Drogo is so ill from his wounds that he falls off his horse. Daenerys orders the khalasar to stop while Drogo recovers. The khalasar’s loyalty is already fading, since a khal who cannot ride a horse cannot lead. Jorah explains that the khalasar only followed Drogo because he was strong. When Drogo dies, his successors will kill Daenerys’s baby. Jorah advises her to flee. Instead, Daenerys asks Mirri to use bloodmagic to heal Drogo. Mirri says she must trade life for life. She kills Drogo’s horse. Mirri orders everyone to leave the tent, since her singing will wake the dead. While the shadows of spirits dance inside of Drogo’s tent, Daenerys goes into labor. At the same time, Jorah and Daenerys’s servants fight off Drogo’s bloodriders, who want to stop Mirri. Most of the people flee during the fighting, and after Drogo's bloodriders are defeated, Mirri is the only midwife who remains to help Daenerys. Nobody is supposed to enter the tent while the dead are there, but Daenerys is in severe pain, so Jorah carries her in.
Since her father’s capture, Arya has been hiding in King’s Landing. A bell tolls, and she follows a mass of people toward the Great Sept of Baelor. She overhears rumors about her father. High in the Great Sept, Ned is brought to kneel before the crowd. He confesses that he is a traitor against Joff, and the high priest suggests that Joff show mercy for Ned. Nonetheless, Joff orders Ned executed. Varys and Cersei appear surprised and try to stop him. Arya draws Needle and makes a charge through the crowd to help her father. She does not make it far before Yoren grabs her. Before Arya sees Ilyn chop off Ned’s head using Ice, Ned’s greatsword, Yoren drags her from the scene. Away from the crowd, he returns Needle to her, cuts her hair, and tells her she must pretend she is a Boy.
Bran tells Luwin about a dream in which a three-eyed crow led him down into Winterfell’s crypts, where he found Ned. Later, Luwin and Bran visit the crypts, with Osha carrying Bran. Luwin and Bran tell Osha about the history of Winterfell’s rulers, or the Kings of Winter. When they come to Ned’s empty tomb, Rickon’s direwolf Shaggydog jumps out and bites Luwin’s hand. Rickon has had a dream similar to Bran’s. In his tower, Luwin tells the boys about the history of the North, the children of the forest, the First Men, and the Andals. A raven arrives with a letter. The bird has been attacked during its flight to Winterfell. Before Luwin even opens the letter, Rickon, Osha, and Bran know that it bears news of Ned’s death.
Sansa cries for days in her room in the Red Keep. Eventually Joff visits her and demands that Sansa attend court that afternoon. Joff says Sansa should count herself lucky that he was merciful enough not to torture Ned before he killed him. Sansa tells Joff she hates him, and Jeff orders Meryn to strike Sansa. At court, Joff’s decisions are cruel and unjust. Afterward, Joff forces Sansa to come atop the walls of the Red Keep and see the rotting heads of the people he has executed for treason, including her father’s. Miserable, Sansa tells Joff that Robb might kill him one day, for which Joff has Meryn strike her again. For a moment Sansa considers tackling Joff off the side of the high wall, but before she can act the Hound kneels between them to wipe the blood from Sansa’s face.
Daenerys wakes from a feverish sleep. Her servants tell her that she has been unconscious for a long time. Daenerys demands one of the stone dragon eggs. She senses that the egg feels warm, but when Jorah arrives, he cannot feel the heat. Daenerys learns that Drogo’s men have left him, and two have proclaimed themselves khals. Mirri tells Daenerys that her son was stillborn as a rotting demon that had been dead for years. Mirri says Daenerys should have known that the bloodmagic would kill more than just Drogo’s horse. Though Drogo lives and breathes, he cannot speak or think or move at his own will. Daenerys is furious with Mirri, who laughs at her and tells her she owed Daenerys nothing because of what Drogo’s men did to her and her people. After Daenerys tries and fails to revive Drogo’s spiritless body, she suffocates him with a pillow.
Tywin learns Jaime has been captured. Tywin’s bannermen recount how Robb defeated Jaime at Riverrun and proceeded to win back the castle. When one man suggests asking the Starks for peace, Tyrion scoffs. He knows the Starks will not have peace after the Lannisters killed Ned. He also knows that without Ned the Lannisters will have a hard time making any sort of trade for Jaime’s life. Tywin tells Tyrion that Renly has wed Margaery Tyrell and made a claim as king of Westeros. Stannis is a threat to King’s Landing, especially if the city tries to engage Renly’s army. Tywin reflects on Cersei and Joff’s incompetence. He surprises Tyrion by sending him to rule from King’s Landing. Though he is flattered, Tyrion is also disgusted that his father has given up Jaime for dead.
Late at night, Jon rides from the Wall as fast as he can to find and help Robb. Sam tries to stop Jon when he leaves. When Jon stops to rest, his friends catch up to him. They convince Jon to return by reminding him of his oath to the Night’s Watch. The next day, Commander Mormont knows of Jon’s attempted desertion. He reminds Jon of how he told him that the things they love destroy them. Commander Mormont returns the sword Longclaw to Jon, which Jon had left behind. Given the coming winter and the recent incident with the undead, Commander Mormont says he believes that Jon and Ghost were destined to come to the Wall when they did. He plans to march beyond the Wall to find Benjen.
Robb’s forces have defeated the rest of the Lannister army at Riverrun. After the battle, Catelyn finds Robb and his men praying to the old gods before Riverrun’s godswood. Robb, Catelyn, and their bannermen meet to discuss their next move. Ned is dead and Renly has proclaimed himself king. Roose Bolton’s half of the army is recovering from the battle. Tywin’s forces are headed for Harrenhal. The men have a long and fierce argument about whether Renly or Joff has a more valid claim to the throne. Catelyn makes a heartfelt argument that the war must end. The lords disagree for various reasons, until the Greatjon makes a speech denouncing Renly and Joff and declaring Robb the King in the North. Everyone agrees, and for the first time in three hundred years they declare a King of Winter.
Daenerys has her servants prepare a funeral pyre for Drogo. Before she lights the fire, Daenyers announces to her few remaining followers that they are freed from their slavery and their obligations, but if they continue to follow her, she will reward them. Daenerys ceremonially gives weapons to three of her servants and asks them to serve as her bloodriders. They reluctantly accept the gifts and say they cannot serve as bloodriders to a woman. Only Jorah takes an oath to protect Danerys as the first of her Queensguard. Jorah begs Daenerys not to kill herself with Drogo’s funeral pyre. Daenerys tells him she does not plan to die. She lays her eggs in the pyre, lights it, and walks in. When the fire is finished burning, she emerges with three live dragons at her breast. It is the first time in hundreds of years that dragons have been alive in the realm. Her remaining followers kneel before her.