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Old 11-30-2000, 10:57 AM   #8
Mister Underhill
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/eyepal.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: The Palantír

Great points, Mithadan! However, I'm still inclined to disagree about the palantíri being so naturally lust-inspiring. If you take a little bit more of the quote you mentioned:
<blockquote>Quote:<hr> ‘How long, I wonder, has he [Saruman] been constrained to come often to his glass for inspection and instruction, and the Orthanc-stone so bent towards Barad-dûr that, if any save a will of adamant now looks into it, it will bear his mind and sight swiftly thither? And how it draws one to itself! Have I not felt it? Even now my heart desires to test my will upon it, to see if I could not wrench it from him and turn it where I would – to look across the wide seas of water and of time to Tirion the Fair, and perceive the unimaginable hand and mind of Fëanor at their work, while both the White Tree and Golden were in flower!’<hr></blockquote>
...it seems that this ability of the Stone to 'constrain' someone to peer into it is a newfound one. Another one from UT:
<blockquote>Quote:<hr> ...Sauron came to have control of them [the Stones], so that they were perilous for anyone, however exalted, to use.<hr></blockquote>
You have a good point about Gandalf's stated motivation -- but I might say that this is characteristic of a Sauron-like compulsion. For instance, folks like Gandalf were always tempted to use the Ring for &quot;good&quot; purposes. Saruman apparently began to fear that others of the White Council had their own designs for power and thought that no one could wield the Ring to better &quot;good&quot; than himself. However twisted his justification may have been, we see that the temptation always provides a rationalization. And anyway, there does seem to be a bit of pridefulness there in Gandalf, a desire to test his will against Sauron's to see if he could wrench the Stone away from him.

A few other points: Gandalf did not hesitate to leave the Stone in Aragorn's keeping, nor does he seem alarmed when he theorizes that Aragorn may have used the Stone to reveal himself to Sauron in order to provoke him to speed up his timetable. The essay on the palantíri in UT gives no indication that they inspired an overmastering lust in anyone, and indeed, it was common practice for the Kings and Stewards of Gondor to delegate the actual use of the Stones to wardens and ministers, who would then report back on what they had seen or learned. All this, coupled with the quotes I mentioned earlier, lead me to conclude that this power of the Orthanc-stone was new and Sauron-inspired.

But -- hold the phone on the red glow. In The Pyre of Denethor, this happens:
<blockquote>Quote:<hr> Then coming to the doorway he drew aside the covering, and lo! He had between his hands a palantír. And as he held it up, it seemed to those that looked on that the globe began to glow with an inner flame, so that the lean face of the Lord was lit as with a red fire, and it seemed cut out of hard stone, sharp with black shadows, noble, proud, and terrible.<hr></blockquote>
It's that red glow again! And UT at least suggests that Sauron never gained control of Denethor's Stone.
<blockquote>Quote:<hr> Denethor remained steadfast in his rejection of Sauron, but was made to believe that his victory was inevitable, and so fell into despair... Denethor was a man of great strength of will, and maintained the integrity of his personality until the final blow of the (apparently) mortal wound of his only surviving son... Sauron failed to dominate him and could only influence him by deceits.<hr></blockquote>
If Denethor kept his Stone from Sauron's hands, then maybe the red glow is a natural characteristic of a Stone that's &quot;warming up&quot;.

The essay on the palantíri is fairly authoritative. See the Introduction to UT, where CT notes that JRRT made substantial revisions to &quot;The Palantír&quot; and to &quot;The Pyre of Denethor&quot; for a second edition of LotR and that the essay &quot;is derived from writings on the palantíri associated with this revision.&quot;

</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_profile&u=00000005>Mister Underhill</A> at: 11/30/00 12:01:08 pm
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