At the Riverlands borders, Lord Tywin Lannister has gathered an army in preparation for a possible battle with the Starks. Although he cares less about Tyrion, he thinks the Starks have offended the house of Lannister and he cannot appear to be weak. He commands his son Jamie to take 30,000 men of his army and go to Riverrun and put pressure on Catelyn’s family for the release of his son Tyrion.
At Winterfell, master Luwin questions Osha the Wilding captured by Robb about the reason why wildlings are crossing the Wall towards the south. She tells him that the White Walkers have awoken and are marching south.
At the Night’s Watch, Lord Commander Jeor Mormont is giving assignments to the new recruits- Jon is very disappointed as he is being made a steward and not a ranger as he had hoped. He will be the personal steward of the Lord Commander, while Sam will serve as maester’s Aemon personal steward. Sam comforts him telling him that the Lord Commander took him under his custody in order to prepare him for command.
They take their oath in front of the weirwood tree, where the Old Gods are watching.
The Night’s Watch oath is:
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 realms of men.
I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.
– oath taken by the Night’s Watch
At Vaes Dothrak, Daenerys is strolling around the markets with Ser Jorah Mormont and her maidens. A wine seller is pushing Daenerys to try particular sort of wine, Jorah suspects the wine to be poisoned in an attempt to assassinate Daenerys. He prevents Daenerys from drinking the win in time, and they capture the wine seller.
This event inspires Drogo to affirm that his army will cross the ‘poison water’ and go as far as no khalasar has ever gone before. The khalasaar departures from the Vaes Dothrak the next morning. Drogo promises the Iron Throne to his beloved wife Daenerys.
Ned has a meeting with Cersei. He tells her he has found out that Cersei’s children are not Roberts’s, but Jaime’s. She doesn’t deny it, on the contrary, she is quite proud of it. She says she has despised Robert since their wedding night and affirms that she and Jamie are more than just a brother and sister. Ned suggests that she run away with her children before King Robert returns from his hunt; Ned intends to reveal everything to Robert upon his return. Cersei reminds Ned that he has made a mistake by not claiming the Iron Throne for himself when he had the chance; Ned replies that was not a mistake. To which Cersei rhetorically says:
When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die; there is no middle ground – Cersei Lannister
Later, Renly brings bad news that Robert has been hurt during the hunt- he has been badly injured by a boar and is not expected to live. Robert at his deathbed names Ned the Lord Protector of the Realm, to rule in his stead until Joffrey comes of age. Ned, while writing his will, writes ‘rightful heir’ instead Joffrey’s name.
Later, Renly offers Ned armed men to take Cersei and her children into custody, but Ned refuses with disgust. Ned meets Littlefinger, who suggests acknowledging Joffrey as a king to make him their puppet. Ned refuses that proposal too, considering it as treason. Littlefinger reminds Ned that although he is named the Lord Protector of the Realm, he doesn’t have enough men to maintain authority. He offers him the loyalty of the men of the City Watch.
Later, Ned is called to the throne room by ‘King Joffrey’; Robert has died. He finds Littlefinger and Varys along with Joffrey and Cersei. Varys informs him that Renly has fled the city with Loras Tyrell. Cersei demands Ned Stark to bend the knee and swear loyalty and then he will be allowed to return to Winterfell. Ned refuses to swear allegiance to Joffrey as he has no right to the throne. Littlefinger betrays Ned as the men of the City Watch kill Ned’s bodyguards leaving him defenseless instead of coming to his aid.
In the last scene, Littlefinger holds a dagger to Ned’s throat and says: “I did warn you not to trust me.”
Ned’s darkest fears have come true, now his family is in danger and war seems inevitable. There is treachery, backstabbing and conspiracies in the game of thrones and like Cersei put it, “when you play the game of thrones, you win or you die, there is no middle ground.”
What will be Ned’s fate and how about his two daughters who are still in King’s Landing? Will Joffrey marry Sansa Stark? Will there be a war?