A raven flies through the gates of Winterfell, swooping past Bran Stark, who's standing in the courtyard practicing his archery. He walks after the bird, and when he catches up to it, sees that the raven has three eyes. Bran wakens from the dream and finds himself in bed with his wolf Summer - still unable to walk. Theon Greyjoy enters the room with Hodor, a large and simpleminded stable boy, who carries Bran downstairs to meet some guests.
In the Great Hall, Robb Stark meets with Tyrion Lannister, who has stopped at Winterfell on his return to King's Landing. Tyrion is a bit surprised by Robb's lack of courtesy, though that doesn't stop him from offering Bran a gift: drawings of a special saddle that will allow the crippled boy to ride. Tyrion leaves the castle to spend the night in a brothel, and Theon follows him to the gate. "Your loyalty to your captors is touching," Tyrion tells the ward of House Stark.
Jon Snow practices sword-fighting with Grenn and Pyp in Castle Black's courtyard, coaching them along. The combat stops, however, when Samwell Tarly - a soft, fat lordling from the south - arrives to join them. Ser Alliser Thorne orders Rast to attack Sam, which the mean-spirited young man does with relish. Sam falls to the ground, unwilling and unable to defend himself, and Jon steps in to stop the beating.
At night, Jon and Sam stand watch on the Wall, and the new boy isn't any better at guard duty than he is at fighting. He tells Jon why he's come to the Night's Watch: His father told him he's not worthy of the family's land and title and gave him the choice to either join the Watch or have an "accident" while hunting.
The next day in the mess hall of Castle Black, Jon tells Grenn and Pyp that they're going to protect Sam in the training yard. Rast overhears and laughs at Jon, saying that he'll "slice off a side of bacon" from Sam. But that night, Jon and his friends sneak into Rast's bunk and threaten him with his snarling wolf, Ghost. The next day in the yard, no one attacks Sam.
Thorne is not amused with the soft treatment, and later, while Sam and Jon clean the castle, Thorne tells Jon what he's really doing by shielding Sam's cowardice: Creating weakness in the ranks that will kill good men.
The Dothraki horde travels through the Horse Gate and into the city of Vaes Dothrak. Daenerys Targaryen asks Ser Jorah Mormont if her brother would be able to lead the Dothraki to take the Seven Kingdoms. Jorah tells her that the king's advisors are wise enough to stop King Robert Baratheon from meeting the Dothraki in open combat.
Inside a Dothraki hut, the handmaiden Doreah from the pleasure houses bathes with Viserys Targaryen. He tells her of the dragons that allowed his family to conquer Westeros as she tends to his needs. When he says that Robert likely had the dragon skulls decorating King's Landing destroyed, Doreah finds it sad. "What did I buy you for," he asks her, "to make me sad?" She replies that he wanted her to teach Dany to be a better lover for Khal Drogo, which angers Viserys even more.
Viserys drags Doreah into Dany's tent by her hair, raging that his sister dare give him "commands." Dany says she only sent an invitation because she has a gift for her brother, but Viserys is consumed with anger and strikes his sister. Out of instinct, she hits him back, surprising herself but also realizing how powerless he is. "The next time you raise a hand to me," she tells him, "will be the last time you have hands." Later, Dany tells Jorah about the fight with her brother - and that she's realized that Viserys will never retake their homeland.
Lord Ned Stark presides over a Small Council meeting in which Janos Slynt, commander of the City Watch, explains that the Hand's Tournament has caused chaos throughout King's Landing. Ned tasks Littlefinger with finding gold to pay for more guards to keep the city safe and offers up men from his own household retinue to help.
After the meeting, Ned approaches Grand Maester Pycelle about the events preceding Lord Jon Arryn's death. Pycelle says that the Lord's sickness came swiftly, and his death followed soon after. Before the end, Arryn came to Pycelle to read a book of lineages that lists the traits of all the noble families of Westeros. Arryn kept repeating the same phrase: "The seed is strong."
Littlefinger approaches Ned to tell him that he's heard about the book of lineages that Pycelle gave him. Littlefinger also points out that Jon Arryn's squire, Ser Hugh of the Vale, was knighted shortly after his Lord's death. He suggests that Ned speak with a local armorer whom Arryn visited before his death. Ned goes to see the man and meets his dark-haired apprentice - Robert's bastard son.
Later, Cersei visits Ned in his chambers and suggests they put their disagreements on the Kingsroad behind them. Ned is suspicious of her visit and says that his job is to serve the king and the realm. But she is not impressed, telling him that he's only good for following orders.
Sansa and Arya Stark, along with the king and all his court arrive to watch the jousts at the Hand's Tournament. In the first match, the massive Ser Gregor Clegane - brother to the Hound - tilts against Ser Hugh of the Vale. But the contest goes violently wrong when Clegane's lance hits Ser Hugh in the throat, publicly ending the young knight's life with a fit of bloody gurgles.
As Sansa sits, shocked by the violence, Littlefinger whispers in her ear the story of how the Hound received the horrible burns on his face. When they were boys, Gregor caught his brother playing with one of his toys and held the child's face to the hot coals of a fire. "Not many people know that story," Littlefinger tells her.
Ser Rodrik Cassel and Lady Catelyn Stark stop for rest at the Inn at the Crossroads. Their meal is interrupted by Tyrion's arrival. When the dwarf notices Catelyn, she stands and calls out to the bannermen of her father who are gathered in the room. "This man came into my house as a guest," she tells the room, "and there conspired to murder my son." At her words, the men in the room draw their swords and surround the dwarf.
Tyrion reaches out to Bran with a way for the boy to reclaim his mobility. Ned searches for clues to the unexplained death of Jon Arryn (the former King's Hand), and in the process uncovers King Robert's illegitimate son. Robert and his guests witness a tournament honoring Ned. Jon takes measures to protect Samwell Tarly, an awkward and friendless boy, from the abuse of the Night's Watchmen; a frustrated Viserys clashes with his newly empowered sister; Sansa dreams of life as a queen, while Arya envisions a far different future. Catelyn rallies her father's allies and has Tyrion arrested for conspiring to murder her son.