TV-MA | 1 HR 4 MIN
Written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Directed by Brian Kirk
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.