Catelyn and Rodrik ride north on the kingsroad, trying to draw as little attention as possible in order to hide their identities. They stop at the Inn at the Crossroads, which is not far from Catelyn’s old home at Riverrun. While she and Rodrik are eating, Tyrion enters and notices Catelyn after Marillion, an annoying singer, calls his attention. Tyrion identifies her as Lady Stark to the people in the room, who are shocked that a noble lady is among them. Catelyn addresses the room, identifying men of houses that are loyal to House Tully and asking them to confirm their loyalty. Once she is done, she accuses Tyrion of attempting to murder Bran. She calls on the men loyal to her house to arrest him and escort him to Winterfell to await the king’s justice.
With the Hand’s tourney underway, Sansa enjoys the royal pageantry around her. Gregor kills Jon Arryn’s former squire, Hugh, in a joust, but Sansa is unfazed. At the feast later that night, Robert gets extremely drunk and screams to Cersei that the following day he will fight in the melee. Throughout the feast, Joff’s courtesy captivates Sansa, but immediately after Robert’s outburst Joff abandons her and orders the Hound to escort her to her room. While they walk, the Hound frightens Sansa with his brutal honesty. He tells her that his brother, Gregor, killed Hugh intentionally. He also tells her how his face came to be scarred: his brother pressed it into hot coals when they were Young.
With the death of Hugh, Ned has lost an important source of information in the mystery of Jon Arryn’s death. Ned and Barristan manage to convince the overweight Robert that he cannot fight in the melee, since no man would dare strike the king. Ned worries about the fact that Robert’s squires are Lannister boys. Robert again admits that he hates being king, but the thought of Joff and Cersei ruling the realm is the only thing that keeps him from leaving the throne. In the semifinal round of the jousting that day, Ser Loras defeats Gregor. Enraged, Gregor attacks Loras, but the Hound defends Loras until Robert calls the skirmish to a halt. Later that night, Varys, in disguise, visits Ned. He tells Ned that the nobility in King’s Landing are either loyal to themselves or loyal to the realm, and after this morning, Varys says he certain he can trust Ned. He says the Lannisters had plans to kill Robert, that Hugh poisoned Jon Arryn, and that Jon Arryn was killed for asking questions about Robert's children.
Tyrion, now Catelyn’s captive, rides with her party on the eastern road to the Eyrie. Tyrion tries to explain his innocence. He tells Catelyn that only a fool would arm an assassin with his own dagger, and that Littlefinger is a habitual liar. A band of mountain clansmen attack the party before he can finish. Catelyn arms Tyrion and his men on the condition that they will put down their swords once the fight is over. Many men die in the battle that follows. At one point, Tyrion manages to save Catelyn’s life with some sloppy fighting. Back on the road, Tyrion catches up with Catelyn and tells her that, regardless of which parts of his story she believes, he couldn't have won the dagger that way because he never bets against his Family.
Arya is catching cats as part of Syrio’s training when Pincess Myrcella and Prince Tommen discover her. Before they recognize her, Arya escapes through a nearby window and runs into the maze of corridors underneath the castle. Further down she hears two men talking. One of the men wears armor, and the other has a forked beard. Arya hides and listens. The armored man says that they are running out of time, since the wolf and the lion are at each other’s throats and more players are entering the game. The man with the forked beard says they need more time, and that Drogo will not attack until Daenerys’ son is born. He says a war would not be useful yet, and that the armored man should work his magic to delay the conflict. The man with the forked beard also implies that they should kill Ned if it will buy time. When Arya finds her way out of the castle’s underground maze of tunnels, she tells her father what she overheard, but he doesn't believe her.
Ned has an intense argument with the council in one of the only meetings for which Robert is present. Varys has received news from Jorah that Daenerys is pregnant, and Robert wants her assassinated. With the exception of Barristan and Ned, the other councilors agree. Pycelle argues that, if Daenerys’s baby is born, he will eventually start a war costing countless lives, so killing Daenerys would effectively save lives. Renly suggests they have Jorah kill Daenerys, and Varys suggests poison. Disgusted, Ned resigns as Hand and storms out of the room, saying that Robert should kill Daenerys himself. Later, Littlefinger tells Ned that the council decided they would offer to make a lord of anyone who managed to kill the Targaryens. Littlefinger also says that if Ned stays in King's Landing a little longer, he will show him the brothel that Jon Arryn visited, which Ned and his men have been searching for.
Catelyn arrives at the Bloody Gate of the Eyrie with Tyrion and her few surviving men. She observes that Tyrion and Bronn have become friends. She worries about Bronn, who is strong and courageous but unkind and of dubious loyalty. Brynden, Catelyn’s uncle, tells her that her sister Lysa has become paranoid. Though Catelyn’s party arrives at night, Lysa has given orders that Catelyn immediately make the dangerous ascent to the Eyrie, a series of seven high, thin towers set into a mountain. Catelyn arrives at the castle early in the morning to find her sister is furious that Catelyn has arrived unannounced with a Lannister. Lysa treats her son Robert like an infant though the boy is six years old, and the boy still sucks at her breast. Catelyn is horrified, and she notes that Rickon is only three years old and far more mature than Lysa’s sheltered Boy.
At the brothel Jon Arryn visited before he died, Ned finds another one of Robert’s black-haired bastard children. Littlefinger tells Ned that Robert has many bastards, and that Cersei had some of them killed. Ned wonders how Robert has changed so much that he could allow such a thing. While they are riding home, Jaime and his men confront Ned about Tyrion’s abduction. Ned says Catelyn took Tyrion at his command, which is not true. Jaime draws his sword, but Ned warns him that if he is harmed, Catelyn will surely kill Tyrion. Jaime orders that Ned not be harmed, but commands his twenty men to kill all three of Ned’s men. In the fight that follows, Ned’s horse falls on him and breaks his leg.
The khalasar rides under the rearing bronze stallions that mark the gate to the city of Vaes Dothrak. In the city, Daenerys must present herself to the elder women of the Dothraki so that the elders, or dosh khaleen, may make prophecies about her unborn baby. Jorah tells Daenerys that he has more faith in Dothraki fighting skill than he once did, and that he hates Ned for exiling him from his home. That night, Daenerys gives her brother fine new clothing that she had her servants make for him. As usual, Viserys is vicious and rude. He rejects the gift and digs his fingers into Daenerys’ arm. She strikes him full in the face with a bronze chain and tells him to learn respect before Drogo kills him. That night she dreams of home.