Here you will find a A Game of Thrones summary (George R. R. Martin's book).
We begin with a summary of the entire book, and then you can read each individual chapter's summary by visiting the links on the "Chapters" section.
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The narrative unfolds across a year on a fictional continent, primarily around Westeros. King Robert extends an invitation to Ned Stark for becoming the King's Hand, following the mysterious death of the previous Hand, Jon Arryn. The royal entourage, including Queen Cersei Lannister, arrives at the Stark stronghold, Winterfell, where Ned's wife, Catelyn, receives a clue indicating the Lannisters' involvement in Jon Arryn's demise. Meanwhile, Ned's son Bran stumbles upon Cersei in an intimate moment with her brother Jaime, leading Jaime to push Bran off from a high window. As Bran lies in a coma, Ned and Jon, Ned's illegitimate son, head separate ways - Ned to King's Landing with King Robert and Jon to the Wall, a colossal barricade protecting Westeros from threats lurking in the northern wilderness. Across the sea, Daenerys Targaryen, of the fallen Targaryen dynasty, weds Dothraki warlord Khal Drogo and receives captivating dragon eggs as a wedding present. While Ned is headed to the capital, Joffrey, Robert and Cersei's son, picks a fight with Arya, Ned's daughter. Arya's pet direwolf, part of the Stark children's collection of large wolf pups, injures Joffrey during the scuffle. Cersei demands the direwolf's life, but since it has fled, Ned is forced to kill Sansa's (another Stark daughter) wolf instead. An assassination attempt on the comatose Bran fails just as Ned reaches King's Landing, where he discovers Catelyn has covertly arrived to probe deeper into the attempt on Bran's life and Jon Arryn's murder. On the other side of the Wall, Jon and the Night’s Watch grapple with eerie creatures and disappearing men. Eastward, Daenerys is increasingly captivated by her dragon eggs, while her brother Viserys hopes to reclaim the throne with Khal Drogo's army. Back in King’s Landing, Ned investigates Jon Arryn's death and the legitimacy of King Robert's children, while Robert plots to kill the pregnant Daenerys out of fear of a potential claim to the throne. Ned resigns as Hand, only to be reinstated after being attacked by Jaime for capturing Tyrion Lannister, suspecting his involvement in the assassination attempt on Bran. As Ned uncovers the truth about Cersei and Jaime's incestuous relationship and Joffrey's true parentage, Robert is fatally wounded during a hunt and appoints Ned as the Interim King. However, Cersei imprisons Ned for treason and Sansa Stark becomes a hostage in King’s Landing. In the ensuing battle between Tywin Lannister and the Starks, Jaime Lannister is captured. After Ned's public execution, Arya escapes from the capital. On the eastern continent, Khal Drogo succumbs to a fatal wound and Daenerys births three dragons from her wedding gift eggs in a funeral pyre.
The story kicks off with Waymar, Will, and Gared, members of the Night’s Watch, on the hunt for a few wildlings, the barbarians north of the massive wall safeguarding the Seven Kingdoms. As the lead scout, Will stumbles upon the lifeless bodies of the wildlings. Despite the recent weather being mild, he speculates that they died from freezing. A sense of uneasiness descends on Will and Gared, prompting Gared to propose lighting a fire. Yet, Waymar, with his haughty attitude, orders them to continue. When they reach the spot where Will discovered the bodies, they find it deserted. Suddenly, Waymar is besieged by spectral white creatures, the Others. During a combat with one of the creatures, Waymar loses his life. As Will descends from a tree where he had been hiding, he is strangled by Waymar who has mysteriously come back to life.
Bran witnesses the beheading of a deserter named Gared by his father, Ned Stark, the master of Winterfell. Gared ran away from the Night's Watch after his comrades Will and Waymar were killed. During this, Robb Stark comments on Gared's courage at death, but Jon Snow, Ned's illegitimate child, insists he was scared. Ned then teaches Bran that true bravery is feeling fear yet facing it. He also emphasizes the responsibility of the one who gives the death sentence to carry it out themselves. Returning to Winterfell, they stumble upon a deceased direwolf with five surviving puppies. About to be killed by Ned's men, Jon stresses that the pups match the same count and gender of Ned's legitimate offspring, implying it's destiny for the Starks to keep them. As they leave, Jon finds a sixth, albino pup which he decides to keep for himself.
Catelyn ventures into Winterfell's sacred woods, the godswood, to find Ned. She ponders the Stark family motto, "Winter Is Coming." Ned, who is busy polishing his sword, Ice, mentions that Gared had lost his mind to fear. Catelyn breaks the news about the death of Jon Arryn, the previous King's Hand, leading Ned into deep sorrow, as Jon was akin to a foster father to him and Robert. Ned brightens at the news of Robert, his childhood companion and the current king, visiting Winterfell. But Ned harbors resentment towards Robert's spouse, Cersei, and her clan, the Lannisters. During the conflict with the Targaryens, the former rulers, the Lannisters only sided with Robert when his triumph was almost assured.
On the eastern side of Westeros, over the Narrow Sea, Viserys readies his sister, Daenerys, for a banquet in the city of Pentos. This banquet is for her to encounter Drogo, the Dothraki chieftain she's being coerced into wedding by her brother. Viserys and Daenerys are the last of the Targaryen monarchy. Their escape to Pentos was due to the defeat of the Targaryen forces by Ned and Robert. Daenerys's childhood recollections are of a large home with a red door situated in the Braavosi Islands. After they left, the siblings were nomads, moving from one patron to another. For the past year, they've found shelter in the opulent house of merchant Illyrio. Daenerys yearns to return home, but the exact location of 'home' is unclear to her. Viserys insists that Westeros is their home. Viserys's plan is to marry Daenerys off to Drogo, hoping to use Drogo's formidable army to reclaim Westeros.
Robert makes his way to Winterfell and heads straight to the crypts with Ned. They honor Ned's late sister, Lyanna, who was also Robert's betrothed, taken and dishonored by Rhaegar Targaryen. This act sparked Robert's Rebellion against the crazed king, Aerys Targaryen. Robert can't forget the demise of Rhaegar at his hands on the Trident River, while Ned remembers Lyanna's death due to sickness. Reminiscing about their childhood, Robert confesses to Ned his disdain for the role of king. He requests Ned to step into the role of Hand of the King, as anticipated, but also proposes a marriage between Sansa, Ned's eleven-year-old daughter, and Joff, Robert's twelve-year-old son, catching Ned off guard. Though reluctant to accept the Hand's position, Ned seeks a little more time to mull over the offers.
During the feast for Robert, Jon discusses his desire to join the Night's Watch, the guardians of the northern Wall, with his uncle Benjen Stark. However, Benjen believes Jon is too young. Feeling humiliated, drunk, and upset about his status as a bastard in the noble Stark family, Jon storms out and encounters Tyrion, the dwarf. Jon gets upset when Tyrion calls him a bastard. Tyrion, referred to as “The Imp” all his life, advises Jon not to let titles upset him, and to use his status as a bastard as a form of protection. As Tyrion walks away, his shadow appears as tall as a king to Jon.
Following the banquet, Luwin relays a note from Lysa, Catelyn’s sibling. The note accuses the Lannisters of killing Lysa’s spouse, Jon Arryn. Despite his reluctance to become the next Hand, Ned is persuaded by Catelyn and Luwin that he must accept the role to safeguard Robert and avenge Jon Arryn’s death. Ned gives his consent, albeit hesitantly. As neither Catelyn nor the royal court in King’s Landing will welcome Jon, Ned permits him to join the Night’s Watch. Jon, fathered by Ned with another woman shortly after his marriage to Catelyn, has caused lasting resentment. Catelyn holds a grudge as Ned chose to bring Jon to Winterfell instead of leaving him with his mother; she believes Ned's honor dictated his decision to raise Jon.
Arya, Sansa, and Princess Myrcella are under Septa Mordane's tutelage, honing their sewing skills. In a heated exchange, Sansa refers to Jon as a bastard, upsetting Arya. Arya's pride is hurt when her lackluster needlework is revealed to Septa Mordane, which results in her leaving the room in a huff. She finds solace in the company of her direwolf, Nymeria, named after a historical warrior queen. Sansa's direwolf is aptly called Lady. Arya and Nymeria meet up with Jon and his direwolf, Ghost, and watch Robb and Joff spar under the supervision of Rodrik and the Hound in the courtyard. Arya would prefer to be learning the art of swordplay rather than stitching. Robb manages to outperform Joff in their practice bout, which infuriates Joff. He insists on a duel using real steel blades instead of training swords. Rodrik denies his request, leading Joff to insult Rodrik and Robb before storming off from the training yard.
Before embarking on a journey to King's Landing with his father, Bran decides to explore the Winterfell's nooks and crannies for the last time. He is an expert at climbing the castle's towers, feeding crows from the top and discovering the fortress' hidden secrets. As he ascends the First Keep, he overhears Jaime and Cersei's conversation. They are debating about Ned's intentions behind taking up the Hand's role. They suspect that Ned could pose a threat to them, and fear he or Lysa Arryn might blame them for Jon Arryn's death. Bran continues to spy on them and catches them in an intimate moment. Upon noticing Bran, Jaime shoves him out of the window.
After spending four days in Winterfell's library studying warfare and seasonal shifts, Tyrion encounters Joff and the Hound. Annoyed by the continuous howling of the direwolves, Joff gets a slap from Tyrion, who then instructs the abrasive prince to extend his sympathies to the Starks for Bran's condition. At breakfast, Tyrion reflects on Jaime's past kindness towards him, the only one who treated him with respect and camaraderie. Cersei expresses her fear of the direwolves to which Tyrion responds, sensing an unusual bond between Bran and his wolf that might be keeping the boy alive. He shares with Jaime, Cersei, Myrcella, and Tommen that Bran could recover, pondering what revelations the boy might bring upon awakening. When Jaime questions Tyrion's loyalties, he retorts with a smirk, expressing his love for his family.
As the royal entourage readies to depart Winterfell for King's Landing two weeks following Bran's accident, Jon readies himself for his journey north to the Wall. Catelyn has been a constant presence at Bran's bedside after his fall into a coma. Despite her disdain, Jon dares to bid farewell to Bran, and Catelyn bitterly wishes that it had been Jon who fell from the tower. Jon shares a farewell hug with Robb before he seeks out Arya, to whom he presents a farewell gift - a sword he had specially made for her. The sword's lightness and thinness inspire Arya to name it Needle, humorously referencing her distaste for sewing. Jon imparts his initial lesson to Arya: always attack enemies with the sharp end of the sword.
In the city of Pentos, Jorah Mormont pledges his allegiance to Viserys on Daenerys' wedding night to Drogo. Viserys anxiously awaits Drogo's return of his favor with a military force, hoping to regain the Westeros Iron Throne. Daenerys attempts to mask her fear at her own nuptials. The Dothraki's traditions of feasting, drinking, dancing, and public intimacy are in full display. Viserys gifts Daenerys three handmaids from Illyrio, while Jorah presents her with books from Westeros and Illyrio bestows upon her three old dragon eggs. Despite being petrified, the eggs hold incomparable value. Drogo's gift to his bride is a magnificent silver horse. As the newlyweds prepare to depart at dusk, Viserys warns Daenerys to satisfy Drogo. During their marital consummation, Daenerys discovers Drogo to be surprisingly tender.
As they travel to King's Landing, Robert informs Ned of Daenerys' wedding news from Jorah, a fugitive who became a spy to gain pardon. Jorah had illegally sold poachers into slavery and escaped Ned's sentencing five years ago. Robert wishes to eliminate Daenerys and Viserys in retaliation for their lineage's wrongdoings, a plan Ned opposes. Robert recalls the rape of Lyanna by Rhaegar Targaryen, the previous king's brother, and Brandon, Ned's elder brother's murder by Aerys. Robert's concern is the Targaryen offspring gathering a Dothraki force to cross the Narrow Sea when they're older. Ned, however, asserts that Dothraki wouldn't sail and the immediate danger is the Lannister's deceit, reminding Robert of their betrayal towards king Aerys Targaryen.
Traveling northwards towards the Wall, Tyrion's party merges with Yoren's group, a Night's Watch member, including two sentenced rapists opting to serve the Watch over prison time. When Jon questions Tyrion's extensive reading habits, Tyrion reveals its necessity considering his dwarfism restricts him to intellect as his sole defense. He opens up about his youthful daydreams involving his father, Tywin, and sister, Cersei's demises. Tyrion highlights the Night's Watch reality to Jon as a refuge for society's outcasts, contrary to Jon's imagined nobility. Despite initial resistance, Jon concedes to Tyrion's perspective. Tyrion praises Jon's acceptance of harsh truths, remarking, “Most men would rather deny a hard truth than face it.”
While Robb proposes to take over Winterfell's responsibilities, a fire distracts him, leaving Catelyn alone with Bran. An armed intruder enters, intent on murdering Bran. Catelyn defends her son fiercely, even clutching at the attacker's blade, until Bran's direwolf intervenes and slays the assailant. Awakening later with bandaged hands, Catelyn feels guilt over her singular focus on Bran. She pieces together several clues - Bran's climbing proficiency, Jaime's absence during Robert’s hunting trip when Bran fell, and the assassin's disproportionately costly weapon. She deduces that the Lannisters threw Bran from the tower and attempted to kill him because he discovered something he shouldn't have. This leads her and Rodrik to set off for King’s Landing to alert Ned.
While traveling to King's Landing, Arya boldly declines an offer to join the royal carriage. Her sister, Sansa, frustrated by their stark differences, is perplexed about their shared parentage. When Cersei cancels their meeting in the carriage, Sansa joins Joff for a horse ride. Being potential spouses as per Robert's suggestion, there's a spark of romance between Sansa and Joff. They visit the battlefield where Robert defeated Rhaegar Targaryen. At the site, they come across Arya and a butcher's son mock-sword fighting with sticks. Joff menacingly pulls out his real sword against the butcher's son. Arya retaliates, defending her friend. Joff deflects towards Arya, but her direwolf jumps in, biting Joff viciously. Arya tosses Joff's sword into the Trident River, and all three - the butcher's son, Arya, and her direwolf - scatter in different directions.
Joff alleges that Arya and the local butcher's apprentice assailed him without cause. Arya counters, labeling him a liar. Sansa, positioned as the third eyewitness, is torn between her crush on Joff and her obligation to honesty, resulting in her claiming forgetfulness. The king, Robert, resolves the dispute by instructing Ned to discipline Arya himself. Yet, Cersei insists on Arya's direwolf being executed. Given Arya's wolf, Nymeria, has fled, the decision falls on Sansa's wolf, Lady, to pay the price. Ned challenges Robert to carry out the unjust execution personally, but Robert silently exits the room. Consequently, Ned feels compelled to execute Lady himself. Shortly after, Ned exterminates Lady, the Hound comes by with the butcher's apprentice's corpse.
In a dream, Bran is plunging through the sky while a tri-eyed crow coaches him on flight. He observes from above Catelyn and Rodrik sailing south into an unseen storm. He spots Ned, Sansa, and Arya in King's Landing, the Free Cities over the narrow sea, and Jon at the Wall. Sansa weeps every night and she, along with Arya, are enveloped by darkness. Bran gazes beyond the Wall and sees the world's end. The crow informs him of why he must survive, warning that winter is coming. He must learn to fly or perish. Bran extends his arms, halting his descent. He wakes abruptly from his coma when the crow pecks his face. His direwolf leaps onto the bed and when Bran realizes he can't feel his legs, he names the wolf Summer.
Catelyn and Rodrik have made it to King’s Landing, laying low in an inn. Rodrik parts to unearth the owner of the dragonbone dagger used in the attempt on Bran's life. During his investigation in the Red Keep, Catelyn is called to Littlefinger’s tower by two City Watch guards. The king’s spy master, Varys, knows about her arrival and the dagger. Littlefinger, who manages the king’s finances, admits that he once owned the dagger, but lost it to Tyrion in a wager. According to him, he backed Jaime in a joust against Loras Tyrell, but Tyrion bet on Loras, who unexpectedly triumphed.
In the icy north, Jon is honing his skills with novice recruits at the Wall. Thorne, Castle Black's chief of weaponry, pits several unskilled recruits against Jon, all of whom lose. Jon faces a backlash from recruits who accuse him of showing them up during practice. Noye intervenes but reproaches Jon for being a bully due to his superior training, as the recruits are merely peasants. He suggests Jon reconcile with them. During dinner, Jon is summoned by Commander Mormont who informs him that his brother, Bran, is alive. Thrilled by the news, Jon offers training help to Grenn. Thorne, who overhears this, takes umbrage at the implication that Jon might be a better trainer.
Ned is called to attend his first council meeting as Hand of the King once he reaches King’s Landing. Key council members, like Littlefinger, Renly, Varys, and Pycelle, are present, but the king, Robert, is not. Ned learns that despite inheriting a rich treasury from Aerys Targaryen, Robert’s kingdom is now six million gold pieces in debt, half of which is owed to House Lannister. Seemingly unconcerned, Robert plans an extravagant tournament in honor of Ned's new position. Disgusted, Ned ends the meeting. Littlefinger then takes Ned to one of his brothels, where he finds Catelyn hiding. She informs him about the attempt on Bran's life. Littlefinger counsels them to disregard the event as claiming the Lannisters as guilty would be treasonous. He also suggests that Robert either was unaware of the murder attempt, or chose to overlook it. Ned sends Catelyn back to Winterfell, determined to uncover the truth behind the attacks on Bran and Jon Arryn. He trusts Robert will dispense justice.
At a meal at the Wall, Tyrion mocks Thorne. Commander Mormont suggests that Tyrion's cleverness would be valuable at the Wall. Aemon refers to Tyrion as a giant, leaving Tyrion speechless. Post-meal, Mormont discusses with Tyrion about the missing men Waymar and Benjen, and the unexpected desertion of Gared. He expresses concern over the upcoming severe winter. He requests Tyrion to urge Robert to send additional manpower to support the inadequately staffed Watch. Later, Tyrion goes to the top of the Wall, where he encounters Jon. Jon appeals to Tyrion for assistance for his disabled brother. Tyrion promises to do his best, citing his bond with his own brother. They affirm their friendship with a handshake.
Ned, having once more clashed with the council, arrives tardily at the Tower of the Hand for supper. He demands silence from the squabbling Sansa and Arya, before he abruptly leaves. Arya, too, wishes to depart but is denied by Septa Mordane. Nonetheless, she dashes off. Ned later discovers Arya in her chamber, practicing with her sword, Needle. He comforts her over the butcher's boy's death, acknowledging that he was aware of her lie about Nymeria's departure. Arya reveals that she and Jory had to drive Nymeria away with stones. Ned affirms that her lie was justified and honorable. He underscores the importance of sisterly unity, stressing that they must guard each other against threats in King's Landing. He proceeds to arrange sword-training for Arya with Syrio Forel.
Daenerys, along with Khal Drogo's khalasar, traverse the Dothraki Sea's grassy expanse towards Vaes Dothrak. She instructs the entire group to halt so she can investigate the surroundings independently. Viserys soon confronts her angrily as she had dictated to him. This is the first instance where Daenerys stands against her brother and pushes him away. A Dothraki horseman brings Viserys under control using a whip, leading Daenerys to view her brother as pitiful. Viserys looks to his loyal knight, Jorah, to hurt Daenerys but Jorah stands by her instead. Daenerys subsequently questions Jorah about whether the ordinary folks in Westeros yearn for Viserys's comeback. Jorah reveals to her that the general public is indifferent “if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace.” In response to her query about his personal desires, he admits he yearns for home as does she. Later on, it becomes apparent to Khal Drogo that Daenerys is with child.
Bran, confined to his bed, listens to Old Nan's tale of an ancient, unstoppable winter where the Others invaded Westeros. His tale is cut short as Luwin intrudes, and Hodor takes Bran downstairs. Here, he encounters Robb facing Tyrion with a drawn sword. Despite Robb and the direwolves' animosity, Tyrion gives Bran a special saddle design for him to ride again despite his disability. During supper, Yoren informs Robb of Benjen's mysterious disappearance. Robb rejects the news, while Bran expresses hope that the mythical children of the forest will come to Benjen's rescue. Luwin, however, informs Bran that these children vanished millennia ago. Yoren adds that the reality beyond the Wall is uncertain to everyone.
Ned probes Pycelle regarding the mysterious demise of Jon Arryn. He discovers that Jon had been engrossed in a lineage book of noble houses before his death and his final utterance was “The seed is strong.” He shares his theory of Jon being poisoned, making Pycelle visibly uneasy. Pycelle dismisses any foul play, but Ned is suspicious, especially since Pycelle had Maester Colemon removed during Jon's medical treatment. He contemplates who Pycelle might actually be loyal to. Upon leaving Pycelle’s quarters, Ned has a conversation with Arya, recalling a poignant moment they shared with Sansa when they learned Bran had survived. Later, Littlefinger drops by Ned's quarters, recommending four additional individuals for Ned to interrogate. While gazing out the window, he identifies the spies Varys and Cersei employed to keep tabs on Ned. Grateful, Ned concedes that he was wrong to doubt Littlefinger's intentions. Littlefinger responds by declaring that this skepticism is the wisest thing Ned has done since his arrival in the capital.
Sam Tarly arrives at the Wall and is swiftly made to spar with Halder under Thorne's orders. He is beaten easily due to his size and fear, and even after yielding, Thorne orders the punishment to continue. Jon intervenes, leading to a brawl in which Jon, Pyp, and Grenn defeat Halder, Rast, and Albett. Sam's admission of cowardice earns Jon's respect due to his honesty. Sam later reveals to Jon that he became a Night's Watchman as his father threatened to kill him if he stayed at home, wanting his younger son to inherit. Jon then shares a reoccurring dream about wandering through an abandoned Winterfell to its crypts. Jon later persuades the others to go easy on Sam in training, acknowledging his lack of combat skills.
As the Hand's tournament is about to start, Ned is displeased as he's against such events and their implications on King's Landing. Despite the town's unrest and deaths, Pycelle and Littlefinger argue that the tournament is beneficial for the city's economy. Ned has been studying an ancient book, The Lineages and Histories of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms, that intrigued Jon Arryn. He attempts to question Jon Arryn's previous squire, Hugh, for further information, but is met with resistance. Surprisingly, Ned uncovers that Jon Arryn and Robert's brother Stannis had once visited a brothel, prompting him to instruct Jory to find its location. In the meantime, Ned meets Gendry, a blacksmith’s apprentice who Jon Arryn had shown interest in. Gendry does not know his parentage, except that his mother was blonde. Recognizing Gendry’s dark hair and facial features, Ned comes to a shocking conclusion - Gendry is Robert’s illegitimate son.
Catelyn and Rodrik discreetly journey northwards on the kingsroad, making a stop at the Inn at the Crossroads, near Catelyn's childhood home, Riverrun. During a meal, Tyrion walks in and recognizes Catelyn, thanks to Marillion, an irritating singer who draws his attention towards her. He points her out as Lady Stark, surprising everyone present. In response, Catelyn turns to the crowd, identifying those who are devoted to House Tully and demands their loyalty. Upon receiving their affirmation, she accuses Tyrion of trying to kill Bran. She orders those faithful to her house to seize him and take him to Winterfell to face the king's justice.
Sansa immerses herself in the vibrant spectacle of the Hand's tournament. Gregor slays Jon Arryn's previous squire, Hugh, during a joust. Sansa remains undeterred. During the night's feast, Robert becomes excessively inebriated and loudly proclaims to Cersei his intention to join the melee the next day. Joff’s polite demeanor enchants Sansa throughout the banquet. However, immediately after Robert’s outburst, Joff leaves her and instructs the Hound to walk her back to her room. During their walk, the Hound unnerves Sansa with his harsh truthfulness. He reveals that Gregor deliberately killed Hugh and also shares the story of his facial scarring: his brother had pushed his face into burning coals during their childhood.
Ned loses his significant lead, Hugh, in solving Jon Arryn's death mystery. Concerned about Robert's Lannister squires, Ned, along with Barristan, persuades the corpulent Robert from participating in the melee, reminding him of his royal status. Robert confesses his exhaustion from his kingship, but fears for the kingdom under Joff and Cersei rule, deter him from renouncing the throne. During the day's jousting semifinals, Loras gains victory over Gregor, who reacts violently. However, Loras is saved by the Hound until Robert intervenes. Later, Varys, camouflaged, meets Ned. He assures Ned about his trust after witnessing his loyalty to the realm. He warns Ned about the Lannisters' plot against Robert, implicates Hugh in Jon Arryn's murder, and reveals Jon Arryn was killed for prying into Robert's children's affairs.
Having been taken captive by Catelyn, Tyrion is now on the journey to the Eyrie with her party. In his attempt to prove his innocence, he tells Catelyn that he wouldn't have been so foolish as to give an assassin his own dagger, and that Littlefinger is a notorious liar. Their conversation is interrupted when mountain clansmen launch an attack on them. Catelyn reluctantly arms Tyrion and his men, making them promise to surrender their weapons once the skirmish ends. The ensuing battle claims many lives. Amid the chaos, Tyrion manages to clumsily save Catelyn's life. When they are back on the road, Tyrion catches up with Catelyn and asserts that regardless of her belief in his story, he couldn't have possibly won the dagger in a bet because he never gambles against his own family.
Arya, involved in training with Syrio, is found by Prince Tommen and Princess Myrcella. She flees before they identify her, ending up in the labyrinthine passageways beneath the castle. She overhears two individuals discussing. One, clad in armor, conveys urgency due to the escalating tension between the wolf and lion, with more parties entering the fray. The other, with a forked beard, argues for more time, claiming Drogo won't strike until the birth of Daenerys' son. He suggests postponing the war, perhaps using the armored man's "magic", and hints at killing Ned to buy time. After escaping the tunnels, Arya informs her father of the conversation, but he doesn't take her seriously.
During a heated discussion with the council, Ned strongly disagrees with Robert's plan to kill a pregnant Daenerys, information which Varys got from Jorah. With the exception of Ned and Barristan, the rest of the council converges on the idea. Pycelle reasons that to prevent a future war, Daenerys' death is necessary. Both Renly and Varys propose different ways to execute the plan. Outraged by the council's decision, Ned resigns from his position and leaves the meeting abruptly, suggesting Robert to execute his plan personally. Later on, Littlefinger informs Ned that the council planned to reward anyone who kills the Targaryens with lordship. Littlefinger adds that he can lead Ned to the brothel Jon Arryn frequented if he stays in King's Landing, which Ned and his men are keen on finding.
Catelyn, Tyrion, and a few surviving companions reach the Eyrie's Bloody Gate. She takes note of the dynamic between Tyrion and Bronn, a brave but ruthless man of questionable loyalty. Her uncle Brynden informs her of Lysa's growing paranoia. Despite reaching the Eyrie at night, Catelyn is commanded by Lysa to immediately clamber up the perilous route to the castle, comprising of seven tall, narrow towers built into a mountain. On reaching the fortress at dawn, she is confronted by Lysa's wrath for bringing a Lannister without prior notice. Lysa's overbearing care towards her six-year-old son Robert, who still breastfeeds, shocks Catelyn. She compares him unfavorably to her three-year-old son Rickon, who in her eyes, is much more grown-up in comparison.
During his visit to a whorehouse frequented by Jon Arryn before his death, Ned discovers another illegitimate child of Robert's with black hair. Littlefinger reveals to Ned that Robert has numerous illegitimate children and claims that Cersei had several of them murdered. This leads Ned to question the drastic change in Robert's character. On their way back, Ned is halted by Jaime and his troops regarding Tyrion's capture. Trying to protect his wife, Ned falsely claims that Tyrion's capture was under his orders. The confrontation escalates when Jaime draws his sword, but Ned threatens that any harm to him will lead to Tyrion's death by Catelyn's hands. Jaime orders for Ned to be spared but commands his twenty soldiers to eliminate Ned's three companions. During the ensuing battle, Ned's horse collapses on him, resulting in a broken leg.
The horde travels beneath the bronze stallions marking Vaes Dothrak's entrance. Daenerys is expected to meet with the Dothraki elder women, the dosh khaleen, for prophecies regarding her unborn child. Jorah confesses to Daenerys his newfound respect for Dothraki warriors and his contempt for Ned who banished him. In the evening, Daenerys offers Viserys, her ill-tempered brother, a set of luxurious clothes crafted by her servants. In response, he harshly dismisses the present and hurts Daenerys. She retaliates by hitting him with a bronze chain, warning him to show respect before Drogo takes his life. She ends the day dreaming of home.
Bran, using Tyrion's special saddle, ventures outside Winterfell's boundaries in the company of Robb and a few others from Winterfell. He learns from Robb about Jaime's attack on Ned. Robb and Theon contemplate calling their allies to gear up for a possible war. Robb goes off to look for their direwolves after Theon and the other men lag behind, leaving Bran alone. Suddenly, Bran is discovered by six wildlings who intend to rob and possibly murder him. Robb and the direwolves arrive just in time to protect Bran. A fight ensues, resulting in a wildling taking Bran hostage. Theon intervenes, killing the wildling with an arrow from behind. Luwin advises Robb to spare Osha, the last wildling survivor.
Tyrion endures torment by Mord, his jailer, in a high, open-aired cell in the Eyrie, where a single misstep could tumble him down a six-hundred-foot cliff. He reflects on Lysa's accusations of him murdering Jon Arryn and attempting to kill Bran, questioning the reality and the methods involved, and speculating a third potential assassin on Bran's case. Tyrion also identifies his captivity as a potentially beneficial situation for his family, though he doubts they'll see it due to their arrogance. In a turn of events, he manages to convince Mord to deliver a message to Lysa about him wanting to confess his sins. However, instead of murder, he admits to lesser offences like indulging in prostitution and demands a trial by combat. Bronn steps forward to represent Tyrion and Lysa chooses Ser Vardis to represent the prosecution side.
Ned wakes up six days post-leg fracture. Jaime has vanished from the city. Robert and Cersei pay him a visit, during which Ned insists on Catelyn's innocence, stating she acted under his orders. Cersei alleges Ned was inebriated at a brothel and provoked Jaime, to which Ned counters, claiming he was visiting Robert's illegitimate child. When Ned requests permission to chase down Jaime, Robert denies him. The king's failure to administer justice frustrates Ned. Cersei mocks Robert, suggesting she'd do a better job at ruling, which leads to Robert striking her. She exits, leaving Robert to lament to Ned that it appears Rhaegar won the war after all. Robert reinstates Ned as his Hand.
Catelyn becomes aware of Tywin Lannister's military preparations at Casterly Rock, while her own allies, the Tullys, are also fortifying their positions. She attempts to dissuade her sister from proceeding with Tyrion's trial by combat, musing on her sister's changed, irritating demeanor. Catelyn contemplates the strategic advantage of keeping Tyrion captive and questions who among the Lannisters murdered Jon Arryn. In the face-off, Bronn, swift and minimally armored, outmatches the elder, heavily protected Vardis. Lysa still wishes to execute Tyrion, but he cites the Arryn motto: “As High as Honor.” Tyrion is released from the Eyrie, however, without an escort, his survival against the mountain clans seems doubtful.
Fresh recruits are soon to join the Wall, which means Jon and his mates will ascend to full-fledged black brothers of the Night's Watch. However, Sam's promotion is missing, prompting Jon's concern that Thorne may exploit the newbies to harm Sam. Jon, feeling protective, appeals to Aemon to consider advancing Sam to a steward. Jon draws a parallel between the Night's Watch and Aemon's maester’s chain. Each link of different metals on Aemon's chain represents the diverse knowledge of a maester. Similarly, Jon suggests, the Night's Watch requires an assortment of men. He emphasizes Sam's literacy and numerical skills, hence, making him a valuable asset to Aemon.
Travelling from the Eyrie, Bronn suggests they move quickly at night and lay low during the day to dodge the mountain clans. Tyrion, however, opts for a different approach, choosing to stand their ground and meet the clans head on. He commends Bronn for his cleverness and competence despite his lowborn status and mercenary loyalties. He recalls how taken aback Mord had been when Tyrion compensated him for delivering his message to Lysa. Tyrion shares a tale from his childhood, recalling an instance of his father Tywin's harshness. He reiterates the Lannister motto of always settling their dues with a touch of bitterness. When the mountain clans show up to end Tyrion and Bronn's lives, Tyrion persuades them to align with their cause. He promises them not only financial rewards but also control over the entire Vale of Arryn.
With Robert away for hunting, Ned, now back as the Hand, handles the king's duties from the Iron Throne. The legendary Aegon the Conqueror had this Throne made by melting the swords of his defeated foes, a reminder that a king's rule must never be comfortable. Ned hears of violent acts by armed men near Riverrun, causing death and destruction. The descriptions of the perpetrators match those of Gregor and his Lannister soldiers. The council members are hesitant to confront the Lannisters. However, Ned condemns Gregor and his men, despite their absence, to death. Being injured, he delegates the task to others. Despite Loras's offer to enforce the decree, Ned declines, suspecting Loras's motive is more vengeance than justice.
Sansa and Jeyne argue about Ned's refusal to dispatch Loras to eliminate Gregor. During supper, Arya opines that the Hound and Jaime are as much deserving of death as Gregor, but Sansa rebuffs her. She justifies the Hound's actions, claiming he was merely safeguarding Joff when he took the butcher boy's life. The disagreement escalates, leading to the two sisters being sent to their chambers. Arya later attempts to apologize, but Sansa rejects it. Ned discloses his plans to return the girls to Winterfell for safety, insisting they keep the plans secret. Sansa's protest about her upcoming marriage to Joff is squashed by Ned, who labels the match as a mistake. Another argument sprouts between Sansa and Arya, resulting in Sansa shouting that Joff is no resemblance to his inebriated father. This proclamation makes Ned acknowledge its truth.
Ned is torn about revealing his discovery about Joff's lineage, fearing Robert's wrath. Despite this, he's determined to shield Cersei and her children from any harm. He organizes a covert meeting with Cersei in the godswood, informing her of his knowledge - the secret Jon Arryn was killed for; Joff, Myrcella, and Tommen are Jaime's children, not Robert's. Cersei confirms Jaime's paternity and their attempted murder of Bran. Ned urges her to escape with her children before Robert learns the truth. However, Cersei refuses and reprimands Ned for failing to seize the Iron Throne during the Targaryen rebellion. She coldly warns Ned, “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.”
At Vaes Dothrak, the Dothraki matriarchs predict that Daenerys' unborn child, to be named Rhaego, will be "the stallion who mounts the world." Jorah informs her that he stopped her brother Viserys from pilfering one of her dragon eggs. Viserys later disrupts Drogo's party in a drunken state, demanding the soldiers Drogo had promised him to reclaim his throne. He threatens Daenerys with his sword, a severe violation of Vaes Dothrak's laws against bloodshed. Daenerys and Jorah implore him to sheathe his weapon. Drogo tells Viserys he'll get his crown and orders his men to pour searing gold over Viserys's head, causing his death. Daenerys muses that Viserys couldn't have been a genuine dragon, as real dragons are impervious to fire.
Robert, having sustained a deadly stomach injury from a boar, names Ned as regent in his will until "his heir" is of age. Ned refrains from specifying Joffrey, keeping silent about the truth of his parentage. Varys reveals that Robert's squire, a Lannister, was responsible for the king's intoxicated state. Ned refuses Renly's advice to counter Cersei immediately and discloses his discoveries to Littlefinger, who already knew about the queen's children. Littlefinger warns Ned about the consequences of installing Stannis, the last Baratheon brother, on the throne, predicting widespread conflict. However, Ned is firm in his decision to support Stannis, seeking Littlefinger's help in buying the City Watch's loyalty to ensure their safety when they confront Cersei. Littlefinger agrees to lend his support.
Sam, Jon and their companions are thrilled about their imminent promotions. They discover their roles as builders, stewards, or rangers. Despite his prowess in combat, Jon is assigned to assist Commander Mormont, leaving him enraged and blaming Thorne for this perceived slight. Sam helps Jon understand that his stewardship to the Commander is actually a stepping stone towards leadership. The two friends head to the weirwood grove, beyond the Wall, to pledge their loyalty to the Night's Watch. Jon, unlike most southerners, observes the old gods, a tradition common in the north. Although Sam was brought up worshiping the Seven gods, he chooses to honor the old gods before his vow. Once their oaths are concluded, Ghost comes back with a severed hand in his jaws.
On the day of Robert's death, Ned calls a council meeting in his room where he finds out that Renly has escaped the city. Robert's will, proclaiming Ned as Lord Regent and Protector of the Realm, is read aloud by Barristan. The council is then summoned to the throne room by Joff, who asserts his right to be king. Ned challenges this by presenting Cersei with Robert's will but she dismisses it by tearing it up. Ned tries to have Cersei and Joff removed from the throne room with the aid of the City Watch, but Joff turns the tables and has Ned's men killed instead. Finally, Littlefinger betrays Ned, holding Ned's knife to him and reminding him of his prior warning not to trust him.
Arya trains with Syrio, who tricks her by attacking from a different direction than he announces. He teaches her the importance of truly seeing and identifying falsehoods. When a Kingsguard knight and five Lannister men come for Arya, Syrio advises her to distrust their intentions, as her father would never assign Lannisters for her protection. Defending Arya, Syrio uses his wooden training sword to fend off the men, giving Arya the chance to flee. She manages to keep her nerves under control as she collects her clothes and sword, Needle, from her room. She's found by a boy in the stables while trying to escape. When he attempts to apprehend her, Arya defends herself by stabbing him, and makes her escape through the castle's dungeons.
Cersei apprehends Ned and Sansa is kept locked in her room for three days. When she is finally summoned by Cersei before the council, she learns that her father stands accused of treason. Cersei expresses her gratitude towards Sansa for revealing Ned’s secret plan of sending her and Arya back to Winterfell. Sansa, determined to prove her loyalty and keep her engagement to Joff intact, consents to pen four letters. The content of these letters, dictated by Cersei, asserts Ned's treachery and demands Sansa's kin to pledge their allegiance to Joff in King’s Landing. Only later does Sansa realise her forgetfulness in failing to inquire about Arya's safety.
Jon, Sam, and Commander Mormont's group stumble upon a body with a hand ripped off by Ghost. A team member thinks it's been dead for no more than a day. Sam notices oddities about the bodies: there's no blood or decay and the eyes are blue. Mormont commands that the bodies be brought to the Wall for further investigation. Later, Jon learns about Ned's supposed betrayal. Mormont anticipates Jon's emotional reaction. Jon loses his temper when Thorne insults him, leading to a confrontation. For this, Mormont punishes Jon, confiscating his weapons and sending him to his cell. That night, Jon discovers his cell unlocked and the guards murdered. He then comes across one of the bodies they found, now reanimated and entering Mormont's chamber. Jon and Ghost face off against this wight, overpowering and setting it aflame using drapes.
Robb Stark has begun amassing forces at Winterfell. They are inundated with stories, both truth and fiction, about the happenings at King's Landing. A letter from Sansa reaches Robb and Bran, declaring their father a traitor and making no mention of Arya. Bran ponders on Sansa's loss of her wolf and the curse of Starks moving south and never coming back. Osha, their captive, warns Bran about the real danger lurking in the northern end beyond the Wall, where giants and the Others wander. As Robb departs Winterfell, he anoints Bran as the Lord of Winterfell until his or their father's return.
Daenerys proposes to Drogo the idea of traveling to Westeros after their child's birth. Drogo, believing the world ends at the ocean, dismisses the idea of crossing the "poison water" of the Narrow Sea. Daenerys seeks Jorah's support in convincing Drogo. Jorah advises her to exercise patience to steer clear of Viserys’s previous error. While Drogo is hunting, Daenerys and Jorah visit the Western Market. Jorah interrupts Daenerys just as she is about to taste some wine, suspecting the vendor, who refuses to drink it himself, to be an assassin. The vendor is detained and Jorah later shares with Daenerys a letter from Illyrio to Viserys. The letter discloses a reward for anyone who can eliminate the Targaryen offspring. Upon learning about the assassination attempt, Drogo reconsiders his stance and consents to wage war on Westeros.
Catelyn journeys from the Eyrie to Moat Cailin, where her son Robb's troops are gathered. She's anxious for Robb's safety but understands he needs to show strong leadership. The royal army Ned dispatched to halt Gregor and his forces has been defeated by Tywin. Robb's strategy involves dividing his soldiers south of the Neck. His infantry will go south to confront Tywin, while the cavalry will cross the Green Fork of the Trident River to alleviate Jaime's siege at Riverrun. Robb aims to lead the cavalry and entrust the infantry to the fearless Greatjon. However, Catelyn advises against it, pointing out that fearlessness isn't always a virtue. Reflecting on this, Robb decides to appoint the cunning and strategic Roose Bolton as the infantry's leader.
Reaching the Inn at the Crossroads later than planned, Tyrion meets his father Tywin, who's leading his army from the Inn. Tywin blames Tyrion for the impending war, a consequence of Catelyn seizing Tyrion, which pushed Tywin to defend the Lannister family's honor. Tywin plans to assign a small troop to Tyrion to clean up the residual forces that Ned deployed against Gregor. Tyrion, somewhat sarcastically, points out his father's lack of trust and expresses his preference for his mountain clans over Tywin's soldiers. Tywin manages to persuade the clansmen to side with Tyrion in battle, using well-chosen compliments.
Sansa, held captive by Cersei, convinces herself that Cersei adores her and she'll still become Joff's wife. In a royal gathering, Joff demands allegiance from all Westeros houses, including the Starks, or face being branded traitors. Aging Barristan gets dismissed as Kingsguard's Commander by Cersei, despite their lifetime oath, which horrifies him. He highlights how Jaime, his successor, violated the Kingsguard's vows by slaying Aerys. Barristan discards his gear and weapon in disdain. Joff elevates the Hound to the Kingsguard's ranks. The Hound accepts but declines to be knighted. Once royal affairs are settled, Sansa pleads for her father's leniency. Joff consents, provided Ned admits his treason.
Ned, imprisoned in the Red Keep's grimy dungeon, berates himself for the demise of his men, his family's peril, and his destiny as Robert’s Hand. He envisions Robert chastising him for his reckless honor and pride. Varys comes to see Ned, updating him on the Starks. He hints that Cersei may have contaminated Robert's drink leading to his death. Varys questions Ned on why the innocent suffer in the power struggles of the nobles. Varys clarifies his loyalty lies not with Cersei or Littlefinger but the realm, and his ultimate objective is tranquility. He presents Ned with a choice upon leaving his cell: he can uphold his commitment to Robert, denying Joff's legitimacy and risking Sansa and his own execution, or for Sansa's sake, falsely admit to a crime he's innocent of.
Robb's cavalry reaches the Green Fork of the Trident and needs to traverse via the Twins, the paired castles controlled by Walder Frey. Catelyn informs Robb that the Freys traditionally charge a fee to anyone crossing their bridge. Consequently, Catelyn on behalf of Robb, bargains with the elderly Lord Frey for passage rights. Lord Frey, known for his delayed decisions during disputes and disdain for Tywin, grants the Starks passage. However, his terms include the Starks taking in two Frey children as wards, another to be Robb's squire, one to marry Arya, and another to be Robb's wife. Even though the marriage conditions are unfavorable, Robb consents.
As a token of gratitude for saving his life, Commander Mormont presents Jon with Longclaw, a five-century-old family heirloom. The sword's previous owner was the banished Jorah Mormont. Jon is later called upon by Aemon for a discussion. Aemon clarifies to Jon about the Night’s Watch's vow of celibacy, indicating that love can undermine honor and duty. Aemon senses Jon's internal struggle between his loyalty to the Watch and his affection for his kin, knowing that Jon wishes to aid Ned and Robb. Aemon discloses his identity as Aemon Targaryen and shares his own past temptations to abandon the Wall in order to aid his doomed family. However, Aemon refrains from guiding Jon's decision, instead, he highlights the cost of honor to him.
Daenerys navigates the wreckage of the Lamb Men's village. Drogo and his men had intervened in a conflict between the village and a competing khal, successfully defeating both parties and seizing numerous slaves. These slaves could be traded to fund their voyage to Westeros. Witnessing the brutal treatment of the fallen villagers, Daenerys commands her men to stop harming the women, earning Jorah's comparison of her to Rhaegar. Upon finding Drogo wounded from the battle, Daenerys encounters resistance from his men, unhappy with her interference with their spoils. However, Drogo supports her. A saved priestess named Mirri, accused of being a witch, offers to utilize her healing knowledge on Drogo. Despite the Dothraki's suspicion of Mirri, Daenerys persuades Drogo to let her heal him.
Tywin arms Tyrion's mountain clan group and places them at the forefront of the left flank for the upcoming fight. Tyrion takes offense upon discovering he is to fight under Gregor's leadership. In the ensuing battle, Tyrion's group performs admirably, though they lose half their number. It dawns on Tyrion that Tywin intended for his squad to be easily vanquished as a part of his plan. Tywin aimed to lure Robb's troops forward with a seeming easy victory, only to turn the tables with a sudden onslaught. Tywin confesses to this stratagem post-battle, as he believed Robb would choose bravery over wisdom. A courier, however, brings news that Robb wasn't present in the fight at all. Instead, Robb, with his cavalry, is hastening to lift the siege at Riverrun.
Robb outsmarts Jaime in battle despite having a smaller army. Exploiting Jaime's impatience, Robb ambushes him when he's isolated from his troops. Robb's strategy results in Jaime's captivity along with three other Lannisters. Although they suffered losses, they managed to kill ten of Jaime's soldiers for every one of their own, as Theon points out. Despite Theon's prompt to execute Jaime, Robb understands his value as a prisoner. Meanwhile, Tywin's substantial forces are stationed at the Trident River and Cersei retains Ned. Furthermore, Jaime's troops continue to besiege Riverrun despite his capture.
Drogo's injuries have worsened to such an extent he falls from his horse. Daenerys halts the khalasar, hoping Drogo will recover. However, his inability to ride begins to erode the khalasar’s faith in him as a leader. Jorah makes it clear to Daenerys that Drogo's power was the only reason the khalasar respected him. He warns Daenerys that her unborn child would be in danger if Drogo dies, suggesting that she escape. Instead, Daenerys turns to Mirri for aid, asking her to use bloodmagic to save Drogo. Mirri agrees but warns Daenerys that the healing will come at the cost of a life—Drogo’s horse. She then sends everyone out of the tent, cautioning that her chants may bring the dead back to life. During this time, Daenerys begins to give birth while Jorah and her servants fend off Drogo’s bloodriders, who wish to stop Mirri. The fighting causes most people to scatter, leaving Mirri as the only available midwife for Daenerys. Despite the warning about entering the tent, Jorah carries a pain-stricken Daenerys inside as her labor intensifies.
Having evaded capture in King's Landing since her father was taken, Arya is drawn to the Great Sept of Baelor by the sound of a tolling bell and murmurs about her kin. Ned, her father, is presented before the multitude from atop the Sept, admitting treason against the King, Joff. Despite the high priest's advice to Joff to pardon Ned, Joff orders his death. This unexpected decree prompts Varys and Cersei to try and intervene. Arya, wielding Needle, attempts to charge through the crowd to save her father, but Yoren stops her before she gets far. As the King's Justice, Ilyn, beheads Ned with his own significant sword, Ice, Yoren pulls Arya away. In seclusion, he gives her back Needle, cuts her hair short and instructs her to impersonate a boy.
Bran shares a dream with Luwin where a three-eyed crow guides him to Winterfell's underground tombs, where he sees Ned. Luwin and Bran, carried by Osha, tour the tombs and discuss the past Winterfell rulers, known as the Kings of Winter. Upon reaching Ned's unoccupied grave, Rickon's direwolf, Shaggydog, appears and bites Luwin's hand. Rickon reveals he had a dream like Bran's. Luwin educates the boys about the North, the first humans, the forest children, and the Andals in his tower. A raven brings a message, showing signs of an attack during its journey to Winterfell. Rickon, Osha, and Bran sense the news of Ned's death before Luwin opens the letter.
Sansa mourns in her Red Keep chamber when Joff insists she join court that day. He boasts about sparing Ned from torment before executing him, provoking Sansa's hatred. Joff orders Meryn to hit her due to her outburst. During court, Joff's rulings display his cruelty and unfairness. Later, he forces Sansa to see the decaying heads of those executed for treason, her father included. An unhappy Sansa warns that Robb may retaliate, earning another blow from Meryn. Sansa contemplates pushing Joff off the castle walls, but is interrupted when the Hound steps in to clean her bloodied face.
Daenerys regains consciousness after a fever-induced slumber. She is informed by her maids that she had been out cold for an extended period. She requests for a dragon egg made of stone, feeling a peculiar warmth emanating from it, a sensation not shared by Jorah. The news of Drogo's men abandoning him reaches her, with two of them declaring themselves khals. Mirri conveys the grim news that her son was born dead, resembling a decayed demon. She further taunts Daenerys about the fatal consequences of bloodmagic, which took more lives than just Drogo's horse. Although Drogo is alive, he is incapable of cognitive or physical functions. Enraged, Daenerys confronts Mirri, who retorts that she owed her nothing after the harm inflicted on her by Drogo's men. Daenerys' attempt to revive Drogo proves futile, leading her to smother him with a pillow.
News reaches Tywin about Jaime's capture. He listens to his allies detail Robb's victory over Jaime and the recovery of Riverrun. Tyrion dismisses a suggestion for peace talks with the Starks, understanding that the Lannisters' killing of Ned makes peace impossible and bargaining for Jaime's life challenging. He is informed by Tywin about Renly's marriage to Margaery Tyrell and his attempt to claim the throne. The threat Stannis poses to King's Landing, particularly if it clashes with Renly's forces, is also acknowledged. Tywin laments the ineptitude of Cersei and Joff. In a surprising move, he sends Tyrion to govern King's Landing, a decision that leaves Tyrion feeling both honored and repulsed by his father's apparent readiness to accept Jaime's death.
Jon sets off from the Wall in the dark, eager to assist Robb. His departure is noticed by Sam who unsuccessfully tries to dissuade him. As Jon takes a breather, his comrades join him. They persuade him to go back, stressing his sworn duty to the Night's Watch. Commander Mormont is aware of Jon's attempted flight the following morning. He reiterates to Jon that their loved ones can be their downfall. He gives Jon back his sword, Longclaw, which Jon had forgotten. Mormont is of the belief that Jon and Ghost's arrival at the Wall was predestined, particularly with the looming winter and recent undead encounter. He reveals his intent to venture beyond the Wall in search of Benjen.
Following their victory over the remaining Lannister forces at Riverrun, Robb and his men are discovered by Catelyn in prayer at the Riverrun godswood. Robb, Catelyn, and their allies subsequently deliberate on their next steps. With Ned gone and Renly claiming the throne, their army, led in part by Roose Bolton, is still recuperating from the fight. Meanwhile, Tywin's troops are en route to Harrenhal. A heated debate ensues on the legitimacy of Renly's or Joff's claims to the throne. Catelyn passionately argues for peace, but her views meet opposition from the lords. That is until the Greatjon loudly rejects both Renly and Joff, proclaiming Robb as the King in the North. All assent, and a King of Winter is announced for the first time in three centuries.
Daenerys orders her servants to set up a funeral pyre for the deceased Drogo. She liberates her followers from their servitude, offering them the choice to stay with her voluntarily, promising rewards. She presents weapons to three servants, asking them to be her bloodriders. They hesitantly agree but express doubts about serving a woman. Jorah, however, swears his loyalty to Daenerys, becoming her first Queensguard. He pleads with Daenerys not to commit suicide on Drogo’s pyre, but she assures him she has no intention to die. She places her dragon eggs in the pyre, sets it alight, and steps inside. After the fire dies, she steps out unscathed with three live dragons. This marks the return of dragons to the realm after centuries. The followers who chose to stay, kneel in respect.