In the LOTR The Two Towers movie, Pippin takes a look at the Palantir and Aragorn grabs it for a second to save him.

Later in the extended version of the LOTR The Return of the King, Aragorn again picks it up and this time we see Sauron and a dead Arwen.

Does all this happen in the Books?

2 Answers 2


Aragorn did more than touch the stone in the book - he wrests it to his own mastery, and sees things in it which are crucial for the plot. But as with so many things, it didn't happen as shown in the movie.

When they return to Helm's Deep after the events at Isengard, Aragorn appears looking grey and has this conversation with Legolas and Gimli:

'I have looked in the Stone of Orthanc, my friends.'

'You have looked in that accursed stone of wizardry!' exclaimed Gimli with fear and astonishment in his face. 'Did you say aught to - him? Even Gandalf feared that encounter.'

'You forget to whom you speak,' said Aragorn sternly, and his eyes glinted. 'What do you fear that I should say to him? Did I not openly proclaim my title before the doors of Edoras? Nay, Gimli, I am the lawful master of the Stone, and I had both the right and the strength to use it, or so I judged. The right cannot be doubted. The strength was enough - barely.'

He goes on to describe how he hopes that revealing himself to Sauron would cause him to act more hastily and launch his attack before he is fully ready. And, one of the things that Aragorn sees in the stone is the Corsairs fleet sailing up the river, ready to attack from the south - which is the trigger for the crucial ride through the Paths of the Dead, which IIRC was missed out in the movie altogether.

  • 6
    no, they do go through the paths of the dead and attack the corsair ships, although they do it with the help of the dead all the way rather than releasing the dead before boarding the ships like what happens in the books
    – The Fallen
    Jul 6, 2012 at 15:08
  • 5
    Hmm.. I need to reread LOTR. I think the movies made me forget a lot.
    – Phil
    Jul 6, 2012 at 16:29
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    @TheFallen Also in the film the dead demand they are released and Gimli suggests that it's a bad idea; that they're useful in times like this despite being dead. In the book it's implied this didn't happen (esp because Gimli himself was terrified of them even after they were helping - as was most everyone else). Of course Aragorn was honourable and let them go after they fulfil the oath.
    – Pryftan
    Mar 19, 2018 at 23:16

In The Return of the King, Aragorn uses the Orthanc stone to challenge Sauron and distract his attention from Frodo. See here. So he certainly touches and uses the palantir, though the details are not the same as in the movies.

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