Words of Faramir
From The Two Towers
IV 4Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
An official title given to Boromir, the eldest son and heir of Steward Denethor II of Gondor. The title of 'Warden' was used generally for a position of authority in Minas Tirith,1 and so the High Warden was clearly a position of considerable importance. As the Captain-General of Gondor's forces, Boromir's position clearly held real power, but his duties as High Warden of the White Tower are not explained in any detail.
There was a long tradition among the Dúnedain, dating back to the position of King's Heir in Númenor, that a ruler's heir should hold a position of authority to help them learn the arts of statecraft, and perhaps the role of High Warden had an element of this. Indeed, it may have been convention in Gondor for the Steward's heir to be made High Warden, though we have no record of any other holders of the rank.
Etymologically, a 'warden' specifically meant a guard, and it may be that this is literally the meaning of the title (that is the 'High Warden' would be the chief guard of the Citadel of Gondor). In modern use, however, 'warden' has come to mean simply a person in authority, and this seems to have been true in Minas Tirith as well. We're also told of a Warden of the Houses of Healing and a Warden of the Keys, so the title does not seem to necessarily imply guardianship in a narrow sense.
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