Reinstated as the Hand, Ned sits for the King while Robert is on a hunt, and issues a decree that could have long-term consequences throughout the Seven Kingdoms. At the Eyrie, Tyrion confesses to his “crimes,” and demands that Lysa give him a trial by combat. Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) apologizes to Sansa; Viserys receives his final payment for Daenerys from Drogo (Jason Momoa).
The episode begins with the bleary-eyed awakening of Eddard Stark, sweating and groggy, to find King Robert and Queen Cersei in his bedroom. He is convalescing from the wound he suffered in his leg, and seems feverish. He apologizes to Robert. Cersei is furious, claiming Eddard and his men were returning drunk from a brothel and demanding to know what right his wife had to seize her brother Tyrion. Eddard claims it was done at his command. Robert commands Lord Stark to see Tyrion returned, and makes it plain he wants to hear no more of it. Cersei, angered at his passivity, tells him he she should have had the sword and he a dress, which leads Robert to slap her on the face. “I shall wear this as a badge of honor,” she tells him. “Wear it in silence or I’ll honor you again,” is Robert’s reply, and Cersei leaves the room.
Robert pours wine for himself, and admits that was not kingly. Eddard pushes to be able to go and return Jaime to King’s Landing to see justice done for the murder of his men, but Robert absolutely refuses, saying he wants peace. Eddard then asks after the Targaryen girl and Robert’s plan to have her assassinated, but Robert refuses to discuss it. He tells Eddard to wear his badge of office as Hand, or he swears by the Mother that he’ll pin it on Jaime Lannister.
Daenerys in Vaes Dothrak is alone, and for some reason is moved to place one of her eggs in a hot brazier filled with coals. She leaves it there for a time, then lifts it, only to have Irri arrive and see what she’s doing. She runs to Daenerys, pulling the egg from her hands and then with a yelp of pain throwing it aside. Irri’s hands are burned from just a moment of holding the heated egg… but Daenerys’s are unburnt.
Bran dreams of the three-eyed crow again. As before, the crow flies into the entrance of the crypts of Winterfell. Bran follows, only for the crow to fly deeper into the crypt. He wakes, and then Hodor enters the room, carrying the special saddle made to Tyrion’s design that uses braces and straps to keep Bran in the saddle. We cut to Bran whooping with joy as he rides in the wolfswood outside of Winterfell, while Robb and Theon sit and talk about what’s happened in the south. The attack on Lord Eddard prompts Theon to encourage Robb to gather the northmen as the sitting lord in Winterfell, to go south and fight to defend his family. The argument becomes somewhat heated, as Theon says it’s Robb’s duty to fight for his family… ad Robb emphasizes that it’s his family, not Theon’s. They then notice that in their argument, Bran has ridden off out of sight. Robb wonders where he is, and a surly Theon says he doesn’t know or care, since Bran isn’t his family. Theon stalks off.
Bran is riding alone among ferns, unaware of four dirty, fur-clad wildlings stalking him. They grab for his reins before he’s aware of them, and demand he dismount and give over his silver pin and horse. Bran reveals he can’t, and the wildlings see the straps. They start to cut him out of them—his leg is cut without his feeling it—when he threatens to have them killed, naming himself Brandon Stark. The Stark name makes the woman among them think that Benjen’s Stark own blood as a hostage would win a rich reward from Mance Rayder, but the leader of the group doesn’t care about Rayder or going back north—they want to get as far south as they can for some reason. As they argue, Robb appears, sword drawn. Two of the other wildlings immediately attack, and he dispatches them. The woman charges at him as well, swinging a club, but he disarms and grabs her…
Only to find Bran held captive with a blade at his throat by the lead wildling. The man threatens to cut Bran’s throat if Robb doesn’t drop his sword. A long, tense moment, with Bran urging Robb not to surrender his arms, but Robb can’t risk seeing Bran harmed—he drops the sword. And then, suddenly, an arrow sprouts out through the wildling’s chest, and he falls dead. Behind him, Theon had approached and taken aim. Theon moves to cover the cowering wildling woman, and Robb angrily asks him how he could take such a risk—what if he missed his mark and hit Bran? Theon makes no apologies for rescuing Bran, however. The wildling woman begs for mercy, and Robb takes her prisoner.
In the Eyrie’s sky cell, Tyrion nearly rolls off the edge of the cell in his sleep, due to the subtle tilt of the cell floor. He calls for Mord and tries to convince him that he has a great deal of gold that he’ll pay the gaoler for his help. Mord briefly searches him and tells him, “No gold. Fuck off,” after hitting him a few times with his truncheon.
Syrio arrives for his “dancing lessons” with Arya, but she claims she’s not in the mood because of the death of Jory and her father’s men, plus Eddard’s own injury. The Braavosi waterdancer tells her that this is the time that she should train, when times are difficult and not when she is happy and running in fields with puppies. He tells her that when she is with her troubles, she is not present in the moment and this could mean her death in a fight. She tries to do as he says, and he pauses to let her know it is natural to worry for her father. When he asks if she prays to the gods, she states she prays to both the old gods and the new. Syrio responds that there is only one god, named Death, and there is only one thing to say to Death: “Not today.”
In Vaes Dothrak, a crone of the dosh khaleen wails a ritual song as Daenerys carries out her own bloody ritual: eating a raw, fresh stallion’s heart. If she eats every bite of the tough meat without retching it up, it will bode well for the strength of her son. Ser Jorah translates the words for Viserys. At one point, it seems like she’s about to throw up, but she stops herself. Daenerys proclaims she carries a son, and she names him Rhaego. The crone pronounces that Daenerys’s son is the Stallion Who Mounts the World, the khal of khals who will unite the Dothraki people and conquer all the world. A proud Drogo carries his wife around the chamber as the Dothraki cheer Daenerys. Viserys realizes that they love her. Jorah states that she is now truly a queen, and then notices Viserys has slipped away.
In Daenerys’s hut, Viserys is opening the chest holding the dragon eggs and putting them in a bag. He gets up to leave with them to find Ser Jorah there. Jorah warns him that the sword he carries could anger the Dothraki, as it’s against their holy laws to carry such weapons, but Viserys says Dothraki laws belong to him. Ser Jorah refuses to let him pass, not until he leaves the eggs. Viserys tries to claim that what belongs Daenerys belongs to him as well, but Mormont notes that’s no longer the case. A single dragon’s egg could buy a small army… and Viserys says that three eggs will get him the large army he needs. He almost pleads with Jorah, informing him that no one has ever given him anything like what they gave to Daenerys. Ever since he was five years old, the weight of restoring the Targaryen dynasty has been on his shoulders. If Drogo will not give him his army, than he can use the eggs to buy them. Still, Jorah refuses. Mormont admits he swore to follow Viserys, but he stands there opposed to him and will not move. Viserys says that he’s seen how Jorah looks at Daenerys, and he knows that he desires her; he no longer cares, and tells Jorah he can have her. And still, Jorah refuses to let him pass. Viserys finally drops the bag and departs.
In the Eyrie, Tyrion again calls for Mord, and this time—after trying and failing to explain the abstract concept of money existing but not necessarily being physically present—convinces Mord that as a Lannister, he pays his debts, and will give Tyrion gold if he survives, which he means to do. All he needs Mord to do is inform Lysa Arryn that he means to confess. Mord agrees to this. Later in the High Hall, the courtiers are gathered to witness the confession. Tyrion begins to confess sundry minor sins and crimes, to the shock and amusement of the court. Lysa stops him, and Catelyn reminds him that the crimes they want to hear about are those he’s accused of: the attempted murder of Bran and the murder of Jon Arryn. Tyrion admits he can’t confess to those, as he knows nothing of them. Lady Lysa calls for Mord to take him back to a cell, one with a more steeply sloped floor, but Tyrion calls for the right to a trial. If found guilty, Lysa says, he will be executed according to the king’s own laws; as the Eyrie is more elegant than other places, rather than an executioner, they throw the condemned through the Moon Door to the Vale far below. The Moon Door is opened with a strange, screeching sound to illustrate. But Tyrion indicates that what he truly wants is a trial by combat.
This surprises the court. Various knights offer to be Lysa’s champion, but she asks why Ser Vardis Egan, the captain of her guard, has not offered. The knight admits it’d be a shame to fight a man half his size and call that justice. Tyrion agrees, and says he demands a champion as well. When Lysa allows it, he names his brother Ser Jaime—which seems to worry Ser Vardis—but Lysa disallows it, because the trial must happen that very day. Tyrion turns to the court and asks if anyone will defend him in the name of justice… and for a moment it seems like no one will. Then from the back of the hall, the sellsword Bronn (still not actually named in the show) steps forward: “I’ll stand for the dwarf.”
In the kingswood, Robert, Lancel Lannister, Renly, and Ser Barristan Selmy tramp amidst trees with boar spears. Robert goes on about the good old days, when things were simpler, and asks Renly if he’s ever bedded a riverlands girl; Renly says he has… or at least, he thinks so. Robert talks about how in his day, you weren’t counted a real man until you bedded a girl from each of the regions of Westeros, which was called “making the eight”; it seems Barristan never did this. Renly finally blows up at Robert as he keeps going on, questioning the alleged simplicity or goodness of his day: whether things were better when thousands died because voices in the Mad King’s head told him they had to be killed, or perhaps before that when the dragons destroyed cities and millions died. “Easy, boy!” Robert commands, reminding him that he’s his king. Renly imagines how good and heroic it was, back in the day, when you were drunk and some frightened whore was spreading her legs so that you could “make the eight”. He storms off. Lancel gives Robert his skin of wine, and Robert takes a long drink before angrily continuing to hunt.
In the Red Keep, Eddard sits the Iron Throne in the king’s stead. There have been brutal attacks on certain riverlands villages, lead by a huge and terrifying knight who flew no banners, but was able to cut off a horse’s head with a single blow of his sword. The commoners speaking of these crimes do not recognize Ned, thinking he’s the king, until Pycelle corrects them. Horrible acts were committed, including rotten fish being dumped on the ground in a clear reference to the Tully arms, a trout. Littlefinger reminds Ned of this. At the same time, on his other side, Pycelle questions the matter, especially when it’s determined that the huge knight must be Ser Gregor Clegane, one of Lord Tywin’s fiercest vassals. He suggests that no decisions should be made until the king arrives, but Eddard disagrees. He calls on Lord Beric Dondarrion to gather troops and to bring Ser Gregor—whom Eddard strips of lands, titles, wealth, and more as he attaints him as a traitor—to justice, as his injury prevents him from doing it himself.
In the Eyrie’s High Hall, Bronn and Ser Vardis prepare to fight. Bronn waves away a shield, and seems very little protected against the Vale knight in full plate and a large shield. Bronn uses this to his advantage, keeping Ser Vardis chasing after him, weaving around the court. At one point, Bronn is backed to the edge of the open Moon Door, but manages to push his way free. Eventually, as Ser Vardis begins to tire, Bronn manages to cut him and start his blood flowing, weakening him further. In the end, Egan tries to do as Lysa commands, finishing the fight… but Bronn hacks at his leg and then trips him. Grabbing the exhausted, bleeding knight’s arm, he thrusts his sword deep into him. Egan bleeds profusely, and Bronn pushes him down into the Moon Door to tumble down. Robin Arryn wonders if he’ll see the bad man fly now, but Tyrion says no. He goes to Ser Rodrik Cassel and tells him he has something of his. Rodrik looks to Catelyn, who nods, and the master-at-arms of Winterfell throws him his purse. Tyrion carries it off. Lysa tells Bronn that he doesn’t fight with honor. He agrees, but gestures to the Moon Door and indicates that Ser Vardis did. Tyrion throws the purse to Mord, and departs with Bronn.
In the Red Keep, Sansa and Mordane argue about Sansa taking up southern fashions, and Sansa is quite rude to the septa. Joffrey enters before matters comes to a head, and he apologizes for having been rude to her over the previous weeks. He gives her the gift of a locket, and promises her that she is his lady, and one day she’ll be his queen. He swears he will never be cruel to her again.
In Winterfell, a cart is trundling down a road when Theon Greyjoy appears on horseback. The cart is carrying Ros, who informs Theon she’s leaving. Winterfell holds nothing for her, she says, and with talk of war coming, there’ll likely be many men dead. She’s traveling to King’s Landing, to make her way there. Theon says she’ll be one of thousands of whores there, and she replies that that means she’ll have company. Theon has never been the most generous of clients, it seems, and his efforts to convince her to stay makes her laugh, wondering if he means to make her Lady Greyjoy, mistress of the Iron Isles. In the end, she’s determined to leave. He asks to see “it” one last time, and she coyly asks what. He throws a coin to her… and she lifts her skirts to give him a glimpse. He shouts after her that he’ll miss her. Ros replies, “I know.”
Eddard gathers his daughters together to inform them that matters are becoming dangerous and he’s sending them away. Arya is only worried about her lessons with Syrio, now that she’s starting to become good, but Sansa doesn’t want to be parted from Joffrey. Arya mocks her about Joffrey’s qualities and the children they’ll have. Eddard promises to find a better man for Sansa, someone brave and gentle and kind, and Sansa says she doesn’t want someone brave, gentle, or kind, she wants Joffrey; this gives Arya more reason to laugh at her sister. Sansa says that Joffrey is nothing like his drunkard of a father, and that their children will be beautiful and golden-haired… and suddenly Eddard realizes that Jon Arryn died for. He insists his daughters are going, and Arya has to drag a protesting Sansa away. He goes to the book of lineages, and begins to see that the Baratheons are always black-haired, for generations… but not Joffrey.
A feast in Vaes Dothrak, with dancing women performing as Drogo and his bloodriders sit and talk and watch. Viserys enters, drunk and angry, indicating he was not invited. Drogo says that there is a place for him, in a dark corner of the hall, and Viserys replies that his no place for a king. Drogo, in broken Common Tongue, tells him he is no king. Viserys demands the crown that was promised him, or he will take Daenerys and her dragon eggs away from Drogo. When Daenerys tries to get him to stop, he draws his sword, against the laws of Vaes Dothrak that allow no blood to be shed, but Viserys says those laws do not bind him. Irri translates Viserys’s words for Drogo, until Drogo at last speaks. Daenerys provides the translation, that Drogo promises Viserys a crown that will make men tremble to look upon it.
Viserys looks between them ... and then smiles, saying that that’s all he ever wanted, what was promised to him. Drogo moves to Daenerys, and the two lock eyes… and then Drogo gives the command. His bloodriders seize Viserys and break his arm so that he drops the weapon. He screams for his crown, and then for Dany as Drogo throws his medallion belt into a cauldron over an open flame, watching the metal melt. When it’s melted enough, he takes the cauldron. Viserys screams, begging, as Drogo upends the melted metal onto Viserys’s head, which instantly burns up any blood so that none is spilled. It’s a quick but ugly death, with Viserys’s screams soon stopping.
Daenerys did not look away at all. She watched her brother’s death, knowing it was coming, and doing nothing to stop it. But she tells Jorah that Viserys was no true dragon: fire cannot kill a dragon.