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.
Tyrion shares saddle modifications for Bran that will allow the paraplegic boy to ride before heading south. Ned searches for clues to the unexplained death of his mentor and predecessor Jon Arryn 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. At a chance encounter in a roadside tavern, Catelyn rallies her father's allies and has Tyrion arrested for conspiring to murder her son.
Bran follows a raven through the empty courtyard. He's walking. He follows it until he's close enough to see it has three eyes. He wakes up in bed with his direwolf on his bed and old nanny at his bedside. Theon Grey Joy, the ward of Ned Stark, tells Bran his brother Robb is there to visit. Tyrion pays a visit to Robb and is put out that he's not greeted more warmly. Someone carries Bran in to see Tyrion. Maester Luwin reiterates that Bran didn't see anything when he fell. Tyrion gives Bran drawings for a saddle that he can ride without use of his legs. "I have a tender spot in my heart for cripples, bastards and broken things," Tyrion says. But he wants none of Robb's false hospitalities, opting instead for the brothel outside Winterfell. Outside, Tyrion demands of Theon where Lady Stark is. He mocks Theon for being a captive, asking what his father would think to see him. He brings up his brothers' murders and his family's fall from power, then sets off to visit the whores. At the Wall, Samwell Tarley of Hornwill arrives to "take the black." [robes of the Night's Watch] but he's quickly knocked off his feet. Jon watches as he's whacked mercilessly, even after he yields. Jon steps in to protect Sam. As punishment, Jon is ordered to take on three guys at once. He makes short work of them. Even after the impressive display, he's ordered to go clean the armory. Sam picks himself up and Jon and the guys tell him he has to defend himself. Sam admits that he's a coward. He's still grateful to Jon for defending him. Khal Drogo leads the Dothraki to the City of the Horse Lords. Viserys says it's a city of mud and refers to the Dothraki as "savages." Daenerys says they're her people now and he shouldn't call them that, but he insists they're his people and his army. Daenerys privately asks Jorah if the Dorthraki could beat the seven kingdoms. He says Ned wants his head for selling slaves. Jorah says he had an expensive wife, but she's in another place with another man. Viserys gets a spongebath from Daenerys's sex teacher, who asks if he has dragon's blood. He tells her the breath of the greatest dragon forged the iron throne and brave men rode them. She's very impressed by dragons. She claims she saw a man who could change his face and a pirate who wore his weight in gold. Viserys says the last dragon died years before he was born, but he's seen their skulls approaching the Iron Throne. He recites dragon names as foreplay. She asks what happened to the skulls. He quickly turns on her for bumming him out and suspiciously asks what he bought her for. She stops talking and starts grinding. Sansa gets a tour of the Iron Throne. She worries what would happen if she only has girls. She thinks everyone would hate her. She thinks Joffrey hates her. Her nanny distracts her with history lessons. Sansa asks about her grandfather and uncle being killed in the hall, on the order of the Mad King. When her nanny tells her to ask her dad, she says she's not speaking to him. Ned and the King's Council hear a report that the city is having a hard time keeping the peace in the build up to the tournament he doesn't want. When they break, Ned asks Grand Maester Pycelle what happened to Lord Arryn. He says the sickness struck him very hard, and fast. He asked about a book the night he died. Pycelle shows him the book on the lineage and houses of the kingdoms of the seven kings. Ned reads the detailed birth records. Ned wonders what Arryn wanted with it, but Pycelle doesn't know. He tells him Arryn kept saying "the seed is strong" before he died. Ned asks if Pycelle is certain he died of a natural illness. Ned suggests poison, a woman's method. Pycelle suggests it's also the method of eunuchs and mentions Varys. Ned takes the book and finds Arya balancing on one foot at the top of a step, per her sword instructor's teachings. She asks if Bran is coming to live with them. She asks what he can do now, and what she can do. Her dad tells her she'll marry and her sons will be knights and princes and lords. "No, that's not me," she says, and gets back to practicing. On the Wall, Sam joins Jon to serve as his new watch partner. He's afraid of heights. Jon asks what Sam's doing there. His father was embarrassed by him and sent him away, under threat of a death in the woods that would look like an accident if he didn't go. Sam worries he'll be made to fight again. Jon assures him he at least can't get any worse. Petyr mentions Ser Hugh, Arryn's squire to Ned. As they walk among the courtyard, Petyr mentions all the spies about, reporting back to Varys, the Queen and Petyr himself. Petyr suggests Ned get someone to inquire to an armorer in the village about a visit he got from Ser Hugh. When Hugh refuses to talk to Ned's man, Ned goes to see the armorer himself. Ned talks to Gendry, who Lord Arryn talked to. Gendry says Arryn asked about his mother, who she was and what she looked like. Gendry said she had yellow hair but died when he was little. Ned seems to see something in him. He tells his man that Gendry is King Robert's bastard son. Ned's man finds Jaime Lannister outside King Robert's door, listening to him carouse with four women. Jaime says Robert does this when he's on duty, as an insult to his sister. Ned's man reminds Jaime they fought side by side at the Siege of Pike. Ned's man wants to leave a message from Lord Stark, but Jaime snarls that he doesn't serve Lord Stark. Back at the Wall, Jon Snow defends Sam against mockery from the other guys. He tells them they're not going to hurt Sam in the training yard, no matter what Thorn says. One guy mocks Jon, saying he'll cut Sam up. Later, Jon and the boys pay him a visit at night. They put a gag in his mouth and the white dire wolf snarls at him, and Jon tells him no one touches Sam. Later in the yard, Thorn commands the man to attack Sam, but the man only pokes at him weakly. Thorn sends another guy in and he promptly takes a dive. Thorn goes after Jon, then turns and asks the men if they want a "sniveling boy" to protect their back. Viserys drags the whore in by her hair and scolds Daenyrs for sending her to him. She says she only wanted to invite him to dinner and show him some Dothraki gear she had made for him. He snarls about her trying to turn him into one of them and throws her to the ground, insulting her. She whacks him with a gold chain, then gets up and tells him she is the Khalessi and the wife of a great warrior. She stands up to him. "The next time you raise a hand to me will be the last time you have hands," she warns him. At the Wall, Jon and Sam scrub tables as Sam complains that they have to be celibate to guard the wall. Sam confesses he's never been with a woman. Jon says he hasn't either. He says he was alone in a room with a naked girl once, a whore named Ros. But he reminds Sam he's a bastard who knows nothing about his mother. He thought of that and could only think what would happen if he got her pregnant and she had "another bastard named Snow." Thorn comes and growls at them. He asks if they remember the last winter. He spent six months beyond the Wall during the last winter. He tells them about getting caught unprotected in the weather. First they ate the horses, then each other. He says they should have had boys like Sam along. He tells them they're not ready to be Men of the Night's Watch. "Come the winter, you'll die, like flies," he says. Daenerys frets to Jorah about hitting her brother. She admits she doesn't want to see him on the throne. She doesn't think he could take back the Seven Kingdoms. "He couldn't lead an army even if my husband gave him one. He'll never take us home," she says. At a jousting match in Ned's honor, Sansa tries to make eyes at Joffrey but is rebuffed. Petyr chats up Sansa. King Robert drunkenly, and impatiently demands the joust begin. Ser Hugh of the Vale, Arryn's former squire, is taking on Gregor the Mountain, the Hound's larger brother. They race at each other and miss on the first pass. But on the second pass the former squire gets a lance through the jugular. Sansa and Arya shriek as the man gurgles in his blood and dies before them. Petyr tells Sansa a story about when the Mountain and the Hound were boys. Gregor found his little brother playing with his wooden knight one evening by the fire, so without a word Gregor held The Hound's face in the fire, giving him gnarly scars he still bears. Petyr warns Sansa that few people know that story and if The Hound knew she did, no one could save her. Cersei pays Ned a visit during the tournament. She suggests they put "the ugliness" with the wolves behind them. She says killing the wolf was a bit extreme. He cuts to the chase, asking what she's doing there. She says he won't be able to change the king. She says it makes sense, Ned's older brother was trained to lead and he was trained to follow. "I was also trained to kill my enemies, your grace," he says. "As was I," she says, and leaves. In a pub on the road, Catelyn hides her face as Tyrion comes in, but he sees her. He outs her in front of the commoners, but she reminds them she was Catelyn Tully last time she stayed there. She picks out men by their cudgels, pointing out for Tyrion's benefit that she knows everyone there and inquiring about their families. Then she turns on the room and announces that Tyrion came into her house as a guest and conspired to murder her son. She calls upon the crowd to seize him and return him to Winterfell to await the King's justice. All the men in the room draw their swords on Tyrion, who is trapped.