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Story meme

 November, 11 2005

Future histories


Here is a meme that did the rounds on LJ recently; not only was it fun, it was a source of ideas:

Ask me what happens after the end of one of my stories.

There's a section in UT about the palantíri, but I find it a bit hard to follow, and I'm not sure Tolkien had worked out entirely in his mind how they'd worked. Definitely people could see things that neither they nor others knew about. I think of them as soundless TV monitors (the word palantír means "far-seer" after all), and that Sauron's influence is, in Denethor's case, like interference with the picture and, in Saruman's case, like watching propaganda.

Tolkien is quite explicit that Denethor had an inherited right to use the palantír as the Steward. Also that in legitimate hands, and with sufficient skill, someone could see people as clearly as being able to make out details as small as a ring on the finger. But I think it's also implied that Denethor had not been trained to use the palantír (that kind of knowledge had been lost as Gondor waned), and that the strain of holding off Sauron's influence would have affected the quality of the information he was able to get from it.

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