Lord Ned Stark arrives at King's Landing, and before he can shake off the dust of the road, his presence is requested by the Small Council. On his way through the Red Keep, Ned sees Ser Jaime Lannister standing by the Iron Throne. The two men exchange barbs, and then Jaime recounts the day that the Mad King Aerys murdered Ned's father and brother in the throne room.
Ned reaches the council chamber and is greeted by the group's members: Lord Varys, Master of Whisperers; Lord Renly Baratheon, the king's brother and lord of Storm's End; Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish, Master of Coin; and Grand Maester Pycelle, an aged maester who's served King's Landing for decades. Ned speaks gruffly with each of them - except for Renly, whom he embraces. When the council gets down to the business of planning a tournament to honor Ned's appointment as Hand, he is shocked to learn that the crown is deeply in debt. Ned orders the tournament canceled, but quickly realizes his outburst is impolitic and begs the council's pardon.
Queen Cersei Baratheon dresses the wounds her son, Prince Joffrey Baratheon, suffered when Arya's direwolf attacked him and explains to him the privileges and challenges of being king. He'll have the power to rewrite history, she promises, but he also must know when to conserve his strength in the realm. "Everyone who isn't us," Cersei tells her son, "is an enemy."
Ned returns to his chambers to find Sansa and Arya fighting. Sansa rejects the doll he brings her as a gift, and when he checks in on Arya in her bedroom, she's holding her sword, Needle. She tells her father she asked Mycah to practice with her, and now the boy is dead. Ned assures her it wasn't her fault - or Sansa's. He even allows her to keep the blade - if she promises not to stick her sister with it.
In bed at Winterfell, Bran Stark rests while listening to Old Nan tell stories. When he asks for a scary tale, she tells him of the winter that lasted a generation, when the White Walkers came, hunting men on dead horses with packs of pale spiders the size of dogs. The door slams opens, interrupting her talk, and Robb Stark walks into the room. Bran tells his brother that he still remembers nothing of the fall. He's learned that he'll never walk again and tells Robb that he wishes he'd been killed.
In Castle Black's courtyard, Jon Snow trains under the direction of Ser Alliser Thorne and has no trouble besting the other recruits in combat. Afterwards, in the armory, three of the young men - Pyp, Grenn and Rast - attack Jon for beating them so badly. Tyrion uses the threat of his family's power to end the scuffle but then tells Jon the stories of his fellow recruits - that they weren't so lucky to grow up in castles with noble warriors training them. The next time Jon trains with the Grenn and Pyp, he provides instruction, rather than shaming them.
Jon takes the lift to the top of the Wall to speak with his Uncle Benjen, who is about to leave for a mission in the northern wild lands. Jon wants to go with him, but Benjen tells him no. "You're no ranger," he says. "Here, a man gets what he earns. When he earns it."
Lady Catelyn Stark and Ser Rodrik Cassel arrive at King's Landing hoping to keep a low profile, but they're met at the gates by the City Watch. One guard hands Cat a message from Lord Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish and escorts the travelers to a brothel to meet him. Furious with the undignified location, Cat rails against Littlefinger, who apologizes and tells her he chose a place no one would look for her. When Ned arrives, he's equally enraged - the fact that Littlefinger is obviously still in love with Cat doesn't help - but the information Baelish is able to provide is useful: The dragonbone dagger used in the attempt on Bran's life belongs to Tyrion Lannister. Littlefinger agrees to help them find the person who's responsible. Cat is confident they can trust Littlefinger, who she's known since childhood. Before she can attract any more attention, she leaves the city, bidding farewell to her husband.
Traveling across the plains of Essos, Daenerys Targaryen asks Ser Jorah Mormont where the Dothraki get their slaves. He explains that cities offer them as tribute to avoid attack by the horselords. Dany orders the entire horde to stop and walks into the grass. Soon her brother, Viserys Targaryen, storms up on his horse and accosts her for daring to give him a command. Before he can strike her, however, a whip cracks around his neck and pulls him to the ground. Rakharo, the bodyguard looking after Dany, takes Viserys' horse, forcing him to walk.
At camp, Dany's handmaiden Irri notices a change in her figure. Cupping one of her khaleesi's breasts, she announces that Dany is with child. Irri goes to Jorah and Rakharo searching for more nutritious food to feed Dany. When she shares the news with them, Jorah orders the slaughter of a goat before riding off into the night.
Jaime and Cersei meet privately to discuss Bran's awakening. Jaime holds his sister and assures her that the boy won't talk. "And if he does, I'll kill him, Ned Stark, the king, the whole bloody lot of them until you and I are the only people left in this world."
King Robert Baratheon, well into a pitcher of wine, exchanges war stories with Ser Barristan Selmy of the Kingsguard. He recounts killing a young man with his war hammer at the Battle of Summerhall. He then sends for Jaime and asks him what the Mad King Aerys said as he died. "He said the same thing he'd been saying for hours," Jaime replies. "Burn them all."
Tyrion drinks with Yoren at Castle Black, trading stories about life on the road. Benjen interrupts their joking, sternly requesting that Tyrion tell the king that the Night's Watch needs more support. "Half the boys you've seen training will die north of the Wall," he tells the dwarf. Tyrion replies that he doesn't believe in giants and ghouls and White Walkers beyond the wall. But Benjen, who's ventured into the far north, is not so quick to dismiss the notion. Later, Lord Commander Jeor Mormont also tells Tyrion that the wildlings are fleeing south in greater numbers every day. And one ranger swore he saw White Walkers - until the moment Ned Stark chopped his head off.
Tyrion decides he'll head south with Yoren to King's Landing, and he visits Jon atop the Wall to say goodbye. After fulfilling his own oath to piss from the top of the structure, the dwarf promises Jon that he'll carry his greetings to Bran. By way of comfort, Tyrion tells him: "If you're going to be a cripple, it's better to be a rich cripple."
Arya reports for her first "dancing lesson" with Syrio Forel, a master swordsman from the Free City of Braavos. He instructs her on the tenets of the Braavosi fighting style of water dancing as she tries to strike him with a wooden sword. Ned appears in the doorway to watch quietly. At first, he smiles at his daughter's talent, but his pleasure fades quickly as he realizes that Arya could very well be preparing for war.
Ned joins the King's Small Council at King's Landing, capital of the Seven Kingdoms, and learns just how poorly Westeros is being managed. Catelyn decides to go covertly to the south to warn her husband, but is intercepted by an old friend, Councillor Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish. Brandon learns he will never walk again. He does not remember that Jaime Lannister pushed him out of a tower, saying instead that he fell. Jon struggles to adapt to life on the Wall, as he trains with a number of low-born recruits who are not impressed by his bloodline. Tyrion, also visiting the Wall, is beseeched by the Watch Commander Lord Mormont to plead the King and Queen to send more men to join the Night's Watch, for powerful enemies are massing beyond the Wall. Daenerys, now possessing no small measure of control as Drogo's "Khaleesi", begins to stand up to Viserys.
Ned joins the King's Small Council at King's Landing, capital of the Seven Kingdoms, and learns just how poorly Westeros is being managed. Catelyn tries to covertly warn her husband, but is intercepted by an old friend, Councillor Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish. Bran learns he will never walk again. He does not remember the events leading to his fall. Jon struggles to adapt to life on the Wall, as he trains with a number of low-born recruits who are not impressed by his bloodline. Watch Commander Lord Mormont asks Tyrion to plead with the King to send more men to the Night's Watch. Daenerys learns that she is pregnant, and begins to stand up to Viserys.
Lord Stark and his daughters arrive at King's Landing. Jaime greets him, but manages to remind him about his brother's and father's deaths and that 500 men stood and watched. Stark asks if Lannister tells himself he was doing justice when he stabbed the Mad King Aerys Targaryen in the back, to avenge Ned's father. Stark meets Lord Petyr Baelish, who knew his brother Brandon. Brandon cut him down his middle, fighting for Catelyn Stark, Ned's wife. Grand Maester Pycelle, the king's counselor, and Varys, a eunuch, are also there. They plan to start the meeting without the king. They've been commanded to stage a tournament in honor of Stark being named Hand of the King. They mention the cost and Baelish says the crown is already 6 million in debt. They tell him the king doesn't always listen to advice about such things. Ned is appalled at the money mismanagement and wants to do away with the tournament. Cersei treats her son's wounds. He whines that the direwolf attacked him and all he did was scream. He's embarrassed the Stark girls saw it. She corrects him that he fought the wolf off and killed it. She tells him he'll be king and get to write his own stories. He asks if he has to marry Sansa. His mother says yes, but that he only has to see her once in a while. "If you'd rather f--- painted whores, you'll f---- painted whores," she tells her young son. "You are my darling boy and the world will be exactly at you'd like it to be." He thinks the people to the north should be taxed more and be forced to give up troops for the army. She explains the north cannot be held, it's too big and too wild. Part of being king is knowing when to fight and when to prepare against an enemy. "So you agree, Starks are enemies?" he asks "Anyone who isn't us are enemies," she says. At breakfast, Arya vents about the prince being a liar. She blames her sister Sansa for not telling the truth. Ned brings Sansa a doll, but she only fumes that she hasn't played with dolls since she was eight. Later, Ned visits Arya in her room, where she is playing with her sword from Jon Snow. Ned asks where she got it. She calls it "Needle."She tells her dad she asked Micah, the butcher's boy, to practice with her. She says she hates the Hound and the king and queen. Ned explains that Sansa has to take Joffrey's side, even when he's wrong. He reminds her of the Stark's words "Winter is coming." He warns her they have to protect each other. He says they've come to a dangerous place and cannot fight a war amongst themselves. He lets her keep the sword. Bran lies in bed as his nanny tells him about "a night that lasted a generation." She says the White Walkers came in that darkness for the first time, with their spiders "as big as hounds." Robb drops by. Bran doesn't remember anything. He says he fell. He's paralyzed. He says he'd rather be dead. Catelyn rides into King's Landing and is met by riders, instructing her to follow them. She finds she was summoned by Baelish. "You little worm!" she yells at being summoned to a brothel. Varys told her she was coming, but is evasive when asked how he knew. Varys asks to see the dagger but says he doesn't know who it belongs to. Baelish says it's his, but he lost it at a tournament -- to Tyrion Lannister, the imp. At the Wall, Jon Snow practices his sword work with other men and beats them all. Commander Mormont and Tyrion watch. He hands over a message brought by raven about Bran. Ned also gets a message. Baelish comes in and suggests he share the news with his wife. Ned takes him to the whorehouse where he's keeping her. After the practice, the one who got the worst of it from Jon jumps him with some friends. They hold a knife to his throat and threaten to throw him over the wall. Tyrion interrupts and suggest he'll tell his sister, the Queen, about it. Jon is upset that his father left him to rot at the Wall, not what he expected. Tyrion explains the men who were just trying to kill him didn't end up there by choice either. He points out they're not trained like him. Petyr promises he'll help the Starks, but asks them not to tell anyone. Cate says he's like a little brother to her and is a true friend. Ned tells his wife he can't do anything about the Lannisters without proof, but once he gets it, he'll go to the king. He sends her back to Winterfell. The king talks to a knight about their first kills. He remembers killing a Tully on the battlefield. He mocks Lancel Lannister, the boy who waits on him with wine. He's Jaime's cousin. The king calls for Jaime. He complains about being surrounded by Lannisters. The king mocks Jaime for having to stand sentry for him. The king is sauced. He asks about Jaime's first kill, an outlaw. He asks about what the Mad King Aerys Targaryen said before Jaime killed him. "He said the same thing he'd been saying for hours: Burn them all," Jaime says. The Dothraki continue on their trek. Jorah explains most of the Dothraki slaves are given as gift by cities they conquer. Daenerys sees a Dorthraki whack a slave and commands the entire horde to stop. Jorah says she's learning to talk like a Khalessi. She walks into the woods, but Viserys tracks her down, fuming at her for giving commands. He takes out his sword and tells her he gives the commands. Suddenly, there's a lasso around his neck and a kahl has him choking on the ground. Her subjects ask her what to do with her brother and she commands that he be let go. Viserys gets up incensed and commands Jorah to kill the man who attacked him, but he looks at Daenerys and suggests they return to the hordes. Viserys is left there, commanded to walk. Jon Snow rides an elevator-like contraption up to the top of the great Wall. It's freezing and desolate. He finds Benjen Stark, his uncle. They survey the impressive landscape below. Benjen announces he's leaving. As the First Ranger he has to go beyond the Wall and investigate "disturbing reports." He tells Jon he can't go because he's not a Ranger yet. Tyrion shares drinks with the man responsible for bringing recruits to the Wall. Benjen interrupts and takes affront at Tyrion taking the Wall work lightly. Tyrion says he admires Benjen, but he doesn't believe in the stories of giants and White Walkers beyond the Wall. Benjen says Tyrion has never been north of the wall, so he has no right to talk. Tyrion suggests he and the recruiter share the road back to King's Landing. Daenerys practices her Dorthraki. Her lady in waiting notices her body looks different. Daenerys is pregnant. Jorah talks with the khal who took on Viserys earlier, they share war stories. Daenerys' lady in waiting comes in and announces the Khalessi wants to eat something different for dinner. She tells them Daenerys is pregnant. Jorah announces he has to go give someone the news. At the Wall, Tyrion watches approvingly as Jon Snow teaches his fellow Wall fighters some moves. Tyrion hears the Wall doesn't have enough resources to defend against the north. They want him to tell Cersei they need help. They're worried that winter is coming. Daenerys lies in bed with Khal Drogo and tells him it's a boy. She's sure. Jon Snow asks Tyrion to tell Bran he misses him. Arya arrives for her sword lesson. Her teacher calls her "boy" and corrects her posture and grip. He takes her seriously and talks about how to sword fight. He challenges her to strike him. She lunges and flails, but he fends her off. She keeps at it. Ned watches approvingly, and then starts to imagine real swords and becomes alarmed with foreboding.