Arya Stark stands in the square of King's Landing clutching Yoren, a recruiter from the Night's Watch. Lord Ned Stark has just been executed on the order of King Joffrey, and the mob roars as Ser Ilyn Payne holds up the lord's severed head. Yoren drags Arya away to an alley, where he chops off her hair with a knife, asking her, "Do you want to live, boy?"
Bran Stark has a dream at Winterfell in which a three-eyed raven leads him to the castle's crypts, where he meets his father. After Bran wakes, Osha carries him to the crypt, where he finds young Rickon Stark with his wolf, Shaggydog. Rickon had the same dream. As the boys return to the courtyard, Maester Luwin opens a scroll with news of Ned's death.
Lady Catelyn Stark, beside herself in the Riverlands, finds her son Lord Robb Stark alone in the forest, hacking at a tree with his sword. Both in tears, Robb and Catelyn embrace, and he swears that he'll kill all of their enemies. "They have your sisters," Catelyn tells him. "We have to get the girls back, and then we will kill them all."
In the throne room of the Red Keep, Joffrey listens as the bard Marillion is forced to sing a rude song about the royal family that he was caught performing at a tavern. Joffrey orders the singer's tongue cut out and then dismisses the court. He leads Sansa Stark to the castle's ramparts, where her father's head is displayed on a spear. Initially she's revolted, but when Joffrey forces her to look, Sansa's fear is replaced with quiet, seething anger. Joffrey promises to deliver Robb's head to her next, and Sansa replies: "Or maybe he'll give me yours," which earns her a brutal slap from Ser Meryn Trant.
At the Starks' war encampment, Robb's bannermen discuss lords Renly and Stannis Baratheon's claims to the throne. Greatjon Umber spits on the ground and lays his sword at Robb's feet, declaring the young man King in the North. Robb stands, and the other men follow suit, swearing fealty to their new king. Catelyn looks on as the men's chants echo through the camp and then leaves to interrogate Jaime Lannister. Jaime admits that he threw Bran from the window. Catelyn demands to know why, and Jaime replies: "I hoped the fall would kill him."
Word of Jaime's capture reaches the Lannisters (Cersei Lannister receives the message while sharing a bed with her cousin Lancel). At the family's war camp, Tywin Lannister discusses the situation with his council. Tyrion Lannister points out that the possibility of negotiating with Robb died along with Ned. Tywin orders his bannermen to leave and tells Tyrion to ride to King's Landing and serve as Hand of the King. "Bring that boy king to heel," the patriarch says, "and his mother too, if need be." On his way out, Tywin forbids his son to take the whore, Shae, to court with him.
Daenerys Targaryen wakes to find that her child has been born dead and deformed, while her khalasar has deserted her. The witch Mirri Maz Dur traded the infant's life for that of Khal Drogo, but the horselord - while technically living - is mute, unmoving and unable to rule. Mirri admits that she tricked Daenerys as punishment for sacking her village. "You will see exactly what life is worth when all the rest is gone," she says. Later, inside her tent, Dany bids farewell to Drogo before smothering him with a pillow.
At Castle Black, Jon Snow prepares to ride off into the night and join his brother's army. Samwell Tarly begs him not to leave, warning that he'll be killed as a deserter. Jon brushes past his friend. Farther down the road, Sam, Grenn and Pyp catch up with him. They surround Jon, repeating their vows and returning Longclaw to him. Begrudgingly, Jon returns to the castle. The next morning, Lord Commander Jeor Mormont tells Jon that he can't afford to punish every man who questions his oath. He'd have nothing but headless corpses to guard the realm. Besides, he needs Jon to join the force that Mormont will lead beyond the Wall. The Old Bear has decided to take the fight to the wildlings - and whatever else lives in the frozen forests. "When dead men and worse come hunting for us in the night," Mormont asks, "do you think it matters who sits on the Iron Throne?" The next day, the men of the Night's Watch arm themselves and ride out, unsure of what enemy they face.
Lord Varys and Littlefinger trade jibes as they wait for Joffrey to attend council. They look at the throne and ask: What would you do, if you were to sit on it? Each man's disdain for his rival is matched only by a mutual admiration. "And here we are," Varys says, "serving a new king."
In the streets outside the Red Keep, Yoren brings Arya to his caravan, warning her to watch herself among the hard men he's gathered for the Night's Watch. Immediately, two boys notice her sword and try to bully her into giving it up. But Arya draws the blade and points it at one boy's belly, saying, "I already killed one fat boy. I bet you've never killed anyone..." The armorer's apprentice, Gendry, steps in to break up the argument just as the caravan begins to leave for the Wall.
Daenerys stands before a massive pyre topped with Khal Drogo's corpse as Rakharo places her priceless dragon eggs next to the body. Dany orders that Mirri Maz Dur be tied to a stake and burned along with the horselord she killed. Daenerys then frees all the remaining slaves, some of whom decide to stay with her. At the touch of her torch, the pyre grows into a massive inferno. Mirri screams in agony, and Dany walks into the flames. Ser Jorah Mormont and the freed slaves look on.
At dawn, Jorah walks into the piles of smoldering ash and finds Daenerys, untouched by the flames and holding three small dragons. She rises from the charred ground with one of the beasts perched on her shoulder. Taking a breath, the creature spreads its wings, releasing a shriek the world hasn't heard for hundreds of years.
The news of Ned's execution quickly spreads to all corners of the Seven Kingdoms, triggering seismic events for each member of the Stark family. The North secedes from the Seven Kingdoms and proclaims Robb as their king. With Jaime captured by the Starks and Robert's brothers challenging Joffrey's claim to the throne, Lord Tywin Lannister appoints his son Tyrion as King's Hand to keep Joffrey and Cersei in check. Jon plans to desert his post at the Wall to avenge his father; his friends convince him to stay, and he joins the Night's Watch in an expedition to find Benjen Stark beyond the Wall. Daenerys learns to her sorrow that her unborn son is dead and her Drogo has been left in a vegetative state due to the witch's treacherous magic. Unable to bear her husband's ruin, Daenerys ends his life and lights a funeral pyre. She burns the witch alive alongside Drogo's body and her three dragon's eggs, and walks into the flames herself as the fire reaches its peak. When the embers die the following morning, Daenerys rises, unharmed, flanked by three newborn dragons.
The North secedes from the Seven Kingdoms and proclaims Robb as their king. With Jaime captured by the Starks and Robert's brothers challenging Joffrey's claim to the throne, Tywin appoints Tyrion as King's Hand. Jon plans to desert his post at the Wall to avenge Eddard, but his friends convince him to stay and he instead joins a Night's Watch expedition to find Benjen beyond the Wall. Yoren, a Night's Watch recruiter, helps Arya escape King's Landing disguised as a boy while Joffrey plans to make Sansa his queen despite her father's execution. Daenerys learns that her unborn son is dead and Drogo has been left in a vegetative state due to the witch's treacherous magic. Daenerys ends Drogo's life and lights a funeral pyre. She burns the witch alive alongside Drogo's body and her three dragon eggs, and walks into the flames herself. When the embers die the following morning, Daenerys rises, unharmed, flanked by three newborn dragons. Jorah and other witnesses kneel before her.
The executioner's sword drips with Ned Stark's blood. The crowd cheers as he lifts the severed head. Arya looks away in the crowd and Yoren makes a point of calling her "boy" repeatedly as he takes her away. He cuts off her hair as he tells her they're going North. At Winterfell, Bran follows the three-eyed raven again. He walks in his dream. He tells the wildling Osha about his dream and that he followed the raven down into the crypt. She carries him on her shoulders and he takes her on a tour, pointing out his grandfather, who was burned alive by the Mad King Aerys Targaryen, and Lyanna, who was supposed to marry Robert but was kidnapped by Rhaegar Targaryen. Robert started a war to get her back, but she died anyway. He shows her the place where he saw their father. They're startled by his younger brother who says he also saw their father down there last night in his dreams. She tries to reassure him it was only a dream, but when they see Maester Luwin they can tell the news is bad. Catelyn Stark walks stoically through camp after hearing of her husband's execution. She collapses against a tree and cries. She finds Robb hacking away violently on a tree, tears streaming down his face. He vows to kill them all. Catelyn agrees they will, as soon as they get his sisters back. Sansa Stark listens to a dirty ditty about King Robert sung by a man in court. King Joffrey disapproves and, after playing a cruel game with him, orders the man's tongue cut out. Sansa watches in horror. She keeps it together as a cheery Joffrey comes to talk to her. "As soon as you've had your blood, I'll put a son in you," he tells her. Outside the castle keep, he forces her to look at her father's severed head on a pike on the wall. She begs to go home, but he only forces her to stare instead. He points out her dead Septa too and promises to present her with her brother's head someday. When she says she'd prefer her brother give her Joffrey's, the brat king orders his man to hit her since it is not the custom of the King to strike his woman. Sansa contemplates pushing Joffrey off a ledge. The Hound advises her to save herself some pain and do what Joffrey wants. Robb and his bannermen debate who should be King, Renly or Stannis Baratheon. One suggests Robb instead, as the King of the North. One by one the bannermen pledge their fealty to Robb. Later, Catelyn pays a visit to Jaime Lannister, who they have tied to a post. He tells her widowhood becomes her. "Your bed must be lonely, is that why you came?" he asks, and continues to sweet talk her. She bashes him in the face with a rock. He claims to not fear death. She asks him how Bran fell. He admits that he pushed him. "I hoped the fall would kill him," he says. She asks why, but he only suggests she get some sleep. "It's going to be a long war," he says. Cersei reads a letter and orders her naked young cousin Lancel to wait for her in bed. Tywin Lannister's men debate what to do next. His dwarf son Tyrion suggests peace is impossible since Joffrey had Ned killed. Tywin says Tyrion is right and now they can't make peace with Robb and have to deal with Robert's brothers. "I always thought you were a stunted fool. Perhaps I was wrong," Tywin says. "Half wrong," says Tyrion. Tywin wants Tyrion to go to Kings Landing to serve as hand of the King to get Joffrey to fall in line. Tyrion is surprised at the assignment, but Tywin says it's because he's his son. But he tells Tyrion he can't bring his "whore" with him. Daenerys wakes up after giving birth. Ser Jorah has to break the news to her that her son died. Mirri Maz Duur, the captive maegi, says the infant was monstrous with scales and small wings. She reminds Daenerys she warned her only death can buy life. Daenerys goes to see Drogo. She finds that the Dothraki have left to follow a stronger Khal. When she sees Drogo, he's catatonic. Mirri tells her Drogo burned her temple and three of the riders had already raped her when Daenerys "saved" her. She doesn't apologize for what she has left Daenerys with and says that her son only would have brought more pain and pillaging. At the Wall, Sam tries to talk Jon Snow out of leaving, reminding him what happens to deserters. Snow rides off, followed by his direwolf. Tyrion explains to Shae, the whore, that his father said she can't go. But then, he says, his father has always been a (c-word). He invites Shae to come with him. Jon rides away from Castle Black, followed by riders. He stops when he hears who's following him. It's Sam and his friends, coming to get him so he doesn't break his oath. They remind him of his vow, reciting it for him. Daenerys tends to Drogo in her tent, talking to him even though he doesn't respond. She urges him to fight. She tells him he'll return when the sun rises in the west and sets in the east, he'll return to her. She cries and kisses him. Then she gently puts a pillow over his face and lovingly smothers her husband. Maester Pycelle talks to someone unseen about the many many Kings he's served. Aerys Targaryen was a good man before madness took him, he says. Ros washes up as he says Joffrey is stern and he senses true greatness on the horizon for him. After Ros leaves, Pycelle gets up and does some spry squats and stretches then gets dressed and goes back to his stooped shuffle. Varys finds Petyr staring at the throne. They admire each other's abilities to ingratiate themselves with royalty. They bow as Joffrey arrives. Yoren drills Arya on her new identity: Arry the orphan boy. She runs into two boys who hassle her for her sword. She gets knocked down and appears to cower, but then she draws her sword and stares one down, warning that she already killed one fat boy that day. She meets Gendry, an armorer's apprentice and King Robert's bastard son, who is also making the trip to the wall. They head out. At the Wall, Ser Mormont notices that Jon Snow looks exhausted and asks if his moonlight ride was that tiring. He knows. "Honor made you leave, honor brought you back," Mormont says. Jon tries to explain that his Night's Watch brethren brought him back to which Mormont responds, "I didn't say it was your honor." Mormont says beyond the wall the rangers are finding villages abandoned and the tribes might be uniting in a secret stronghold. He reminds Jon that what happens at King's Landing doesn't matter in light of whatever is happening beyond the wall. He wants Jon and his wolf to ride with him beyond the wall tomorrow night. The Rangers prepare to head out as Mormont speaks. "I'll not sit meekly by and wait for the snows. I want to find out what's happening. The Night's Watch will ride in force against the wildlings, the White Walkers and whatever else is out there. We will find Benjen Stark, alive or dead. I will command them myself, so I'll only ask them once, Lord Snow: Are you a brother of the Night's Watch or a bastard boy who wants to play at war?" Jon is then seen riding out beyond the Wall with the rest of the Night's Watch. Drogo's body sits on a funeral pyre, waiting to be lit. Daenerys commands that her dragon eggs be left with him, even though she could sell them for a fortune. Ser Jorah tells her he knows what she intends and he won't stand by as she climbs on the pyre. "Is that what you think?" she says, and leans in to kiss him softly on the cheek. She addresses the few remaining people. She tells them she is freeing them. Those that want to go can, and those that stay will be free to be brothers and sisters, husbands and wives. She orders Jorah to tie Mirri to the pyre. She tells the rest that anyone who harms them will die screaming. The maegi chuckles and defiantly vows to not die screaming as she is led away. Daenerys delivers her statement:"I am Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen of the blood of Valyria. I am the daughter of the dragon and I swear to you that those who will harm you will die screaming." As Jorah binds Mirri to the pyre, she counters: "You will not hear me scream!" Daenerys barely looks in her direction. "I will," she says dispassionately and with certainty. "But it is not your screams I want, only your life." The Khaleesi takes the torch and lights the pyre as Mirri begins a sing-song chant which turn to screams of agony and terror: "No no no" Daenerys calmly steps inside the ring of fire and continues walking toward the blazing pyre. The next day, dozens remain as the embers smolder. Ser Jorah approaches the pyre and finds Daenerys seated naked, befouled with soot, but unharmed, and holding something. Muted snarls are heard as a small dragon climbs up her back and stands erect on her right shoulder. It spreads his tiny red wings and emits a fearful and chilling shriek. Another is cradled in her lap and as she stands, a third at her feet makes its way up her outer left thigh. Ser Jorah bends to kneel with the oath: "Blood of my blood." Those remaining kneel to her, the blood of the dragon. She stands with a resolute and distant look in her eyes, and it is clear that this young widow is one with whom those who have wronged her will be forced to reckon.