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Othram (the outermost wall of Minas Tirith), Orthanc, the Black Stone of Erech, the Palantíri, and Gurthang are all black/obsidian in color, nigh indestructible and/or only able to be shaped by forgotten arts, and were all used (some damn effectively) to battle or resist the forces of Morgoth.

The material of the first two is not seen to have been a naturally occurring rock quarried from Mindolluin or Methedras (respectively), and are encountered nowhere in any of the many delvings made through the Misty/White Mountains. The next two are specifically stated to be of (foreign) Númenórean importation, and the last was created from an (otherworldly) meteorite.

Is the resilience of this black rock against servants of the Enemy due to the fact that it is not originally of Arda Marred and therefore not part of Morgoth's Ring?

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  • 1
    Related: Why is Orthanc so indestructible?
    – Möoz
    May 23, 2017 at 7:13
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    They aren't resilient to the Enemy specifically; they are resilient against force, period. They're just tough materials.
    – chepner
    May 23, 2017 at 13:14

1 Answer 1

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These objects are not made of the same material.


The walls of Minas Tirith are only stated to be similar to Orthanc:

For the main wall of the City was of great height and marvellous thickness, built ere the power and craft of Númenor waned in exile; and its outward face was like to the Tower of Orthanc, hard and dark and smooth, unconquerable by steel or fire, unbreakable except by some convulsion that would rend the very earth on which it stood.

(Return of the King, "Siege of Gondor", my emphasis.)


The Palantíri did not come from Númenor; they were made in the First Age by the Noldor in Valinor:

The palantíri came from beyond Westernesse from Eldamar. The Noldor made them. Fëanor himself, maybe, wrought them, in days so long ago that the time cannot be measured in years.

(Two Towers, "The Palantir")


Gurthang was only noted to have been blackened after the death of Beleg; before that (when it was named Anglachel) there is no evidence that it was black (despite what the wikis might say):

And Gwindor gave the sword Anglachel into his hands, and Túrin knew that it was heavy and strong and had great power; but its blade was black and dull and its edges blunt.

(The Silmarillion, "Of Túrin Turambar")

Furthermore, Anglachel cannot be said to have any particular efficacy against the enemy on account of having come from Arda Unmarred (if that is indeed the case, since Arda represents the Solar system, not the Earth); it is in fact particularly noted by Melian to be anything but "unmarred":

There is malice in this sword. The dark heart of the smith still dwells in it.

(The Silmarillion, "Of Túrin Turambar')


There are therefore no inferences to be drawn from the material that these objects are made of, and you're reading connections into this that just aren't there in the source texts.

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    Do you have another account of the same name somewhere? If so, you can merge your accounts.
    – Adamant
    May 23, 2017 at 7:56
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    Also, I think the book strongly suggests that the material of Orthanc and the outermost wall of Gondor is the same, even if it does not say it outright. Certainly one shouldn’t state definitely that they are not the same substance.
    – Adamant
    May 23, 2017 at 7:57
  • Ah, yes: here, for example. Information on how to merge accounts can be found here.
    – Adamant
    May 23, 2017 at 10:03
  • And here one of your better accounts. :D
    – Adamant
    May 23, 2017 at 17:16
  • @Adamant He didn't register, posts as a guest all the time
    – Mithoron
    May 23, 2017 at 17:56

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