A fuller version of the title 'Steward of Gondor', which had originally belonged to the chief councillor and deputy to the true Kings of Gondor. The tradition developed that this position should become hereditary, and after the loss of Eärnur the last King, Mardil of the House of Húrin became the first Ruling Steward of Gondor. Mardil's line continued for nearly a thousand years, but each Steward claimed that his authority descended from the Crown of Gondor, and thus the title 'Steward of the King' (or occasionally 'Steward of the Great King') persisted even centuries after the line of Kings had reached its end. Though there was no foreseeable way for the royal line to be re-established, the Stewards claimed to hold power only until the King should return, and this in fact happened during the War of the Ring with the emergence of Aragorn the Heir of Isildur. At that time Faramir, heir to the line of the Stewards, did indeed give up his claim to the rule of Gondor, though he retained the position of Steward to the new King Elessar.
For a genealogical chart of the Stewards of the King, see the entry for Steward of Gondor.
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