- "How many hundreds of years needs it to make a steward a king, if the king returns not?"
- ― Boromir
- "Few years, maybe, in other places of less royalty. In Gondor ten thousand years would not suffice."
- ― Denethor
Ruling Steward was the title used for the rulers of Gondor after the loss of its King.
Mardil Voronwë was the one who started ruling Gondor after the death of its last King Earnur. He ruled on the behalf of the King until the throne would be claimed by one of the Royal House. The office was in all respects and purposes that of the King, although out of respect the Steward never sat on the throne of the King or wore a crown; instead, they sat on a simple chair of black stone placed below it. The symbol of their office was a white rod, and when they assumed office they swore "to hold rod and rule in the name of the king, until he shall return". Their banner was simple white without a charge.
The title was hereditary, and was carried on through twenty-six generations to Denethor II, Ruling Steward at the time of the War of the Ring. His son Faramir gave up the rule of Gondor to Aragorn II, the rightful Heir of Isildur. Faramir then took up the traditional role of a Steward of Gondor as the advisor to the King.
See also: High Warden of the White Tower
 List of Ruling Stewards
|The Line of Ruling Stewards|
|1.||Mardil Voronwë||2050 – 2080||Becomes Ruling Steward after King Eärnur leaves no descendants. Beginning of the Watchful Peace.|
|2.||Eradan||2080 – 2116|
|3.||Herion||2116 – 2148|
|4.||Belegorn||2148 – 2204|
|5.||Húrin I||2204 – 2244|
|6.||Túrin I||2244 – 2278|
|7.||Hador||2278 – 2395||The last Steward of Gondor to have the lifespan of a full Dúnedain.|
|8.||Barahir||2395 – 2412|
|9.||Dior||2412 – 2435||Succeeded by his sister Rian's son.|
|10.||Denethor I||2435 – 2477||The Watchful Peace is broken. Orcs attack from Minas Morgul and people begin to abandon Ithilien.|
|11.||Boromir||2477 – 2489|
|12.||Cirion||2489 – 2567||Defeats the Balchoth with the aid of the Éothéod. As a reward he gives them the land of Calenardhon.|
|13.||Hallas||2567 – 2605|
|14.||Húrin II||2605 – 2628|
|15.||Belecthor I||2628 – 2655||The Corsairs of Umbar again become a threat to Gondor.|
|16.||Orodreth||2655 – 2685|
|17.||Ecthelion I||2685 – 2698|
|18.||Egalmoth||2698 – 2743|
|19.||Beren||2743 – 2763||During the Long Winter, Gondor is beseiged by Corsairs and Rohan by Dunlendings.|
|20.||Beregond||2763 – 2811||Defeats the Corsairs.|
|21.||Belecthor II||2811 – 2872||Death of the White Tree of Gondor.|
|22.||Thorondir||2872 – 2882|
|23.||Túrin II||2882 – 2914||Defeats an invasion of Haradrim. Orcs invade from Mordor and Ithilien is evacuated.|
|24.||Turgon||2914 – 2953||Sauron declares himself openly.|
|25.||Ecthelion II||2953 – 2984||Defeats the Corsairs with the aid of Thorongil|
|26.||Denethor II||2984 – 3019||Ruling Steward during the War of the Ring.|
|27.||Faramir||3019||Returns the rule of Gondor to King Aragorn Elessar.|