HASA Resources

Things of Middle-earth

Stewards of Gondor

Type: Offices & Ranks

Other Names:
Arandur 'king's servant'
House of Húrin
House of the Stewards
Stewards of the House of Anárion
Hurinionath (HoME 12 only)

Description:

The Stewards were representatives of, and counsellors to, the reigning Kings of Gondor, except during the time of the Ruling Stewards, when they reigned over Gondor themselves, nominally until the return of a king to the throne:

Table of Contents:
Description
History
— Summary
— Early Stewards to the Kings
— Ruling Stewards
— Later Stewards to the Kings
Notes

Description
In one of his letters, Tolkien describes the role of a Steward of Gondor as it relates to the role of the reigning King:
Family tree of the Stewards of Gondor.
Family Tree of the Ruling Stewards of Gondor.
A Númenórean King was monarch, with the power of unquestioned decision in debate; but he governed the realm with the frame of ancient law, of which he was administrator (and interpreter) but not the maker. In all debatable matters of importance domestic, or external, however, even Denethor had a Council, and at least listened to what the Lords of the Fiefs and the Captains of the Forces had to say. Aragorn re-established the Great Council of Gondor, and in that Faramir, who remained by inheritance the Steward (or representative of the King during his absence abroad, or sickness, or between his death and the accession of his heir) would [be] the chief counsellor.

The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, Edited by Humphrey Carpenter, Letter 244 to a reader of The Lord of the Rings, circa 1963

In Gondor latterly... the office of Steward rose in importance 1 and became hereditary, providing as it were a permanent "understudy" to the King, and an immediate viceroy at need....

Unfinished Tales, Part 4, Ch 3, The Palantíri

The House of the Stewards was called the House of Húrin, for they were descendants of the Steward of King Minardil (1621-34), Húrin of Emyn Arnen, a man of high Númenórean race. After his day the kings had always chosen their stewards from among his descendants; and after the days of Pelendur the Stewardship became hereditary 2 as a kingship, from father to son or nearest kin.

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion: The Stewards

[Though] the Hurinionath were not in the direct line of descent from Elendil, they were ultimately of royal origin, and had in any case kept their blood more pure than most other families in the later ages.

The Peoples of Middle-Earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 1, Ch 7, The Heirs of Elendil: The Ruling Stewards of Gondor

[The] command and use of the Stones seems mainly to have been in the hands of the Stewards, and the traditions concerning their nature and use to have been guarded 3 and transmitted in their House.

Unfinished Tales, Part 4, Ch 3, The Palantíri

All the time of the Stewards was one of slow dwindling and waning both of the power and numbers of the Men of Gondor, and of the lore and skill of Númenor among them. Also the lifespan of those even of the purer blood steadily decreased. They were never free from war or the threat of war with the evil that dwelt in Minas Morgul and watched them. They counted it glory and success to hold that threat at bay.

The Peoples of Middle-Earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 1, Ch 7, The Heirs of Elendil: The Ruling Stewards of Gondor


History

History: Summary
Stewards of Gondor.
The House of Húrin: Pelendur 1998. He ruled for a year after the fall of Ondoher, and advised Gondor to reject Arvedui's claim to the crown.

Vorondil the Hunter 2029. Mardil Voronwë 'the Steadfast', the first of the Ruling Stewards. His successors ceased to use High-elven names.

Ruling Stewards.
Mardil 2080, Eradan 2116, Herion 2148, Belegorn 2204, Húrin I 2244, Túrin I 2278, Hador 2395, Barahir 2412, Dior 2435, Denethor I 2477, Boromir 2489, Cirion 2567. In his time the Rohirrim came to Calenardhon.

Hallas 2605, Húrin II 2628, Belecthor I 2655, Orodreth 2685, Ecthelion I 2698, Egalmoth 2743, Beren 2763, Beregond 2811, Belecthor II 2872, Thorondir 2882, Túrin II 2914, Turgon 2953, Ecthelion II 2984, Denethor II. He was the last of the Ruling Stewards, and was followed by his second son Faramir, Lord of Emyn Arnen, Steward to King Elessar, F.A. 82.

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: The Realms in Exile

History: Early Stewards to the Kings
It was ... Rómendacil I [492-541] who established the office of Steward (Arandur "king's servant"), but he was chosen by the King as a man of high trust and wisdom, usually advanced in years since he was not permitted to go to war or to leave the realm. He was never a member of the Royal House. [Author's note.]

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: Notes, Note 53

They were descended, father to son, from Húrin, Steward to King Minardil, who had laboured greatly for the ordering of the realm in the disastrous days of the plague, when King Telemnar died within two years of the slaying of King Minardil by the Corsairs.

The Peoples of Middle-Earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 1, Ch 7, The Heirs of Elendil: The Ruling Stewards of Gondor


[The Annals do not record the names of the earliest Stewards to the Kings of Gondor.]

1621 Húrin of Emyn Arnen becomes Steward to Kings Minardil, Telemnar, and Tarondor
1634 Minardil, King of Gondor, slain by Corsairs in Pelargir
1636-1637 The Great Plague
1636 Telemnar, King of Gondor, and his children die of plague
1640 Húrin of Emyn Arnen founds the House of the Stewards

[The Annals do not record the names of the successive Stewards to the Kings.]

1851-1944 Wars with the Wainriders

1936 Pelendur becomes Steward to King Ondoher
1944 Ondoher, King of Gondor, slain in the Battle against the Wainriders at the Morannon
1944 Ondoher's heirs slain in battle
1944 Pelendur becomes interim Steward of Gondor
1944 Arvedui's claim to the Crown of Gondor is rejected

1945 Eärnil II becomes King of Gondor
1945 Pelendur becomes Steward to King Eärnil II
1998 Pelendur, Steward to King Eärnil II, dies
1998 Stewardship becomes hereditary in Gondor

1998 Vorondil the Hunter becomes Steward to King Eärnil II
2029 Vorondil, Steward to King Eärnil II, dies

2029 Mardil Voronwë becomes Steward to Kings Eärnil II and Eärnur

2050 Eärnur, King of Gondor, presumed slain by the Witch-king
2050 Line of Kings of Gondor ends with Eärnur

History: Ruling Stewards
Mardil was the first of the Ruling Stewards of Gondor. He was the Steward to Eärnur the last King, who disappeared in Minas Morgul in the year 2050.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: Notes, Note 54

It was believed in Gondor that the faithless enemy had trapped the king, and that he had died in torment in Minas Morgul; but since there were no witnesses of his death, Mardil the Good Steward ruled Gondor in his name for many years.

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion

Each new [Ruling] Steward indeed took office with the oath 'to hold rod and rule in the name of the king, until he shall return.' But these soon became words of ritual little heeded, for the Stewards exercised all the power of the kings. Yet many in Gondor still believed that a king would indeed return in some time to come; and some remembered the ancient line of the North, which it was rumoured still lived on in the shadows. But against such thoughts the Ruling Stewards hardened their hearts.

Nonetheless the Stewards never sat on the ancient throne; and they wore no crown, and held no sceptre. They bore a white rod only as the token of their office; and their banner was white without charge; but the royal banner had been sable, upon which was displayed a white tree in blossom beneath seven stars.

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion: The Stewards

After Mardil Voronwë, who was reckoned the first of the line there followed twenty-four Ruling Stewards of Gondor, until the time of Denethor II, the twenty-sixth and last. At first they had quiet, for those were the days of the Watchful Peace, during which Sauron withdrew before the power of the White Council and the Ringwraiths remained hidden in Morgul Vale. But from the time of Denethor I, there was never full peace again, and even when Gondor had no great or open war its borders were under constant threat.

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion: The Stewards

The Stewards belonged to a family of the ancient Elf-friends who used (beside the Common Speech) the Noldorin tongue [Sindarin] after the fashion of Gondor. 4 Their official names (after Mardil) were in that tongue and drawn mostly from the ancient legends of the Noldor and their dealings with the Edain.

The Peoples of Middle-Earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 1, Ch 7, The Heirs of Elendil: The Ruling Stewards of Gondor


2050 Rule of the Stewards of Gondor begins
2050 Mardil Voronwë becomes Steward of Gondor
2080 Mardil Voronwë, Steward of Gondor, dies

2080 Eradan becomes Steward of Gondor
2116 Eradan, Steward of Gondor, dies

2116 Herion becomes Steward of Gondor
2148 Herion, Steward of Gondor, dies

2148 Belegorn becomes Steward of Gondor
2204 Belegorn, Steward of Gondor, dies

2204 Húrin I becomes Steward of Gondor
2244 Húrin I, Steward of Gondor, dies

2244 Túrin I becomes Steward of Gondor
2278 Túrin I, Steward of Gondor, dies

2278 Hador becomes Steward of Gondor
2395 Hador, Steward of Gondor, dies

2395 Barahir becomes Steward of Gondor
2412 Barahir, Steward of Gondor, dies

2412 Dior becomes Steward of Gondor
2435 Dior, Steward of Gondor, dies

2435 Denethor I becomes Steward of Gondor
2477 Denethor I, Steward of Gondor, dies

2477 Boromir becomes Steward of Gondor
2489 Boromir, Steward of Gondor, dies

2489 Cirion becomes Steward of Gondor

2510 Invasion of Calenardhon by Balchoth and Orcs
2510 Cirion defends Calenardhon
2510 Ride of Eorl to the Battle of the Field of Celebrant
2510 Oath of Cirion and Oath of Eorl
2510 Cirion gifts Calenardhon to the Éothéod
2510 Eorl leads the Éothéod to Calenardhon

2567 Cirion, Steward of Gondor, dies

2567 Hallas becomes Steward of Gondor
2605 Hallas, Steward of Gondor, dies

2605 Húrin II becomes Steward of Gondor
2628 Húrin II, Steward of Gondor, dies

2628 Belecthor I becomes Steward of Gondor
2655 Belecthor I, Steward of Gondor, dies

2655 Orodreth becomes Steward of Gondor
2685 Orodreth, Steward of Gondor, dies

2685 Ecthelion I becomes Steward of Gondor
2698 Ecthelion I, Steward of Gondor, dies

2698 Egalmoth becomes Steward of Gondor
2743 Egalmoth, Steward of Gondor, dies

2743 Beren becomes Steward of Gondor
2763 Beren, Steward of Gondor, dies

2763 Beregond becomes Steward of Gondor
2811 Beregond, Steward of Gondor, dies

2811 Belecthor II becomes Steward of Gondor
2872 Belecthor II, Steward of Gondor, dies

2872 Thorondir becomes Steward of Gondor
2882 Thorondir, Steward of Gondor, dies

2882 Túrin II becomes Steward of Gondor
2914 Túrin II, Steward of Gondor, dies

2914 Turgon becomes Steward of Gondor
2953 Turgon, Steward of Gondor, dies

2953 Ecthelion II becomes Steward of Gondor
2984 Ecthelion II, Steward of Gondor, dies

2984 Denethor II becomes Steward of Gondor
3018-3019 War of the Ring

3019 Boromir, Denethor II's heir, slain in the Orc-raid at Parth Galen
3019 Denethor II dies of suicide in the Siege of Minas Tirith

3019 Faramir becomes Steward of Gondor and Lord of Emyn Arnen
3019 Faramir assumes his authority as Steward of Gondor
3019 Rule of the Stewards of Gondor ends with Faramir

History: Later Stewards to the Kings
And after the War the days of the Ruling Stewards came to an end; for the heir of Isildur and Anárion returned and the kingship was renewed, and the standard of the White Tree flew once more from the Tower of Ecthelion.

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion: The Stewards


3019 Aragorn II becomes King Elessar Telcontar of Arnor and Gondor
3019 Line of Kings of Gondor renewed with Elessar Telcontar

3019 Faramir becomes Steward to King Elessar
3019 Faramir becomes Prince of Ithilien
IV 82 Faramir, Prince of Ithilien, dies

IV 82 Elboron becomes Prince of Ithilien and Steward to King Elessar


Notes
1[Húrin of Emyn Arnen], Steward to King Minardil,... laboured greatly for the ordering of the realm in the disastrous days of the plague, when King Telemnar died within two years of the slaying of King Minardil by the Corsairs.

The Peoples of Middle-Earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 1, Ch 7, The Heirs of Elendil: The Ruling Stewards of Gondor

2[It] became hereditary, though if a Steward left no son, the office might pass in the female line, that is to his sister-son, or to his father's sister-son.

The choice was made according to their worth among the near kin by the Council of Gondor. But the Council had no power of choice if there was a son living.

The Peoples of Middle-Earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 1, Ch 7, The Heirs of Elendil: The Ruling Stewards of Gondor

3[The] traditions regarding [the palantíri]... [were] preserved in the special archives of the Stewards, available beside the Ruling Steward only to his heir.

Unfinished Tales, Part 4, Ch 3, The Palantíri

4Since [Sindarin] had long ceased to be a 'cradle-tongue' in Gondor, but was learned in early youth (by those claiming Númenórean descent) from loremasters, and used by them as a mark of rank, it had changed very little since the Downfall of Númenor; and though the Men of Gondor altered a little some of the sounds, they could still understand the Eldar and be understood by them. In the later days, however, they saw them seldom.

The Peoples of Middle-Earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 1, Ch 7, The Heirs of Elendil: The Ruling Stewards of Gondor

Contributors:
Elena Tiriel 12May05, 23May05, 23Aug05, 17Aug07, 9Sep09, 9May11

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