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Palantir

Information about Palantir

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A wielder of great power such as Sauron could dominate a weaker user through the stone, which was the experience of Pippin Took and Saruman. Even one as powerful as Sauron could not make the palantíri "lie", or create false images; the most he could do was to selectively display truthful images to create a false impression in the viewer's mind. In The Lord of the Rings, four such uses of the stones are described, and in each case, a true image is shown, but the viewer draws a false conclusion from the facts. This applies to Sauron when he sees Pippin in Saruman's stone and assumes that Pippin has the One Ring, and that Saruman has therefore captured it. [T 4] Denethor, too, is deceived through his use of a palantír, this time by Sauron, who drives Denethor to suicide by truthfully showing him the Black Fleet approaching Gondor, without telling him that the ships are manned by Aragorn's men, coming to Gondor's rescue. Shippey suggests that this consistent pattern is Tolkien's way of telling the reader that one should not "speculate" – the word meaning both to try to double-guess the future, and to look into a mirror (Latin: speculum 'glass or mirror') or crystal ball – but should trust in providence and make one's own mind up, bravely facing one's duty in each situation.