With his friend Robert Baratheon in need to have a trustworthy person at his side Ned Stark leaves Winterfell to accompany the king to King's Landing, the seat of the seven kingdoms. Ned is accompanied by his two daughters Sansa and Arya while Bran remains in Winterfell to recover from his fall.
Ever since the founding of Winterfell generations ago there has always been a Stark in Winterfell. Ned's oldest son Robb stays to lead the old fortress with the help of Maester Luwin. Jon Snow, Ned's bastard son, also leaves Winterfell to join the noble order of the Night's Watch, protector of the Wall up north against what lives beyond.
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Below is the recap of this episode, which may contain spoilers if you have not seen it yet!
Across the Narrow Sea Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) struggles with her new life as the wife of Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa). The ride to the Dothraki homeland is hard and food is scarce but with the help of her servants and Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) she finds herself coping better and better with her fate. The one thing giving her support are the three petrified dragon eggs she received at her wedding as a gift from Magister Illyrio Mopatis (Roger Allam) and a legend that the moon is believed to be a dragon egg from which in the fire many dragons hatched.
Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) reveals to Viserys (Harry Lloyd) why he fled Westeros. He brought shame on the house of Mormont by selling caught poachers as slaves. Slave trade is considered a sin and Lord Eddard Stark (Sean Bean) went after him to bring him to justice.
At Winterfell the preparations to leave for Eddard (Sean Bean) and his two daughters Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Arya (Maisie Williams) with the king are overshadowed by Bran's (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) fall from which he still has not awoken. Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) forces Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) to give his condolences which he doesn't want to give since he does not care. It is also Tyrion suspecting his siblings Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Cersei (Lena Headey) having something to do with the fall.
Jon Snow (Kit Harington) also prepares to leave for the Night's Watch by giving Arya (Maisie Williams) a gift. Being fond of the girl's tomboyness he gives her an especially for her forged sword he let make by Mikken the blacksmith. He tells her that he will miss her and that all good swords had a name. Arya calls the sword needle because Sansa (Sophie Turner) was good with needlework and she was not but now she had a needle of her own.
Jon (Kit Harington) also says good-bye to Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) by telling him he'll be waiting for him to wake up and when he feels better to come and visit the Wall, something Bran had always wanted to do. Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) once more shows her resentment towards Jon by requesting him to leave Bran's bedroom. Eddard's leave for King's Landing being not only a reminder to her that the last time when Ned was away he brought back another woman's son but also that this could happen again. Her goodbye to Ned is one full of accusation and sorrow.
At the Kingsroad the party of Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) along with Eddard Stark (Sean Bean), Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Arya (Maisie Williams), and the one of Jon Snow (Kit Harington) along with Benjen Stark (Joseph Mawle) and Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) who always wanted to see the Wall go their separate ways. One to the north, the other one to the south. Eddard's last words to Jon are intended to encourage Jon. It was a great honour to serve in the Night's Watch. And even though Jon may not have the name Stark, he has the Stark's blood. Jon's question about his mother Eddard leaves unanswered but promises to answer when they meet again.
On the way to the Night's Watch Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) has some advising words for Jon Snow (Kit Harington) who slowly starts to like the dwarf. Tyrion tries to open Jon's eyes for the Night's Watch to see what it really is. An assembly of criminals and scum and that it has nothing to do with honour at all. Tyrion also does not believe in the myth of monsters behind the Wall and declares it being all nonsense.
King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) meanwhile learns about the marriage between Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) and fears that Drogo will cross the Narrow Sea to attack and get the Iron Throne back for the Targaryens.
Back at Winterfell Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) cares only about watching over her sick son Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) while neglecting her other son Rickon and her duties at Winterfell. During the night an assassin visits Bran's bedroom trying to kill him. Although Catelyn tries to protect Bran it is Summer, Bran's dire wolf, ripping out the assassin's throat.
The assassination try makes Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) suspicious. She thinks that Bran's (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) fall might not have been a fall after all and she suspects the Lannisters having something to do with it. She and Ser Rodrik Cassel leave Winterfell for King's Landing to inform her husband Eddard (Sean Bean) and thus ultimately king Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy).
Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) try to get to know each other a little bit more and go for a walk where they run into Arya (Maisie Williams) and the butcher's boy playing knights with wooden sticks. Already drunk from too much wine Joffrey starts harassing the butcher's boy. When he hurts the boy Arya attacks Joffrey who attacks in return Arya. Arya's dire wolf Nymeria bites Joffrey to protect her and Arya throws Joffrey's sword into the river and runs away. When Joffrey's people search for her she chases her dire wolf Nymeria away to protect it from getting killed. Then she gets captured by the Lannisters.
Eddard Stark (Sean Bean), also on the search for Arya (Maisie Williams) learns that she has been brought before the king on orders by Queen Cersei (Lena Headey). Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) lies and claims that Arya and the butcher's boy attacked him. It is word against word and Sansa (Sophie Turner) says she could not remember because she does not want to anger Prince Joffrey. King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) decides that the children need to be more disciplined and wants to let the matter go. But Cersei demands that Arya's wolf Nymeria should be killed. Since there is no trace of Nymeria she demands Sansa's dire wolf Lady to be killed instead. Eddard, in the need to show his loyalty, but torn, in the end kills Lady, Sansa's dire wolf himself.
The moment Lady dies Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) opens his eyes at Winterfell with his dire wolf Summer lying beside him on the bed.