In Vaes Dothrak, the Dothraki elder women proclaim that Daenerys’ unborn son will be “the stallion who mounts the world.” His name, Daenerys says, will be Rhaego. Jorah tells her that he prevented Viserys from stealing one of her dragon eggs earlier that day. Later, in a drunken fit of rage, Viserys storms into Drogo’s feast. Viserys demands the warriors Drogo promised him to win back his crown. He draws his sword and points it at Daenerys. Daenerys and Jorah beg Viserys to put the blade away, since drawn swords and bloodshed are strictly forbidden in Vaes Dothrak. Drogo says Viserys will have his crown, and his men pour molten gold over Viserys's head, killing him. Daenerys thinks that Viserys was no true dragon, since fire cannot kill a Dragon.
Robert returns from his hunt with a mortal stomach wound. While very drunk, he tried to spear a charging boar but the bore gored him instead. As he lays dying, he dictates his will to Ned, declaring Ned ruler of the realm until Joff comes of age. Without telling Robert, Ned writes that he will rule until Robert's “heir” comes of age, not specifying Joff by name. He cannot bring himself to tell Robert that Jaime fathered his children. Outside the room, Varys asks who gave Robert the wine. It turns out it was his squire, who is a Lannister. Renly advises Ned to strike against Cersei before Robert dies, but Ned refuses. He tells Littlefinger what he has learned, but Littlefinger has known about Cersei’s children all along. He advises Ned against naming Stannis, the eldest surviving Barathon, the new king. Stannis will make war with many families in the realm. Ned insists that he is bound by duty to name Stannis. He asks Littlefinger’s help in securing the loyalty of the City Watch with money so that Ned and those loyal to him will be safe when he moves against Cersei. Littlefinger promises his assistance.
Sam is excited to learn that he is going to be promoted along with Jon and their friends. The boys learn of their appointments as builders, rangers, or stewards. Despite Jon’s fighting skills, he is made steward to Commander Mormont. Jon is furious that he will not be a ranger, and he is sure that Thorne is responsible. Sam explains that Jon’s position as Commander Mormont’s steward indicates that Jon is being trained to be a leader. Jon and Sam go to take their vows as brothers of the Night’s Watch in the weirwood grove just north of the Wall. Like many northerners, Jon keeps the old gods, unlike most southerners, who worship the Seven gods. Sam has been raised with the faith of the Seven, but he decides to pray to the old gods before he takes his vows. As soon as they finish taking their oaths, Ghost returns with man’s hand in his mouth.
The morning Robert dies, Ned summons the council to his chambers. He learns that Renly has fled the city. Ned has Barristan read aloud Robert’s will, which declares Ned Lord Regent and Protector of the Realm. A steward arrives to announce that Joff, the self-proclaimed king, has summoned the council to the throne room. Joff demands that he be crowned king. Ned presents Cersei with Robert’s will, which she quickly peruses and then tears apart. Ned orders the City Watch to escort Cersei and Joff from the throne room, but at Joff's order, the City Watch kills Ned's men instead. Littlefinger draws Ned’s dagger and reminds him that he warned Ned not to trust him.
While Syrio and Arya practice, Syrio calls out his sword strokes and Arya blocks them, until he calls left and strikes Arya from the right. Syrio explains to Arya the difference between watching and seeing, between hearing lies and seeing the truth. A knight of the Kingsguard and five Lannister men arrive to summon Arya, but Syrio stops Arya and tells her to see through the men’s words. Ned would never send Lannisters to escort his daughter. Syrio fights off the armed men using his wooden practice stick while Arya escapes. She forces herself to remain calm and returns to her room, where she retrieves clothing and her sword, Needle. When she leaves to escape, a boy discovers her in the stables. When he tries to grab her, Arya stabs him, then escapes through the dungeons of the Red Keep.
After Cersei takes Ned prisoner, Sansa is confined to her room for three days. Cersei summons her before the council and tells her that Ned has been accused of treason. Cersei also thanks Sansa for informing her that Ned secretly planned to send Sansa and Arya away to Winterfell. Sansa wishes to prove she is not a traitor like her father in order to secure her marriage to Joff. She agrees to write four letters, which will be dictated by Cersei and sent to Catelyn, Lysa, Robb, and Sansa’s grandfather, Hoster Tully. The letters say that Ned is a traitor and that Sansa’s family must come to King’s Landing and swear their loyalty to Joff. Later, Sansa realizes that she forgot to ask if Arya was safe.
Jon and Sam join Commander Mormont and his men on a ranging. They find the corpse from which Ghost ripped the blackened hand. A ranger guesses the bodies have not been dead for more than a day. Sam points out that something is wrong with the corpses, since they are not bloody or rotten and their eyes have turned blue. Commander Mormont orders the bodies carried back to the Wall for inspection. That night Jon receives word of Ned’s alleged treason. Commander Mormont knows Jon will be upset. When Jon overhears Thorne call him a traitor’s bastard, Jon attacks Thorne. Commander Mormont reprimands Jon and sends him to his cell without his weapons. Later that night, Jon finds his cell door open and the guards outside dead. Jon walks up the stairs to find one of the corpses walking into Commander Mormont’s room. Jon and Ghost defend Commander Mormont from the reanimated corpse, or wight, by attacking it and burning it with flaming drapes.
Robb is assembling an army at Winterfell. The Starks receive all kinds of stories about the events at King’s Landing, all rumors with varying parts truth and lies. Robb and Bran receive their letter from Sansa, which proclaims their father a traitor and makes no mention of Arya’s safety. Bran reflects that Sansa has lost her wolf, and that Starks who go south never return. Osha tells him that the old gods of the northerners have no power in the South. She warns Bran that the real trouble is to the north, beyond the Wall, where the giants and the Others roam. When Robb leaves Winterfell, he tells Bran that he is now Lord of the Winterfell until Robb or Ned Returns.
Daenerys asks Drogo if they can go to Westeros once their son is born. Drogo states that the earth ends at the sea, and the Dothraki will not cross the “poison water” of the Narrow Sea. Daenerys asks Jorah to help her make Drogo understand. Jorah tells her that though he also longs for home, she must be patient in order to avoid Viserys’s mistake. Daenerys and Jorah go to the Western Market while Drogo hunts. Daenerys is about to sample some wine when Jorah stops her. The wineseller won't drink it himself, and Jorah realizes he is an assassin. He is captured, and later Jorah shows Daenerys a letter from Illyrio to Viserys saying that there is an offer of lordship to anyone who kills the Targaryen children. When he hears about the assassin, Drogo changes his mind and agrees to make war on Westeros.