He had not intended to try the stone the first time he went alone to the tower room. He had studied its lore and was a cautious man. His father had taken him there just once, the merest gesture toward the traditions of the Stewards, but Denethor had expected no more. Though a great warrior, Ecthelion was not as far seeing as his heir, nor as desperate.
But by some chance, or mischance as it later seemed to him in moments of searing clarity, the stone awakened in that hour, and in his desperation and his pride, he answered it.