FAQ / What happened to the Palantíri

There were originally seven palantíri in Middle-earth (But there were others in Aman, too)

'What did the Men of old use them for?' asked Pippin, delighted and astonished at getting answers to so many questions, and wondering how long it would last. 'To see far off, and to converse in thought with one another,' said Gandalf. 'In that way they long guarded and united the realm of Gondor. They set up Stones at MinasAnor, and at MinasIthil, 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 AmonSűl, and Elendil's Stone was on the TowerHills that look towards Mithlond in the Gulf of Lune where the grey ships lie.
The Two Towers: The Palantír

The Palantíri of Annúminas and AmonSűl were drowned when King Arvedui's ship sunk in the Ice Bay of Forochel.

'Yet the counsel of the Lossoth was good, by chance or by foresight; for the ship had not reached the open sea when a great storm of wind arose, and came with blinding snow out of the North; and it drove the ship back upon the ice and piled ice up against it. Even the mariners of Círdan were helpless, and in the night the ice crushed the hull, and the ship foundered. So perished Arvedui Last-king, and with him the palantíri were buried in the sea. It was long afterwards that news of the shipwreck of Forochel was learned from the Snowmen.'
Return of the King: Appendix A I(iii)

The Palantír of Osgiliath was lost in the waters of the Anduin when Osgiliath was destroyed during the Kin-strife.

Therefore when Eldacar succeeded his father there was war in Gondor. But Eldacar did not prove easy to thrust from his heritage. To the lineage of Gondor he added the fearless spirit of the Northmen. He was handsome and valiant, and showed no sign of ageing more swiftly than his father. When the confederates led by descendants of the kings rose against him, he opposed them to the end of his strength. At last he was besieged in Osgiliath, and held it long, until hunger and the greater forces of the rebels drove him out, leaving the city in flames. In that siege and burning the Tower of the Stone of Osgiliath was destroyed, and the palantír was lost in the waters.
Return of the King: Appendix A I(iii)

The Palantír of MinasIthil was taken by Sauron after his forces captured Minas Ithil, and was presumably destroyed in the Fall of Barad-dúr. Although the Palantíri were made of a very strong substance, and there is a slight possibility that it survived the destruction.

They were very heavy but perfectly smooth, and would suffer no damage if by accident or malice they were unseated and rolled off their tables. They were indeed unbreakable byany violence then controlled by men though some believed that great heat, such as that of Orodruin, might shatter them, and surmised that this had been the fate of the Ithil-stone in the fall of Barad-dűr.
Unfinished Tales: The Palantíri

The Palantír of the TowerHills was taken back to Aman by Elrond aboard the Ring Bearers' White Ship.

The Palantír of MinasAnor remained in Middle-earth, although it would only show two burning hands (unless someone with great strength of will could turn it to other purpose).

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. And it was said that ever after, if any man looked in that Stone, unless he had a great strength of will to turn it to other purpose, he saw only two aged hands withering in flame.
Return of the King: The Pyre of Denethor

The Palantír of Orthanc remained in Aragorn's possession after the War of the Ring.

'Only one now remains that you could use,' answered Aragorn for you would not wish to see what the Stone of Minas Tirith would show you. But the Palantír of Orthanc the King will keep, to see what is passing in his realm, and what his servants are doing. For do not forget, Peregrin Took, that you are a knight of Gondor, and I do not release you from your service. You are going now on leave, but I may recall you. And remember, dear friends of the Shire, that my realm lies also in the North, and I shall come there one day.'
Return of the King: Many Partings

Authored by TTFMember:Aulë


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