The house of Kings descended from Anárion, the younger son of High King Elendil. With his elder brother Isildur, Anárion had held the joint rule of the South-kingdom of Gondor under their father, with Isildur as the natural heir. In the War of the Last Alliance, Anárion was killed in the Siege of Barad-dûr, and Isildur - by then High King in his own right - was ambushed and slain as he returned northward from the War. The overlordship of the Two Kingdoms should then have fallen to Isildur's son Valandil, then still a child, but in Gondor Anárion's son Meneldil took on the sole Kingship of the South-kingdom, which he passed to his heirs. Hence the Royal House of Gondor was descended from the Line of Anárion, while the Heirs of Isildur survived independently in the North-kingdom.
The direct line from Anárion survived for nine generations before the first childless King, Tarannon Falastur, but others of the line were found to continue the Kingship. The line persisted until the loss of Eärnur, thirty-first in descent from Anárion, nearly a thousand years before the War of the Ring.
For a genealogical chart and detailed list showing Anárion and his line, see the entry for King of Gondor.
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