Ned Stark is imprisoned and accused of treason against king Joffrey. His daughter Arya was able to flee but her sister Sansa is held hostage. Sansa is ought to write a letter to her brother Rob to come to King's Landing to swear his oath of allegiance. Instead Robb gatheres the allies of his father around him and goes to war to free Ned. Catelyn Stark asks her sister Lysa Arryn for support in vain.
Tyrion Lennister allies up with the hill people of the valley of Arryn and promises the tribes a great reward if they accompany him to his father Tywin. Jon Snow and the men of the Night's Watch has to learn that the legend of the "White Walkers" is reality. After Daenerys experiences how the Dothraki raid a peaceful village and what fate the village people are awaiting she makes a decision.
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Below is the recap of this episode, which may contain spoilers if you have not seen it yet!
Arya and Syrio are at their sword fight training session when Eddard is captured by Lord Baelish while Sansa and Septa Mordane are on a walk within the castle. Soon the Lannister devoted guards take over and kill everyone in their way. The Septa hears the fighting and sends Sansa back to her room while Arya and Syrio are surprised by the Lannister guards who want to take Arya to her father.
The Braavosi Dance Master senses that something is wrong and sends Arya away while he sacrifices himself fighting the Lannister guards to give Arya time enough to escape. Instead of running to Eddard Arya hides in the dungeons of the castle. Meanwhile Sansa is caught by Sandor Clegane while running to her room. Arya makes it to the stables being unseen where the Stark's belongings are already packed up searching for her sword Needle when she is surprised by the stable boy who sees a chance to make it big with Queen Cersei by capturing the Stark girl. Arya sees no other chance than to use Needle and kills the stable boy.
At the dungeon cell Eddard is visited by Lord Varys who brings him water. He also tells Eddard that his youngest daughter has seemed to escape the castle while Sansa is still engaged to Joffrey and Queen Cersei keeping her close. The rest of Eddard's household is dead though. Eddard accuses Lord Varys to have stood by watching without doing a thing. Varys wants to know why Eddard had told Cersei that he knew about Joffrey's truth. That it was madness to do so and Eddard replies that it was the madness of mercy, wanting to give her a fair chance to save her children. Varys tells Eddard that it was his mercy that got the king killed. Varys also sees Eddard as a dead man but Eddard believes that the queen cannot kill him since his wife Catelyn holds her brother Tyrion. Varys informs him that Tyrion is a free man and no longer under Catelyn's guard. "If that is true, slit my throat and be done with it," Eddard asks of Lord Varys but he refuses. The last thing Eddard wants to know is whom Varys truly serves. "The realm, my lord. Someone must."
The two bodies found beyond the wall are brought to Castle Black for further examination. There is also no sign of Benjen Stark and the rest of his party. Sam notices that the bodies do not smell as they surely should if being dead for that long. Jon suggests to burn the bodies but the Lord Commander wants to examine them first praising Sam for being not stupid although he is a coward. He then is called to Maester Aemon who had received a raven message from King's Landing. Calling Jon Snow into his chambers Jeor Mormont tells him that the king is dead and that his father has been charged with treason for conspiring with Robert Baratheon's brothers to deny the throne against prince Joffrey.
Jon is outraged over this accusation and the Lord Commander has to remind him of his duty to the Night's Watch. The bear warns Jon Snow of doing anything stupid. Jon tells the Lord Commander that his sisters are in King's Landing, too. Jeor Mormont reassures Jon that they will be treated gently.
At King's Landing Sansa is pressured by queen Cersei, Lord Varys, Grand Maester Pycelle and Lord Baelish into being loyal to the Lannister family if she wants her father to live. They also threaten her not to getting married to prince Joffrey because she is the daughter of a traitor. Sansa tries with all might to defend herself and her love for Joffrey and receives support from Lord Baelish who claims that the child is innocent and should receive a chance to proof herself. Cersei forces Sansa to write a letter to her mother Catelyn and her brother Robb to keep the peace if she wants to help her father. Cersei also demands that the both come to King's Landing and swear their loyalty to prince Joffrey. Both things would be pivotal in what will happen to Eddard Stark.
Sansa's letter arrives at Winterfell and Maester Luwin tells Robb that it might be Sansa's hand writing but the queen's words. Robb is enraged and says if the queen wants him to come to King's Landing he will come, but not alone. Much to Theon Greyjoy's delight Robb asks Maester Luwin to call for the Banners, for all of them who have sworn loyalty to the house Stark. Maester Luwin agrees and does what he is told by sending ravens out to all directions.
At the Eyrie Catelyn is enraged that her sister has not informed her about the raven that had arrived earlier with the message of Ned's capture and Robb's plan to go to war with the Lannisters. Lysa has no intention of supporting Catelyn with another war her husband wants to fight. She right out refuses Catelyn's request to support her with the knights from the Eyrie.
Without knowing any of the events Tyrion and Bronn are on their way out of the Vale. Tyrion knows exactly why Bronn had defended him. It was not because he is a friend of his. It is because Tyrion can make him rich and provide a better living. Tyrion is also not interested in Bronn's friendship but in his facility of murder and he offers Bronn whenever the day comes he wanted to sell Tyrion out Bronn should remember whatever the price that Tyrion can beat it. During the night they are found by the hill clans of the Vale. Tyrion does what he does best talking them out of killing him by offering them not only good weapons but also the Vale itself as it was time for new lords to take over. Shagga of the Stone Crows agrees but does not want to leave the half man out of sight.
At Castle Black Jon Snow is troubled by the news he has received and Alliser Thorne uses the opportunity to even more insult him than usual. Getting him with the pride of his father Jon sees red and attacks Alliser. It is only because of his friends who hold him back that Thorne does not get killed. The Lord Commander, who observed everything, confines Jon to his quarters with the words that he had promised not to do something stupid.
During the night at his quarters Jon's dire wolf Ghost behaves restlessly. Sensing that something is wrong Jon lets the wolf lose and follows him to the Lord Commander's quarters. Jon enters the room leaving Ghost at the entrance and is attacked by one of the bodies they had brought in earlier. With Ghost locked out Jon fights for his life hitting the body of his attacker with a dagger before he can draw his sword and piercing the man's heart.
Upon the noise the Lord Commander awakens and both must see in horror that the to be believed dead man opens his bright blue eyes and attacking again. Instinctively Jon grabs the Lord Commander's lantern setting the dead man on fire and burning himself in the process. The fire does the trick and kills the undead being.
Across the Narrow Sea Khal Drogo's Khal raids a peaceful village, killing, raping and enslaving without the villagers having done anything to them. Daenerys is appalled. Ser Jorah Mormont explains to her that although the Dothraki do not care about money they need the gold for the slaves to hire her ships to sail to Westeros.
Taking pity on one of the women she asks Jorah to get her and the other women to her since she claims them as being hers. The blood rider Mago is outraged feeling been robbed of his award and complains to Khal Drogo about it. Daenerys tells Khal Drogo the truth about her wanting to save the women. It is not right that the Dothraki mount a woman without taking them as wives. A Dothraki would never marry a lamb holder, Mago claims. Daenerys puts her foot down by telling Mago that the dragon feeds on the horse and the lamb alike. Mago does not accept being commanded by a foreigner and insults her. Khal Drogo stands on Daenerys side and takes it upon himself to fight Mago getting injured in the process before he kills Mago with his bare hands.
The woman Daenerys has rescued offers her help to treat Khal Drogo's wound and introduces herself as Mirri Maz Duur, a witch who has learnt about healing ointments from her mother. Daenerys begs Khal Drogo to get treated by that woman and he agrees only to do Daenerys a favour.
At Winterfell the loyal banners of the house Stark have gathered. Greatjon Umber does not agree with Robb's tactics and threatens to take his men and leave. Robb realises that if he succeeds in the Greatjon accepting him as a leader the others will too. He allows the Umber to leave but threatens him when he is finished with the Lannisters to come for him next, to burn him out of his keep and hang him for an oath breaker. Tempers flare and Robb's dire wolf defends him by attacking the Greatjon who loses two fingers in the process. Getting back up the Greatjon shows his admiration for the green Robb being so tough and accepts him as the leader.
Just before he leaves in the night Robb enters Bran's room to say goodbye. He tells Bran that while he is away he is now the lord of Winterfell and that under no circumstances he is to leave the castle and to listen to Maester Luwin.
Soon after Rickon enters Bran's room complaining that everyone has gone away. Bran tries to assure him that Robb and his mother will soon return. With a certainty bordering to knowledge Rickon says No, they won't!
The following day Bran prays to the heart tree when the wildling girl Osha approaches him. She says the gods Bran is praying to are her gods too and that beyond the wall they are the only gods. She also knows the gods are answering to Bran's questions but he can only hear the wind. Osha is convinced that Robb will receive no help from the gods where he is going. The old gods have no power in the south because the trees were all cut down and how can the gods watch if they don't have eyes. Osha begs Bran to tell Robb that he is marching into the wrong direction. Robb should march north not south because the cold winds are rising and the danger is coming from the north.
Outside Castle Black the men of the Night's Watch burn the two bodies they have found. Sam announces that they were touched by White Walkers. That is why they came back and that is why their eyes turned blue. Only fire will stop them. Jon wants to know how Sam knows about that and Sam explains that he read it in a very old book at Maester Aemon's library. The book also says that the White Walkers sleep for thousands of years and when they wake up Sam hopes that the wall is high enough.
Catelyn Stark and Ser Rodrik Cassel join Robb at his camp where he plots out his moves against the Lannisters. The river lords are falling back with Jaime Lannister at their heels. And Tywin Lannister is bringing in a second army from the south. Not wanting to undermine her son's authority Catelyn waits until they are alone before she greets him like a mother greets her son and scolds him for leading the men. "There was no one else", Robb tells her. Catelyn realises that she cannot treat Robb as a young boy anymore. Robb shows her the letter Sansa wrote. As there is no mention of Arya Catelyn starts helping her son with advice. Bending the knee to Joffrey is out of the question and she tells Robb that their only hope is to defeat the Lannisters in the field. Losing is not an option. Losing means that Ned will die along with the entire north.
Tyrion along with Bronn and the hill tribes men approach the camp of his father Tywin who is surprised to see his son free and alive. Tyrion introduces Shagga, chief of the Stone Crows, Timmet, ruler of the Burned Men, Chella, leader of the Black Ears and Bronn. All of them don't find the liking of Tywin Lannister. Tyrion is briefly updated on the events of king Baratheon's death, Eddard Stark being imprisoned and Robb Stark marching against the Lannisters. Tywin is in a good mood since Jaime has already defeated the river land army at the Golden Tooth. He also thinks that Robb is so green behind the ears that victory is soon his. Tyrion doubts that having met Robb before. They are interrupted by a messenger letting them know that Robb and his army have crossed the Neck. Tywin asks the hill tribes to ride with him and they shall have everything Tyrion had promised them and more. Shagga agrees but only if Tyrion rides with them so they can have an eye on him.
At Robb's camp the discussion on how to defeat Tywin Lannister is in full swing. The Greatjon suggests to get around Tywin Lannister and break Jaime Lannister's siege on Riverrun to gain the help of the river lords. In order to do that they would need to cross the river and the only crossing is at the Twins which is held by lord Frey who is a banner man of the house Tully, Catelyn's family. The late lord Frey Catelyn's father calls him ever since he did not appear at the Trident until the battle was done. The decision to ride against Jaime or Tywin Lannister is interrupted when a Lannister scout is captured while counting the strength of Robb's army. To the astonishment of his advisors Robb lets the scout free with a message for lord Tywin. The message that 20,000 northerners are marching against him to find out whether he really shits gold. The Greatjon Umber is not pleased at all.
At King's Landing Eddard rots in his cell while Sansa joins the council room where Joffrey sits on the throne and the council is announcing various changes. Tywin Lannister shall become hand of the king. Queen Cersei also dismiss Ser Barristan Selmy from his job as being the Lord Commander of the kings guard. Something that is unheard of as the king's guard is a brotherhood sworn to fulfil the duty to protect the king until death. As the only honourable man left he poses a threat to the queen's plans. Selmy is not pleased and leaves the room in anger.
The last topic on the day's agenda is for anyone who wants to speak up before the queen to do so now. Sansa steps up to ask for mercy to her father. She clearly does what she was told to do in order to save her father. In front of the gathered people she claims that her father needs to be punished for his treason but she also asks for mercy. Joffrey will grant the mercy only if Eddard Stark confess that Joffrey is the king. Sansa promises that her father will make the confession.