- This article is about the magical artifact. For the application, see Palantir.
The Palantíri allows communication with similar stones by peering into it. Its gaze may pierce anything, but shadow. There are different types of Palantíri, such as: the four minor stones, of Minas Anor, Minas Ithil, Amon Sùl, and the Tower Hills; The two major stones, of Isengard, and Annumínas, and, not mentioned here, and the master stone at Osgiliath. The minor stones only faced one direction, and that was all you could see through them. The major stones had the power to converse with the other stones, and the master stone could see all other stones without being known as well as conversing, and looking in all diretions as the major stones do.
The Palantíri were made by Fëanor in the Uttermost West in the First Age. The Elves brought them to the Faithful Men of Númenór, a gesture of their undying friendship as the Shadow of Sauron fell upon the island and Elven-kind was no longer welcome. In the aftermath of the Downfall of Númenór, Elendil distributed the Seeing-stones to severn different locations upon the formation of the Realms in Exile. Three he kept in Arnor and three were in the possession of his heirs in Gondor. The Palantíri were used primarily for communication, but also to try discern the plots of the wielder's enemies or see events occuring within their respective realms. Their existence was never common knowledge to the Free Peoples of Middle-earth, and no one was allowed easy access to them save for kings and stewards, appointed wardens, or by royal command.By the Third Age, the Palantíri were lost one by one: the Osgiliath-stone fell into the Anduin during the Kin-strife and the Seeing-stones of Amon Súl and Annúminas were lost in the seas of Forochel in the shipwreck of King Arvedui of Arnor's vessel. One of the Palantír was held in Minas Ithil, under the protection of General Castamir, and another in Orthanc, recently occupied by the Wizard Saruman.
At the end of the Siege of Minas Ithil, the Witch-king of Angmar claimed the once proud Gondorian city and the Palantír within, peering into it to locate the New Ring. Upon conquerering Minas Morgul and banishing the Witch-king, Talion looked into the Palantír to witness the battle between Sauron and Celebrimbor and Eltariel.The Seeing-stone was later handed to the Dark Lord himself, who later used it to connect with the one in Orthanc, compelling Saruman into his service.During the War of the Ring, Saruman used the Palantír to speak with his master and spy on his enemies, a practice unknown to the White Council. The Orthanc-stone was taken by Gandalf after the Battle of the Hornburg and the Destruction of Isengard and used by Aragorn II Elessar to challenge Sauron. Steward Denethor II later revealed he had looked into the Palantír of Minas Tirith and had been daunted from afar by the apparent victory of the Dark Lord.