Warden is a military title in the Seven Kingdoms, carrying no connotations of suzerainty. Wardens act as supreme military leaders responsible for the defense of their region in the event of foreign invasion. This avoids any hesitation or power struggles between the high lords over command of the army.
In times of peace, this title is purely honorary. Their practical use has been rare since the Targaryen Conquest, with their most recent invocation being some four decades ago during the War of the Ninepenny Kings. Nonetheless, the title carries significant prestige and honor. Tradition holds that each title is given to the lord of a certain family, but the king retains the right to award it to another of his choosing. This typically only happens if the traditional holder dies and his heir is not yet of age, although in times of turbulence the office may be offered to those holding a monarch's favor.
The four major regional wardens are as follows:
- Warden of the East. Held by Lord Jon Arryn of the Eyrie, as per the tradition of his house.
- Warden of the North. Held by Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell, as per the tradition of his house.
- Warden of the South. Held by Lord Mace Tyrell of Highgarden, as per the tradition of his house.
- Warden of the West. Held by Lord Tywin Lannister of Casterly Rock, as per the tradition of his house.
Additionally there are also smaller-scale wardens:
- Warden of the Prince's Pass, guardian of the Prince's Pass in Dorne. Held by Lord Franklyn Fowler as per the tradition of his house.
- Warden of Stone Way, guardian of the Boneway in Dorne. Held by Lord Anders Yronwood as per the tradition of his house.
- Warden of the White Knife, guardian of the White Knife in the North. Held by Lord Wyman Manderly of White Harbor as per the tradition of his house.
A Game of Thrones
Lord Jon Arryn, the Warden of the East, dies unexpectedly. King Robert Baratheon bestows the title on Ser Jaime Lannister, which upsets the Vale of Arryn. Lady Lysa Tully refers to her son, Lord Robert Arryn, as the True Warden of the East.
A Storm of Swords
Robb Stark, King in the North and King of the Trident, creates the new title of Warden of the Southern Marches for his uncle, Ser Brynden "Blackfish" Tully, in recognition of his prominent military role in the War of the Five Kings. Robb is murdered at the Red Wedding by Lord Roose Bolton. For his service to the Lannisters, the Iron Throne grants Roose the title of Warden of the North.
Lord Tywin Lannister restore the title of Warden of the East to Robert Arryn in order to regain the allegiance of House Arryn to the Iron Throne. Tywin, the Warden of the West, is slain by his son and lawful heir, Tyrion Lannister.
A Feast for Crows
|“||Wardens are supposed to defend their regions against invaders. In theory, at least, they are each the supreme general for their region and therefore preventing any disunity of command.||”|