Story: After the long journey down the Kingsroad, Eddard Stark (Sean Bean) arrives in King’s Landing to begin his work as the Hand of the King. But it turns out that King Robert (Mark Addy) prefers drinking, whoring and hunting to his actual kingly duties, and has somehow managed to get the country 6 million crowns (their form of currency) in debt. While Ned deals with the repercussions of that discovery, his eldest daughter Sansa (Sophie Turner) gets settled into court life and his youngest daughter Arya (Maisie Williams) begins taking sword lessons with her blade, Needle.
Back in Winterfell, Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) can’t remember the events that led up to his fall, but the fact that the 10-year-old is now paralyzed from the waist down leaves him wishing for death. His mother Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) reaches King’s Landing and voices her fears about the Lannisters to Ned, while the Lannister twins — Queen Cersei (Lena Headey) and her brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) — worry about whether Bran will end up remembering it was them who pushed him. Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) makes enemies before friends with his fellow Night’s Watch recruits at the Wall, and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) has some climactic confrontations with her brother Viserys (Harry Lloyd).
The Hand Wipes
Ned’s job at King’s Landing isn’t quite what he expected when Robert Baratheon offered him the position of Hand of the King at Winterfell. When he has his first meeting with the Small Council, the group of Robert’s closest advisors, he discovers that not only has Robert gotten them grossly in debt but he also shows no interest in the running of the country, and paid little attention to the rational advice the previous Hand would give him. Fortunately the scene introduced us to four major players in the game of thrones: the Master of Whispers, Varys; the Master of Coin, Petyr Baelish; the Grand Maester, Pycelle; and the king’s younger brother, Renly Baratheon.
Don’t Wake The Dragon
Dany finally came into her own as Khaleesi last episode, but that newfound power as the queen of the Dothraki caused some issues with her brother Viserys. He considers himself to be her king because of his claim to the Iron Throne of Westeros, and refuses to accept the fact that in this society, Dany technically outranks him. That denial will likely lead to come interesting confrontations between him and the Dothraki in future episodes (don’t say we didn’t warn you).
On the Wall, Jon has some interesting face-offs with the youngest Lannister sibling, Tyrion, who empathizes with Jon’s position as Ned’s bastard son. But Jon has an easier time getting along with the other Night’s Watch recruits, whose skills with the sword are far inferior to his. He earns the title “Lord Snow” from their commander, but quickly realizes that he should teach his soon-to-be brothers in the black the skills he knows instead of just continually beating them in battles. Jon’s uncle Benjen, a ranger on the Night’s Watch, learns he must go north of the Wall to investigate the disappearance of the rangers that were killed in episode one, but won’t let his nephew journey with him just yet.
Bran Wakes Up
Bran has awoken, but he can’t remember anything about the events leading up to his fall. The tragedy has left him a cripple, and he outright tells his older brother Robb that he would rather have died than end up in the situation he did.
Catelyn Comes To King’s Landing
Turns out Catelyn was not as secretive in her journey south as she had expected. She is greeted at the entrance of King’s Landing by men working for her childhood friend Petyr Baelish, lovingly nicknamed Littlefinger, and is whisked away to be hidden in one of his brothels in a shadier section of the country’s capital. She is able to tell her husband Ned her fears about the Lannister’s involvement in Bran’s fall, and he sends her back to Winterfell with the promise that he will look into a potential plot from the queen’s family.
Arya Begins Her Needlework
The youngest Stark daughter, Arya, is probably as much of a warrior as any of the young children we’ve met in the series so far. Her swordplay got her — and Sansa and Mycah — into a whole lot of trouble in the previous episode, but now her father Ned has arranged to have her taught “dance lessons” by a master swordsman named Syrio Forel. The episode ends with Ned looking on pleased as Arya exhibits some serious skill with her Needle.
Dark Wings, Dark Words
“You are my darling boy, and the world will be exactly as you want it to be.” — Queen Cersei giving her son Joffrey advice about Sansa Stark
Winter Looms Closer
Catelyn finds an unsuspecting Lannister along her journey back to Winterfell, and Ned starts trying to discover whether there was anything suspicious about the death of his predecessor, Jon Arryn. Preparations continue for the tourney Robert wants for Ned being named Hand of the King, Jon continues to have trouble as “Lord Snow” at the Wall and Viserys begins to get himself in serious trouble with the Dothraki.
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