Tywin fears about the future of the family Lannister and goes to war. Ned has uncovered a dark secret of the king's family during his investigation of Jon Arryn's death and now confronts Cersei with it. At the wall Jon Snow swears his oath of the Night's Watch and learns that his uncle Benjen is missing.
To Jon's embarassment he is not chosen for the position he had wanted to have. After a murder attempt against Daenerys is stopped in time the enraged Khal Drogo swears to journey to Westeros. King Robert returns gravely injured from the hunt and the events come thick and fast.
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Below is the recap of this episode, which may contain spoilers if you have not seen it yet!
Tywin Lannister and his son Jaime have gathered their troops to prepare for battle and to free Tyrion Lannister from his imprisonment when Eddard Stark's message arrives to summon Tywin Lannister before the court.
Jaime admires Eddard's bravery but also laughs about his stupidity. Tywin on the other hand rebukes Jaime telling him that attacking the Stark was stupid and that Lannisters don't act like fools. Jaime tries to defend himself by claiming that Catelyn Stark had captured his brother. But that was not what his father had meant. He asks Jaime why Eddard Stark was still alive. It would not have been a clean victory for Jaime and his father laughs. Jaime spent too much time thinking about what other people are thinking of him.
Tywin Lannister gives Jaime 30,000 of his soldiers and orders him to bring the Stark girls to Catelyn reminding her that Lannisters always pay their debts. Jaime is surprised that his father would go to such length for Tyrion. He might be a low Lannister but he still is a Lannister, says Tywin. "You've been blessed with belonging to one of the most powerful families in the kingdom and you are still blessed with youth. What have you done with your blessings? You served as a glorified bodyguard for two kings. One a mad man and the other a drunk. The future of our family will be determined in the next few months. It could establish a dynasty that could last for thousands of years or we collapse into nothing as the Targaryens did. I need you to become the man you always were meant to be. Not next year, not tomorrow. Now!
At King's Landing Eddard Stark summons Queen Cersei to the gardens to let her know that he knows her secret John Arryn had died for. The secret that she and her brother Jaime had begot king Baratheon's heir and all of his children. Cersei explains that the Targaryens have always done that to keep their bloodlines pure and she confess that she and her twin brother are more than brother and sister. Eddard concludes that Bran had seen them and that that was the reason for his fall. Eddard also concludes that Cersei has always hated Robert. Cersei had worshiped Robert, was happy to become his wife but in their wedding night he whispered the name of Eddard Stark's sister Lyanna into her ear. "Your sister was a corpse and I was a living girl and he loved her more than me."
Eddard claims to tell king Robert Baratheon the truth and gives Cersei the opportunity to leave King's Landing with her children before he does. She tells Eddard that he had made a mistake not claiming the throne for himself when he had the chance. Eddard does not see that as a mistake. "If you play the Game of Thrones you either win or you die. There is no middle ground", says Queen Cersei.
At Lord Baelish's brothel Ros gets her fist lesson in how to being a good whore. "They just paid you. They know what you are. They know it is just an act. Your job is to make them forget what they know." He further muses about the true love of his life and about the man she had wanted to marry. Lord Baelish had challenged that Northerner to a duel believing in the little hero beating the big villain.
In the end his love would not even let him get killed. So, he had received a nice little scar. But his love's love had gotten himself killed before the wedding and she had ended up with his brother whom she now truly loves. Lord Baelish has learnt his lesson from that. He does not fight his enemies anymore with the sword, he cheats on them. That is what he is, that is what he has learnt. It is clear that he talks about Catelyn Tully and Eddard Stark.
Back at Winterfell Theon Greyjoy harass the wildling servant Osha having found a victim to show his being a lord too, even if not of Winterfell, but at least of the Iron Islands. Osha is saved by Maester Luwin telling Theon that Osha was a guest and as he should know being a prisoner and being treated as a guest does not exclude each other mutually. Maester Luwin wants to know why Osha had left her home beyond the wall. She had wanted to go as much south as south goes before the long night comes. She is afraid of the things that sleep in the day and hunt in the night and she does not mean owls and shadow cats.
Maester Luwin tries to explain to Osha that the things she is speaking of have been gone for thousands of years. And Osha tells him that they are not gone. They had been sleeping but now they are not sleeping anymore.
At the Night's Watch Jon Snow and Sam are on watch duty when Jon sees someone arriving before he realises that it is only a horse without a rider. Hoping that his fears don't come true Jon hurries down to see what's the matter but his fear is confirmed. The horse belongs to his uncle Benjen.
At King's Landing Eddard Stark receives news that king Robert Baratheon was heavily injured while hunting a boar. Lying on his death bed Robert dictates his last will to Eddard. Robert wants Eddard to serve as lord region and protector of the realm upon his death, to rule in his stead until his son Joffrey comes of age. Eddard makes a small change to that by not writing Joffrey but instead the rightful heir. Since both are alone in the room there is not a witness of what king Robert Baratheon has said. Robert signs the paper and asks Eddard to give that letter to the council when he is dead.
Robert is convinced that Eddard will hate the ruling more than he has had but is convinced that he will do it well. Eddard does not have the heart to tell Robert the truth about Joffrey. Robert also thanks Eddard for being honest with him about the Targaryen girl and that he was right in not wanting her murdered. He asks Eddard to stop the murder attempt if it is not too late.
Outside the king's room his younger brother Renly, Grand Maester Pycelle, Barrister Selmy and Lord Varys are waiting. While Selmy is full of guilt not having been able to help with the boar, Lord Varys wonders aloud about who gave the king so much wine. Barrister Selmy tells them it was his squire Lancel Lannister. Lord Varys alludes that it might be on purposes for the Lannister boy being at that time at that location doing what he did.
Eddard asks Lord Varys to unmake the arrangements to kill Daenerys Targaryen since the king had a change of heart but Lord Varys regretfully informs Eddard that it might be too late and the girl might already be dead.
Across the Narrow Sea Khal Drogo does not see any benefit in his son wanting an iron chair. To him the earth ends at the poisoned water no horse can cross. Daenerys tries to explain that the earth does not end there and that there are many more lands coming beyond it. While roaming a market Jorah Mormont leaves Daenerys with her servants alone to meet up with his informant from Westeros. A little boy calling him Jorah, the Andal, gives him a message from the spider and his congratulations and that he can now go home.
Meanwhile a wine merchants attracts the attention of Daenerys and her party. He offers her the best wine he possess, a wine from Dorne. When he realises that she speaks the Westeros language he throws away the wine and offers her a whole barrel of a better one as a gift for the true heir of the throne. Jorah Mormont observes the scene and intervenes.
Jorah forces the wine merchant to open the barrel and drink the wine first. He tries to talk his way out of it and Daenerys becomes suspicious. When she forces him to drink the wine the merchant runs away but is caught by blood riders accompanying her.
At Castle Black the recruits have finished their training and receive their positions within the Night's Watch from the Lord Commander himself. He reminds them that their names do not matter anymore. At the Wall there is only one house, that of the Night's Watch. And it was here where everyone begins anew. A man of the Night's Watch lives his life for the realm. Not for a lord or for this or that house. He lives not for gold or a woman's love. He asks them to carefully think about that before they speak their vows because the penalty for desertion is death.
The Lord Commander offers to make their vows at Castle Black and asks if anyone is serving the old gods. Jon Snow stands up as the only one wanting to take the vow before a heart tree just like his uncle had. Sam wants to accompany him although he was named in the light of the seven. Since the Night's Watch is his house now and the seven have never answered his prayers he hopes that perhaps the old gods will.
All of Jon Snow's friends see him becoming a ranger but that does not cheer him up. His thoughts are with his missing uncle Benjen who Jon is positive about being still alive. That changes when the lord commander reads the assignments everyone will take in the future. His friend Pypar goes to the Stewards, Grenn to the Rangers, Sam to the stewards and also Jon to the stewards and not to the rangers as he had hoped.
Jon is disappointed and furious because it was clear not only to him but to everyone else that he would become a ranger. When Maester Aemon calls his stewards to tell them whom they have to serve in the future and Jon learns that he will be the Lord Commander's personal steward he lets out his anger and leaves.
Sam and Pyp follow him to bring him to reason. Jon only sees Alliser Thorne's revenge on him by getting the position of a steward. He is a better swordsman and a better rider than any of them and he sees this is not being fair. Pyp blows up then telling him his true story why he had to go to the Night's Watch. That a high lord harassed him sexually and when he didn't play the game he had no other choice but to join the brotherhood. Jon is shocked.
And it is Sam who opens up Jon's eyes. The Lord Commander had not chosen him to be his maid and servant but to prepare Jon to become the next Lord Commander. Yes, he would need to change the Lord Commander's bed clothes but he also will read his letters, attend meetings and would be in the know of all. Jon admits that he only wanted to be a ranger and Same makes him laugh with his reply: "I always wanted to be a wizard." We don't always get what we want and Jon promises Sam to take his vow and not to leave the Night's Watch.
At King's Landing Renly Baratheon requests a talk with Eddard in private. Renly warns Eddard about Queen Cersei not following his command as the protector of the realm even though king Robert had decreed it in his last will. He offers to put hundred men together at Eddard's disposal suggesting to get Joffrey Baratheon into their custody before king Robert dies and Queen Cersei can seize the power to rule the kingdom through her son. Eddard asks about Stannis Baratheon, Robert's older brother, and thus the legitimate heir to the throne.
Renly says that his older brother inspires no love of loyalty and that he was a better king anyhow. Eddard explains to Renly that Stannis is a commander and had battle experience through leading men through two wars and had destroyed the Greyjoy fleet. And Eddard, as a honest and loyal man, refuses to go through with Renly's plan. Instead he orders a messenger to sail to Dragonstone, lord Stannis' seat, and to place Eddard's message to Stannis Baratheon's hands and his hands alone.
When the messenger leaves lord Baelish enters Eddard's chambers. Eddard tells him that the king has no true-born sons and that Joffrey Baratheon is Jaime Lannister's bastard. So when the king dies the throne will pass to his brother Stannis. Baelish advises to have Joffrey succeed and deny the throne to Stannis only to sit Renly on the throne when Stannis protests by revealing Joffrey Baratheon's little bastard secret. He also suggests to Eddard to make peace with the Lannisters. But Eddard cannot do that. Jaime Lannister not only attacked and stabbed him but also tried to murder his son Bran. "So it is Stannis and war", says lord Baelish.
Eddard wants Baelish to help Eddard to win over the gold cloaks. The city watch is 2,000 men strong and sworn to defend the king's peace. And lord Baelish asks Eddard what will happen when the queen proclaims one king and the protector of the realm another. On what side would the gold cloaks be? Whom would they serve? Always the one that can pay them.
At Castle Black Jon Snow and Sam Tarly go through the tunnel beyond the wall to give their vows to the Night's Watch in front of the heart tree, the symbol of the old gods.
Hear my words and bear witness to my vow. Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the shield that guards the realm of men. I pledge my life and my honour to the Night's Watch for this night and all the nights to come.
While congratulating each other to be now men of the Night's Watch Ghost, Jon's dire wolf, returns with a cut off human hand.
Across the Narrow Sea Daenerys and Ser Jorah Mormont talk about the wine merchant's fate. Jorah explains when the Khalesar rises the wine merchant will be leashed to the saddle of one of the horses. Falling means certain death. Daenerys does not understand why king Robert Baratheon wants her dead, especially now since Viserys is dead. Jorah explains to her that she still is a threat and that the murder attempts will not stop. She is the last Targaryen and her son will have Targaryen blood with 40,000 riders behind him.
Khal Drogo is angry, very angry that someone had wanted Daenerys dead and he makes a vow. "And to my son, the stallion who will mount the world, I will also pledge a gift. I will give him the iron chair that his mother's father sat upon. I will give him Seven Kingdoms. I, Drogo will do this. I will take my Khalasar west to where the world ends and ride wooden horses across the black salt water as no Khal has done before. I will kill the men in iron suits and tear down their stone houses... This I vow."
At King's Landing Eddard's presence is urgently requested at the king's room by queen Cersei and Joffrey Baratheon. The king is dead. Lord Baelish informs Eddard that the city watch is his. He also learns that lord Renly has left the city. Joffrey announces to make all preparations for his coronation while already sitting on the iron throne and demanding oaths of loyalty from the small council. Eddard begs Ser Barrister to read the last will king Robert Baratheon had dictated to Eddard making him the protector of the realm until the heir comes of age.
Queen Cersei takes the letter and tears it into pieces. It is only a piece of paper she claims. She also demands Eddard to swear loyalty to her son and they will allow him to live. And Eddard uses the only weapon he has. He declares Joffrey as the bastard son of Jaime Lannister and not being the true heir to the iron throne ordering the city watch to take queen Cersei and Joffrey into custody. Someone yells now and the city watch starts killing Queen Cersei's guards. Lord Baelish uses the tumult to capture Eddard, telling him: "I did warn you not to trust me."