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"They are not all accounted for, the lost seeing stones. We do not know who else may be watching." —Gandalf (The Fellowship of the Ring)

After the Third Age and the final fall of Sauron, were the Palantíri (orbs or seeing stones) ever accounted for? Where were they located, and in whose possession?

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There were seven in total. Three were definitely accounted for during the Lord of the Rings:

  • The palantir of Isengard, held by Saruman until Wormtongue lobbed it at Gandalf. Ended up held by Aragorn.
  • The palantir of Minas Ithil, held by Sauron after the capture of Minas Ithil and its corruption into Minas Morgul.
  • The palantir of Minas Tirith, held by Denethor.

Of the remaining four:

  • The palantir of Elostirion was believed lost by many, but was revealed as being kept in the Tower Hills west of the Shire and was taken from Middle Earth on the ship that carried the Ringbearers to the West.

The only Stone left in the North was the one in the Tower on Emyn Beraid that looks towards the Gulf of Lune. That was guarded by the Elves, and though we never knew it, it remained there, until Círdan put it aboard Elrond's ship when he left. (Appendix A, Lord of the Rings)

  • The palantirs of Amon Sûl and Annúminas were lost with Arvedui when his ship was wrecked in the ice of Fornost

1975 Arvedui drowned in the Bay of Forochel. The palantíri of Annúminas and Amon Sûl are lost. (Appendix A, Lord of the Rings).

  • The palantir of Osgiliath was believed lost into the River Anduin during the Kin-Strife.

1437 Burning of Osgiliath and loss of the palantír. (Appendix A, Lord of the Rings).

During the Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf would have only known of the palantir of Elostirion (probably) and maybe suspected that Saruman held the palantir of Orthanc, though he did not recognize the palantir for what it was immediately:

"I did not at once guess the nature of the Stone."

And in the Palantiri essay in Unfinished Tales, Tolkien touches on the uncertainty as to who might hold one, i.e. Sauron, explicitly:

The first was ignorance of what had happened to the Ithil-stone: it was reasonably assumed that it was destroyed by the defenders before Minas Ithil was captured and sacked; but it was clearly possible that it bad been seized and had come into the possession of Sauron, and some of the wiser and more farseeing may have considered this.

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    One should note that these are the seven known palatiri in Middle-Earth. There was also a Master Stone kept in Tol Eressëa. – Plutor Jul 30 '12 at 11:55
  • In the conversation that Sam overhears between Shagrat and Gorbag, it's mentioned that messages pass between Minas Morgul and Barad Dûr faster than anything could fly, which lead me to believe that both places held a palantír. – TRiG Dec 16 '12 at 6:01
  • I've often thought that in later ages the lost stones might have been found. The Osgiliath stone fell into the river close to if not directly under the city, and the two stones lost when Arvedui was shipwrecked might be very near to the coast of Forochel. Wave action in the bay could have brought the wreck to a point where the stones might have be salvagable. The Osgiliath-stone may have been buried under rubble and therefore may still be close at hand. – maguirenumber6 May 13 '15 at 16:01
  • The Osgiliath stone was larger than the others and took several men to move under ideal circumstances. Getting it out of the river would not have been an easy task, and that was assuming they could find it. – suchiuomizu Sep 30 '18 at 5:34
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Well, we know from the books that Saruman possessed one until it was thrown from Orthanc. Denethor had one in Minas Tirith and Sauron possessed one until the Black Tower fell. The others would probably have been destroyed or sent to the Undying Lands at some point leaving just two stones.

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There were 8 palantiri, 1 in Tol Eressea, and seven in Middle Earth.

Concerning the seven, (Gondor) the Osgiliath stone fell into the Anduin river during the Kin strife and as of its size, being able to be lifted only by several men, would stay in the exact location where it fell in making it possible to retrieve it.

The Ithil stone was taken by the Ring Wraiths during the capture of Minas Ithil and eventually given to Sauron. When Barad-dur fell, it would have been buried under the rubble of the tower, not crushed as many think, as the only thing that could possibly destroy it was the fires of Mount Doom which are kilometers away, making it possible to retrieve it and use it.

The stone of Minas Anor(Tirith) never left its position and is still there. But it is extremely difficult to use due to the steward Denethor burning himself with it on his pyre. People of great will and power can only use it as anybody else will just see Denethor's burning hands.

The stone of Orthanc is still in perfect condition and is currently in the hands of King Elessar(Aragorn). (Arnor)

The palantiri of Anuminnas(kept at Lake Evindim), and Amon Sul,(kept where the name implies, also known as Weathertop) are lost in the bay of Forochel with the wreck of king Arveudi(last king of Arnor). These stones are not capable by any technology in Middle Earth to obtain them from the sea.

Now the the last one is special because it can only look west to the sea and the undying lands. The palantir of Elostirion was kept in the tower of Emyn Beraid in Ered Luin hidden there by the elves until it was taken across the sea with many noticeable characters including Bilbo, Frodo, Gandalf, Galadriel, and Elrond with many more to the undying lands.

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    First, please use line breaks. Second, what does this add that the accepted answer doesn't already cover? – amflare Apr 23 '18 at 20:30
  • It is mostly repeat information, but to be fair, the accepted answer doesn't mention the stone in Tol Eressea. – suchiuomizu Apr 24 '18 at 2:46

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