The title of Warden is of a strictly military nature, carrying no connotations of suzerainty. The king nominates wardens for each region to 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 Wojna Dziewięciogroszowych Królów. 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 Północ Traditionally carried by Ród Starków, Lords of Winterfell. Currently held by Lord Roose Bolton after his service to the Lannister cause.
- Warden of the East Traditionally carried by Ród Arrynów, Lords of the Orle Gniazdo. Restored by Lord Hand Tywin Lannister to young Lord Robert Arryn, although for a time it was disputed between him and Ser Jaime Lannister.
- Namiestnik Zachodu Traditionally carried by Ród Lannisterów, Lords of Casterly Rock. Currently held by Ser Daven Lannister, who was granted the title rather than Ser Kevan Lannister.
- Warden of the South Traditionally carried by Ród Tyrellów, Lords of Wysogród. Currently held by Lord Hand Mace Tyrell, 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 Szlak Kości in Dorne. Held by Lord Anders Yronwood as per the tradition of his house.
- Warden of the Southern Marches, a title created by Robb Stark, the Król Północy, for his uncle Ser Brynden "Blackfish" Tully in recognition of his prominent military role in the Wojna Pięciu Królów.
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