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Lord is a title given to a person who controls authority. It is most commonly referred to as a title of nobility in the Seven Kingdoms. The title of lord may also be given as a courtesy[1] to small council members[2] and others in a position of power or influence, an honorific usage distinct from the grant of the rank of lordship, which is typically assumed to be accompanied by a grant of lands or a castle.[3][4][5] One may also be legally raised to the style of "lord" without also receiving lands,[6] but such a lordship is effectively an empty honor.[6][7]

In addition, speakers sometimes address or refer to those of higher rank as "my lord" or "my lord of", regardless of whether the recipient is highborn or otherwise titled or not. Smallfolk addressing hedge knights[8] or sworn shields referring to their masters[1] may employ this style, rather than using "ser". Similarly, "lordling" is a commonly used term for young men of highborn or wealthy appearance,[8][9] regardless of the status of their House or what other titles they may be known to bear.[10]

Types of Lords

  • Lord, under the feudal system of the Seven Kingdoms, is a hereditary title of nobility expressed through the bonds of vassalage which connect the owners of various strongholds. All lords have vassals, the vassals can have knights, and the feudalism chain continues down to the peasants. In Westeros there are many lords, some bigger and some smaller, some sworn to others, but still all with the same title.
  • Lord Commander, a rank used in various institutions in the Seven Kingdoms, including the Kingsguard and the Night's Watch. Indicating a position of authority and leadership, holders are referred to by the title whether or not they are of noble birth.
  • Lords by courtesy, who do not hold actual lordships. Several past Hands of the King did not possess lordly titles in their own right,[1] but were referred to as "lord" while they remained in the position.[15] The master of whisperers and other small council members are called lords because of their offices,[2] but it is uncertain whether a formal grant of lordship typically accompanies this style, or whether it was traditionally merely a courtesy.[14] This usage sometimes extends to those wishing to show courtesy to a junior member of a noble House during conversation, by addressing them with the title of Lord in conjunction with their personal name.[16] The title of lord in conjunction with the House name is properly reserved for the legal head of the House.