand. The stones had poles, like the planet, which had to be aligned with the planet's core with the 'nether pole' downwards. The sides (equator etc) were the viewing faces. To look West in the Palantir, the viewer would place themselves on to the East and look 'through' the Palantir, or move to its South to look North. They were, in fact, looking through the Palantiri in the direction they wished to see - like a telescope - but seeing much farther and without the aid of optics (the stones were black). The view passed straight through any space that was without light (eg: inside a mountain or a dark room), so could not provide detail of such places to the viewer, only the outside where light fell. The minor stones of Orthanc, Ithil and Anor (and maybe Annuminas too) could only be viewed in one direction, the others being blank. If a minor Palantir was removed from its mount, it was very difficult to set it up correctly again. This means that Peregrin Took was very unlucky (or was it fortuitous) to happen to set up the Palantir of Orthanc up in just the right way when he gazed into it. The stones had many more properties; and these can be studied in the chapter on Palantiri in the book Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-earth.
 

jallan

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The chapter by Tolkien on ”The Palantírti” is somewhat inconsistent with itself. For example, Tolkien lays great emphasis on the polarization and orientation of the palantíri but in note 17 Christopher Tolkien states, ‘A later, detached note denies that the palantíri were polarized or oriented, but gives no further detail.”

In short, Tolkien’s writings here represent his thought on the palantíri at a particular time, or possibly at particular times, but other notes indicate different thoughts. It is unknown what he would have published on this matter if it had come to him publishing more on the palantíri.
 

Odin

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Here's a related question. There were a total of seven palantĂ­ri brought to Middle-Earth in the Second Age. Many were lost in the Third Age, but was there ever a point that all seven stones were in the same place? Aside from their creation of course, as their creator would have made them all together. If all seven stones were brought together, would something happen?
 

Alcuin

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Two palantĂ­ri could communicate with one another. If two were used this way, a third user trying to communicate with one of them would see a blank “screen”; but a user with the palantĂ­ri of Osgiliath (and maybe Amon SĂ»l) could eavesdrop on the conversation. (Extending that idea, a user with the Master Stone in AvallĂłnĂ« could eavesdrop on any stone.) A user in Osgiliath could see what the user of another stone was viewing, whether or not he was in communication with someone else.

One can infer from the text that a user in Amon SĂ»l could see what a user in AnnĂșminas (later Fornost) was seeing, though it is not stated. If that is the case, then you can see immediately why the Witch-king of Angmar was so eager to obtain the Amon SĂ»l stone. He was unquestionably under instructions to get at least one palantĂ­r from Arnor, the weaker DĂșnedain kingdom. When he failed and they were lost, Sauron immediately sent him, along with all the rest of the NazgĂ»l, to Minas Ithil to get that stone. Besides its offensive and defensive uses, Sauron needed it to search for the One Ring, just as Saruman used the Orthanc stone for the same reason; besides, Sauron’s possession of the Ithil stone pre-empted the Stewards of Gondor from using their remaining palantĂ­ri for fear of encountering the Dark Lord. (Depriving his enemies of such a useful tool was a little bonus for Sauron.)

There is a minor question: could the Osgiliath (or Amon SĂ»l) stone eavesdrop on the Elostirion (also called the “Elendil” or “Emyn Beraid”) stone? I don’t know, but I don’t think so: I think that stone was for communication with the Master Stone alone.

The palantĂ­ri were indeed made by FĂ«anor, who is elsewhere reported to have constructed devices that allowed a person to see with the eyes of the eagles of ManwĂ«, if I recall the citation correctly. (If not precise, it’s close.) Gandalf told Pippin he thought FĂ«anor made them. Whether FĂ«anor and his sons in their exile took them to Middle-earth goes unsaid, but probably so, since the Master Stone was in AvallĂłnĂ« on Tol EressĂ«a, where the Noldor returned from exile lived (still in exile, but a lessened exile) in the Second and Third Ages, instead of Eldamar, where the Noldor who had not rebelled remained.
 
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Phantom718

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I was just wondering about this question when I found this thread...

I can understand that saying it fell into the river when the Dome of Stars was attacked is a quick and convenient way to end the discussion of it, but then a post above brought about the same question I have: If it just fell out of the Dome and into the river, then why didn't anyone recover it? Unless the river is unnaturally deep there, it should've been found you'd think...

It couldn't have fallen too far away from the tower...and if it was that big in size, surely it couldn't just disappear so easily? What, nobody could see the giant glass ball sitting there just below the surface?
 
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Olorgando

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I was just wondering about this question when I found this thread...
I can understand that saying it fell into the river when the Dome of Stars was attacked is a quick and convenient way to end the discussion of it, but then a post above brought about the same question I have: If it just fell out of the Dome and into the river, then why didn't anyone recover it?
Appendix B in RoTK:
1437 Third Age (during the civil war of the Kin-strife in Gondor 1432-1447) "Burning of Osgiliath and loss of the Palantir."
You might be surprised how small something of the density of glass (and never mind material of higher density) needs to be for even the strongest weight- or power-lifter to be unable to lift it. To a major river like the Anduin, it would hardly be more that a pebble easily swept along, especially if it was, as all Palantiri were, a "perfect" sphere - and that at normal levels, never mind any floods which we may safely assume to have taken place in the well over 1500 years until the War of the Rings. Beside the possibility of the Anduin having been quite deep at Osgiliath, there are quite a few ability / occasion / willingness issues hindering any attempts to recover it in the early years / decades / centuries after its above loss. So it could quite well have been rolled into the deep part of the sea even long before the War of the Rings - and away from its original place of falling into the Anduin in 1437 TA quite a short time after this fall.
 

grendel

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The palantĂ­ri were indeed made by FĂ«anor, who is elsewhere reported to have constructed devices that allowed a person to see with the eyes of the eagles of ManwĂ«, if I recall the citation correctly. (If not precise, it’s close.) Gandalf told Pippin he thought FĂ«anor made them. Whether FĂ«anor and his sons in their exile took them to Middle-earth goes unsaid, but probably so, since the Master Stone was in AvallĂłnĂ« on Tol EressĂ«a, where the Noldor returned from exile lived (still in exile, but a lessened exile) in the Second and Third Ages, instead of Eldamar, where the Noldor who had not rebelled remained.
I thought I read somewhere that they were brought to M-E by Elendil and his sons in the wreck of Numenor... "seven stars and seven stones and one white tree".
 

Olorgando

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I thought I read somewhere that they were brought to M-E by Elendil and his sons in the wreck of Numenor... "seven stars and seven stones and one white tree".
I find I'm getting lazy as my ability to link stuff has increased. So though perhaps only the first two or three lines of my post in this other thread bear on your question, I'll post a link to the entire post.

 

Squint-eyed Southerner

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Replying to a question from several years ago, it seems likely to me that the stones would have been distributed among the ships prepared by Elendil, allowing for communication among them, and to try to ensure that some, at least, would survive the voyage. As far as we know, they were never together in Middle Earth -- what would be the point?

So the only place they might have been together would have to have been in Numenor, possibly hidden in a vault from the King's Men. I'd doubt even this, though, as they would be very useful for clandestine communication among the Faithful.
 

Olorgando

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So the only place they might have been together would have to have been in Numenor, possibly hidden in a vault from the King's Men. I'd doubt even this, though, as they would be very useful for clandestine communication among the Faithful.
As per the Silmarillion, section "Of The Rings of Power and the Third Age", the Palantiri are stated to have been a gift of the Eldar to Elendil's father Amandil in NĂșmenor, for the comfort of the Faithful. Whatever "comfort" may mean. But without a doubt this was so late in NĂșmenĂłrean history that the giving of this gift would have had to take place in the utmost secrecy. The Faithful, having formerly had their main center at AndĂșniĂ« in the west of NĂșmenor, were commanded by Ar-GimilzĂŽr, twenty-third king of NĂșmenor, to remove to the east of the island, where they made their main dwelling close to the harbor of RĂłmenna. After Ar-GimilzĂŽr, Tar-Palantir (!) took the sceptre, and should have bee succeeded by his daughter (Tar-) MĂ­riel, but the son of his younger brother (GimilkhĂąd), PharazĂŽn (shades of "Pharao"?) forced MĂ­riel illegally to become his wife, and the seized the sceptre from her. So perhaps the Palantiri had at one time been been together near RĂłmenna. Except for the smaller ones (the Orthanc one was small enough for a single Hobbit to pilfer it away from Gandalf!), distributing them among others of the Faithful across the island would have been difficult - assuming there were any centers of the Faithful far from the area of RĂłmenna after Ar-GimilzĂŽr's day, who tried to find all of them in his day and relocate them to the east of the island. So I would think that their uses for long-distance communications may only have started after the downfall of NĂșmenor, in the days of the Last Alliance.
 

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