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."
"Only death can pay for life."
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.
"Those who hurt you will die screaming."
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.