- Main: Lord Snow
This recap of "Lord Snow" features a detailed synopsis of each scene of the episode.
The royal party arrives at King’s Landing and are greeted by the Royal Steward in the courtyard of the Red Keep. He tells Eddard Stark that a meeting of the small council has been convened and asks him to attend. Eddard orders Jory Cassel to get the rest of the party settled while he attends the meeting. The court herald suggests that Eddard might want to change into something "more appropriate", but Eddard just stares at him until he turns to lead the way.
On his way to the small council chamber, Eddard passes through the throne room. He finds Jaime Lannister sitting at the foot of the Iron Throne. Jaime tells him that it's good he's here, as they need some "stern Northern leadership". Eddard baits Jaime about the state of his armor and how there isn’t a scratch on it, indicating that Jaime has chosen his opponents wisely. Irritated, Jaime tells Eddard about how his father and brother were killed in this very room and five hundred men stood and did nothing. It was silent apart from the screams and the Mad King’s laughter. Later, when Jaime killed the Mad King, he recalled the screams of Eddard’s father as he burned and said it felt like justice. Eddard is incredulous that Jaime would suggest he betrayed his sworn oath for Eddard’s father. Jaime sarcastically asks if Eddard would have approved if he'd stabbed Aerys in the belly rather than the back, to which Ned retorts that Jaime served Aerys well, when serving was safe.
Eddard arrives at the small council chamber and greets its members: Varys, the master of whispers; Renly Baratheon, the master of laws (and the youngest of King Robert's two brothers); Grand Maester Pycelle, the king’s personal maester and advisor; and Lord Petyr Baelish, known as "Littlefinger", the realm’s master of coin. Varys tells Eddard that they are praying for Prince Joffrey's full recovery, but Eddard suggest that he could have prayed for the butcher's son instead. Eddard greets Renly warmly, as he hasn’t seen him for many years; Renly comments that Ned looks exhausted from travelling and claims he tried to get the rest of the council to postpone the meeting. He also greets Pycelle, noting that last time they met, Pycelle was serving a different king. Pycelle gives Eddard the symbol of his office, a badge showing a hand. Eddard greets Littlefinger more formally, noting that he was a friend of his wife’s when younger. Littlefinger notes he has a token of esteem from Eddard’s late elder brother, who cut him (though not grievously) during a duel for Catelyn’s honor.
The meeting is convened, to Eddard’s surprise. It is customary for the king to attend such meetings. Renly tells Eddard that Robert never takes part in the meetings, and Varys, more politely, says that Robert has many burdens but allows his small council to take care of the "small matters" of the realm. Littlefinger notes that they are the "lords of small matters".
Renly passes a proclamation from Robert to Eddard, reporting that the king has ordered the realm to stage a tournament in honor of Lord Stark's appointment. Littlefinger asks how much this will cost them and Eddard, slightly astounded, reads from the letter: 40,000 gold dragons for the champion; 20,000 to the runner-up and 20,000 to the winning archer. Pycelle asks if the realm can afford it and Littlefinger replies yes, as the realm already owes Tywin Lannister 3 million gold dragons. 80,000 isn't much to add to that. Eddard, getting angry, asks Littlefinger to confirm that the realm is 3 million in debt. Littlefinger replies it is 6 million in debt, including other creditors. Renly says that Robert has no time for working out where the money comes from ("counting coppers, he calls it,"), he just likes spending it. Eddard refuses to believe that Jon Arryn let Robert beggar the realm and Pycelle agrees that Lord Arryn often offered wise and prudent counsel. Unfortunately, Robert often ignored him. Eddard angrily tells the council that there will be no tournament, then pauses and apologizes for his tone as he is still weary from the road. Varys tells him they serve at his pleasure.
Queen Cersei is checking Prince Joffrey’s wounds. She tells him they can say what they like about the incident, that Joffrey fought off a direwolf bravely. She even suggests spreading the story that he killed the beast and only spared Arya because of the love his father bore for hers. Cersei says that the truth is malleable for a king, that once Aerys sat on the Iron Throne and Robert was a rebel and traitor. When Joffrey sits on the Throne, the truth will be what he makes it.
Joffrey asks if he has to marry Sansa and Cersei confirms this is so, but that he only has to sleep with her when he wants. She suggests doing something nice for Sansa to try to repair their rift, but Joffrey is reluctant. Instead, he argues that they are allowing the Northerners too much power and they consider themselves the equals of the Lannisters and Baratheons. Cersei asks him how he would handle them and he suggests doubling their taxes and contributing 10,000 men to a standing Royal Army. Joffrey thinks that each lord controlling his own force is primitive. If the Northerners were to rebel over this matter, Joffrey would seize Winterfell and install someone loyal – perhaps his Uncle Kevan – as Warden of the North. When Cersei asks how the northerners in this Royal Army would respond to this order, Joffrey replies they would have no choice but to obey. Cersei tells her son his plan is foolish: the North is too big and too wild to be invaded and occupied. Any occupying army would be annihilated when winter comes. A good king knows when to save his strength and destroy his enemies. Joffrey notes this and asks his mother if the Starks are their enemies. Cersei replies that, "Anyone who isn't us is an enemy."
Arya and Sansa have a meal with Septa Mordane, but Arya is angrily stabbing the table with her knife. She tells them that she is practicing for Joffrey, that he is a liar and a coward and that Mycah would still be alive if Sansa had only told the truth. Mordane tells Arya to leave the room. Eddard arrives and talks to Sansa, giving her a gift of a doll. Sullen, she replies she hasn’t played with dolls since she was eight. Eddard looks helplessly at Mordane, noting that, "War was easier than daughters".
In her room Arya unsheathes her sword. Her father arrives and catches her with it. He notes that it is Mikken's work. She tells him its name and says she doesn’t want to be a lady. Arya blames herself for Mycah's death, for asking him to practice with her; Ned reassures her that what happened wasn't her fault. Arya rages at her unhappiness and those she holds responsible, listing primarily the queen, Joffrey and Sansa. Eddard explains that Sansa could not betray her future husband for all of the years of trouble that would cause. Arya is surprised, asking her father how he could let her marry someone like that. Eddard, unable to find a good answer, tells her that winter is coming and they must rely on one another in this dangerous place, and Arya admits that she doesn't truly hate her sister over what happened. Eddard tells Arya she can keep Needle, but she needs to find someone to train her how to use it.
A crow flies into Bran's bedroom in Winterfell. Old Nan, a senior servant, is trying to cheer Bran up and offers to tell him a story about Ser Duncan the Tall. Bran tells her he prefers scary stories. Old Nan starts to tell him about the Long Night, when the land froze under a winter that lasted for years on end, and out of that darkness the White Walkers came riding their dead horses and hunting with packs of giant spiders.
Robb enters and dismisses Old Nan and her stories. He asks Bran how he fell, but Bran still can’t remember. Robb is puzzled, as he's seen Bran climb a thousand times in all weather and never fell. Bran asks if it’s true that he will never walk again and Robb nods in agreement. Bran says he’d rather be dead.
Ser Rodrik Cassel and Catelyn Stark arrive at King’s Landing via a small side-gate. Ser Rodrik thinks they are less likely to be noticed this way, but Catelyn thinks the precaution is unnecessary. It’s nine years since she’s visited the capital and no-one knew who she was back then. However, they are almost immediately approached by two members of the City Watch: they have been expected and are to go with them.
Rodrik and Catelyn are taken to, of all places, a brothel in the city. There they are greeted by Littlefinger. Catelyn is furious at being taken to such a place. Littlefinger apologizes for any perceived disrespect but they will not be seen here. Catelyn wants to know how he knew she was coming and Varys enters the room. He tells her his "little birds" are everywhere, even in the North, and they have already told him about the dagger and attempt on her life.
Catelyn shows them the dagger and Varys, reluctantly, says he has no idea where it comes from. Littlefinger is amused to know something that Varys does not and confirms that the dagger used to belong to him. He lost it in a wager during a tournament which was held on Prince Joffrey's last nameday. He had bet on Jaime Lannister, "as any sane man would", but Ser Loras Tyrell "the Knight of the Flowers" managed to unseat Jaime, and Littlefinger lost the bet. The person who won it was Tyrion Lannister, the Imp.
At Castle Black Tyrion and Lord Commander Jeor Mormont are looking over the training yard. Ser Alliser Thorne is putting the new recruits through their paces, using Jon Snow’s superior castle training to humiliate them; however, he has no praise for Jon, addressing him by the mocking title of "Lord Snow" and coldly telling Jon he's the least useless of all the recruits. Tyrion notes that Thorne is a "charming man," but Mormont says he doesn’t need a charming man but someone who can turn these boys into men of the Night’s Watch. He admits it’s going slowly. He asks Tyrion to deliver a message he’s just received to Jon Snow; It’s about Bran. Tyrion asks if it’s good or bad news and Mormont responds, "Both."
In the Red Keep Eddard is given a similar message by Pycelle. Littlefinger arrives and asks if it is good news. He suggests that Eddard could share it with his wife. Eddard points out his wife is in Winterfell. Littlefinger replies, "Is she?"
Littlefinger takes Eddard to the brothel. Believing he is being mocked, Eddard grabs Littlefinger by the neck and throws him up against the wall, saying he's "a funny man, a very funny man." Ned continues to choke Petyr while easily pinning him against the wall using only his left hand wrapped around his throat (not even his dominant right hand) but Petyr isn't strong enough to resist him. Catelyn appears on the balcony overhead and tells Eddard to calm himself. Incredulous, Eddard goes in to meet her. Littlefinger, composing himself, mutters that the Starks have quick tempers but slow minds.
At Castle Black Jon is confronted by several of the other recruits: Rast, Pypar and Grenn. They are angry with Jon for beating them in the training yard and breaking Grenn’s nose. When Jon says it’s an improvement, they grab him and prepare to beat him up, but are interrupted by Tyrion’s arrival. Tyrion scares them off by noting they have interesting faces which would look good decorating spikes on King’s Landing’s walls. Jon says that the other boys resent him for being better than him, but Tyrion says they resent him because he was brought up in a castle and trained by a proper, formidable master-at-arms. They were not so lucky: Pyp was sent to the Wall for stealing a wheel of cheese to feed his starving sister and Grenn was left outside a farmhouse at the age of three. Tyrion gives Jon the letter about Bran.
At the brothel, Littlefinger points out that any accusation that Tyrion tried to kill Bran would be regarded as treason. The evidence they have is sketchy and easily denied; Tyrion will likely claim the dagger was stolen from him and the assassin, the only one who could say otherwise, is dead. Catelyn urges Eddard to trust Littlefinger, saying he’s like a little brother to her. Littlefinger agrees he will keep Eddard safe in the capital for Catelyn. When Catelyn says he’s a true friend, Littlefinger asks her not to spread that around: he has a reputation to maintain.
Cersei meets with Jaime in her chambers and berates him for throwing Bran from the window. She could have intimidated Bran into silence. He tells her to calm down. Cersei also reports that Bran has no memory of what happened, which satisfies Jaime. If somehow he remembers and Robert goes to war with him, Jaime will fight it gladly. Cersei slaps him, but Jaime stops her and tells her he will kill everyone until the two of them are the only people left in the world if necessary.
Catelyn takes her leave of Eddard, regretting that she cannot stay and see the girls, but it’s safer this way. Catelyn says she knows the Lannisters committed this crime. Eddard agrees, and says he will find overwhelming proof and bring it to Robert, and hopes he is still the man Eddard once knew. Eddard tells Catelyn that Littlefinger still loves her, but she just says, "Does he?" and kisses Eddard goodbye. She and Ser Rodrik then leave the city.
King Robert is in his chambers, drinking and reminiscing about battles with Ser Barristan Selmy, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. Barristan recalls his first kill was a Tyroshi soldier whose name he never knew. He killed him with a lance to the heart. Robert recalls his first kill was a soldier serving House Tarly at the Battle of Summerhall. The soldier thought he could end the war with a single swing of his sword but Robert killed him instead. Robert recalls how the man begged for mercy before Robert dealt the death blow and gets melancholy, thinking that the boy could have stayed in the back ranks of the enemy army, survived the battle and would now be unhappily married with ingrates for children of his own.
Robert demands wine from his squire, Lancel Lannister, a cousin of Jaime and Cersei’s. Lancel is only able to pour a little, as the jug has run out. Robert angrily sends him for more and orders Jaime – standing guard outside the chamber – to come in. He asks him about his first kill and Jaime replies that it was one of the Kingswood Brotherhood, an outlaw band. He was only a sixteen year old squire and cut the other man’s head off, meaning he had no last pithy words. Barristan was there that day. Jaime remembers Barristan killing Simon Toyne with a counter-riposte, the best move he’d ever seen. Barristan notes that Toyne was a good fighter, but had lacked stamina.
Robert asks Jaime what the Mad King said when he died, if he called Jaime a traitor or begged for mercy. Jaime replies that he only said what he’d been saying all day, "Burn them all." Having silenced Robert, he takes his leave.
Drogo's khalasar is passing through a vast forest of bamboo. Daenerys asks Ser Jorah if the Dothraki buy their slaves, but Jorah says no. The Dothraki do not believe in money. Instead, they take slaves as tribute from cities in lieu of sacking them. However, Jorah points out that the Dothraki sometimes feel insulted by the quality of the slaves and will sack the city anyway. Sometimes they take the slaves and other tribute and then sack the city regardless if they haven’t had a good fight in months. Daenerys sees a Dothraki hitting a slave and orders the whole khalasar to halt until she says otherwise. Jorah notes that she is talking like a queen, but she says not like a queen, but like a khaleesi.
She goes for a walk in the forest but is chased down by her brother. Viserys is furious at being ordered to halt with the rest of the horde and tells Daenerys that he does not take orders from savages or their sluts. Before he can say more, a whip wraps itself around his throat and he is dragged to the ground by Daenerys’s Dothraki bodyguard, Rakharo, who has followed them with Irri, one of Daenerys’s handmaids. Translating for Rakharo, Irri suggests killing Viserys but Daenerys orders him spared. Rakharo is disappointed at not even being allowed to take an ear to teach Viserys respect. Viserys orders Ser Jorah to kill the Dothraki dogs. After a considering moment, Ser Jorah ignores him and escorts Daenerys back to the khalasar. Amused, Rakharo makes Viserys walk back: being forced to walk is the ultimate insult from a Dothraki.
At Castle Black, Jon Snow ascends to the top of the Wall via a wheel-and-pully lift. He joins his uncle Benjen, who tells him he wanted to be there the first time Jon saw the view from the top of the Wall. Benjen says he is leaving. They have heard further strange reports from beyond the Wall and he is going to investigate. Jon asks to go with him, but Benjen says no. Jon is not ready yet, and Benjen is annoyed to find that Jon just expects he can go due to his relationship with Benjen. Here on the Wall a man only gets what he earns, when he earns it. Benjen says they will talk more upon his return.
Tyrion has made the acquaintance of Yoren, a recruiter for the Night's Watch. Yoren has a rough sense of humor which Tyrion enjoys. They swap stories about the strangest things they’ve eaten, with Yoren saying bear’s testicles and Tyrion proposing "Dornish girls", to Yoren's amusement. Yoren is heading out again, this time bound south. He’ll take the leavings of various lords' dungeons, but half or more of his recruits come from King’s Landing.
Benjen Stark enters the room and notes their laughter. He asks if Tyrion thinks the Night’s Watch is a joke, a story he can spread down south while drinking fine wines and enjoying his brothels. He points out that half of the boys Tyrion has seen training will die north of the Wall, from a wildling’s axe or from the cold, and they will in pain and fear. Tyrion, slightly irritated by Benjen's words, tells him he has great respect for the Night's Watch and for Benjen as First Ranger. Benjen, amused, notes that the silence before the "But," in such a sentence is telling. Tyrion goes on to say that he does not believe in White Walkers or giants or any of the other mythological terrors lurking beyond the Wall, and that the only difference between the people of the Seven Kingdoms and the wildlings is what side their respective ancestors happened to be on when the Wall went up. Benjen agrees, saying that the wildlings are men just like them, just harder and tougher. It’s not the wildlings that keep him awake at night, but other things. He tells Tyrion that he’s never been north of the Wall, so he can't tell Benjen what is out there. He leaves and Tyrion ponders if Benjen is starting to like him.
Tyrion offers to share the road with Yoren. As no-one refuses a Lannister, this means they'll be sleeping in the finest inns and castles rather than Yoren's normal ditches and hedges.
Irri is teaching Daenerys how to speak Dothraki. Puzzled, Irri notes that Daenerys’s body is changing. She asks Daenerys if she has bled recently and when Daenerys is unable to reply, Irri informs Daenerys she is pregnant, noting "It is a blessing from the Great Stallion."
Ser Jorah Mormont and Rakharo are comparing their respective weapons and ways of fighting. Jorah notes that the Dothraki arakh is a superior weapon to use from horseback, with its curved blade. However, the arakh is unable to penetrate heavy armor. In that case the Westerosi broadsword is superior. Rakharo points out that the Dothraki do not wear armor, as it makes a man slow. His father taught him that speed defeats size. Jorah agrees, but armor can also keep a man alive. He asks Rakharo about his father, a man he has heard was a great warrior. Rakharo proudly says he was bloodrider to Khal Bharbo, Drogo’s father. He asks about Jorah’s father in return and if he was a great warrior. Jorah replies he still is, a man of great honor. Jorah betrayed him.
Irri enters the tent and tells them that they need to have something more interesting for dinner. She commands Rakharo to go and kill some rabbits or a duck. Rakharo is incredulous, as there are no such animals nearby. Irri suggests killing a dog, but Jorah suggests that it’s unlikely that Daenerys will like that. Irri tells them that Daenerys is pregnant. Jorah, thoughtful, says they can procure a goat from the herds. After Irri leaves, Jorah says he must ride to the nearby Free City of Qohor. Rakharo points out that the khalasar is moving on eastwards towards Vaes Dothrak, but Jorah promises to catch them up, as the horde’s trail is easy to find.
Jon Snow is practicing in the courtyard at Castle Black again, but this time instead of humiliating the other boys he shows them their mistakes and what they are doing wrong. He quickly wins over Pyp and Grenn with his advice. Tyrion, watching from nearby, approves.
Tyrion meets with Lord Commander Mormont (Jorah’s father) and Maester Aemon. They ask Tyrion how many winters he has seen. He says nine, and that the winter of his birth was three years long. Aemon says the summer that is now ending has lasted for nine years, which means a long and bitter winter to follow. Reports from the Citadel confirm that the days are growing shorter and the seasons are changing. Winter is coming, as the Starks say, and Aemon believes this winter will bring dark things with it.
Mormont reports that they are capturing wildlings every month, fleeing south in ever-greater numbers. Many of them are saying they have seen the White Walkers. Tyrion replies that the fishermen of Lannisport say they’ve seen mermaids, but Mormont and Aemon go on, remarking that one of their rangers swore he saw the Walkers kill his companions, and that he kept swearing it right up to the moment Ned Stark chopped his head off. The Night's Watch is the only thing that stands between the Seven Kingdoms and what lies beyond, and it has become an army of undisciplined boys and tired old men. Their numbers have dropped below a thousand, meaning they can no longer man the other castles on the Wall or properly patrol the wilderness. They ask him to use his influence at court to send them more resources. For all of his bluster and brave talk, Tyrion is unsettled by the vehemence and desperation of the two men.
In the Dothraki camp, Daenerys and Drogo are lying together. She tells him – in Dothraki – that it will be a boy. He asks her how she can be sure, but she just says that she knows.
Fulfilling his promise, Tyrion stands atop the Wall and urinates off the edge. He says a farewell to Jon and promises to carry his good wishes to Bran when he stops at Winterfell on the way back south. Jon is upset that Bran will never walk again but Tyrion points out that if you have to be a cripple, it’s good to be at least a rich cripple.
In the Red Keep Arya is summoned to a meeting with her "dancing master", a man named Syrio Forel. Syrio is the former First Sword of Braavos, a master swordsman contracted by her father to teach her how to use her sword. Syrio calls her a boy, to Arya’s irritation. When she responds that she is a girl, he tells her it doesn’t matter if she is a boy or girl. She must be a sword. He approves of her small size, which makes her a difficult target in combat. He says he will teach her the way of swordfighting in Braavos, the Water Dance, rather than the hacking and slashing of the knights of Westeros.
Eddard comes and watches them practice. Initially he is pleased to see Arya training hard, but he then realizes he is training her for war, and in his mind the clunk of wood is replaced by the clash of steel and the screams of the dying.