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Timeline Event

Aragorn takes possession of the Palantír of Orthanc

Event Type: Artifacts

Age: 3rd Age - Ring War

Date: March 5, 3019


An event in the aftermath of the Parley with Saruman in Isengard; see that entry for an overview:
... Gandalf returned to the others, who were still standing by the Orthanc-stone in troubled thought. 'Peril comes in the night when least expected,' he said. 'We have had a narrow escape!'

'How is the hobbit, Pippin?' asked Aragorn.

'I think all will be well now,' answered Gandalf. 'He was not held long, and hobbits have an amazing power of recovery. The memory, or the horror of it, will probably fade quickly. Too quickly, perhaps. Will you, Aragorn, take the Orthanc-stone and guard it? It is a dangerous charge.'

'Dangerous indeed, but not to all,' said Aragorn. 'There is one who may claim it by right.1 For this assuredly is the palantír of Orthanc from the treasury of Elendil, set here by the Kings of Gondor. Now my hour draws near. I will take it.'

Gandalf looked at Aragorn, and then, to the surprise of the others, he lifted the covered Stone, and bowed as he presented it.

'Receive it, lord!' he said: 'in earnest of other things that shall be given back. But if I may counsel you in the use of your own, do not use it — yet! Be wary!'

'When have I been hasty or unwary, who have waited and prepared for so many long years?' said Aragorn.

'Never yet. Do not then stumble at the end of the road,' answered Gandalf. 'But at the least keep this thing secret. You, and all others that stand here! The hobbit, Peregrin, above all should not know where it is bestowed. The evil fit may come on him again. For alas! he has handled it and looked in it, as should never have happened.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 11, The Palantír

'I wish we could have a Stone that we could see all our friends in,' said Pippin, 'and that we could speak to them from far away!'

'Only one now remains that you could use,' answered Aragorn.... 'But the Palantír of Orthanc the King will keep, to see what is passing in his realm, and what his servants are doing.'

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 5, Many Partings

1   These Stones were an inalienable gift to Elendil and his heirs, to whom alone they belonged by right; but this does not mean that they could only be used rightfully by one of these "heirs." They could be used lawfully by anyone authorized by either the "Heir of Anárion" or the "Heir of Isildur," that is, a lawful King of Gondor or Arnor.... In Gondor latterly, as the office of Steward rose in importance and became hereditary... the command and use of the Stones seems mainly to have been in the hands of the Stewards....

It must however be noted with regard to the narrative of The Lord of the Rings that over and above such deputed authority... any "heir of Elendil" (that is, a recognized descendant occupying a throne or lordship in the Númenórean realms by virtue of this descent) had the right to use any of the palantíri. Aragorn thus claimed the right to take the Orthanc-stone into his possession, since it was now, for the time being, without owner or warden; and also because he was de jure the rightful King of both Gondor and Arnor, and could, if he willed, for just cause withdraw all previous grants....

Unfinished Tales, Part 4, Ch 3, The Palantíri

Elena Tiriel 22May05, 21Sep05

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