The wildling Craster drags a bloodied Jon Snow into his keep and dumps the young man at Lord Commander Jeor Mormont’s feet. Craster is incensed at Snow’s spying on him and demands that the men of the Night’s Watch leave. Outside, Jon rushes to explain to Mormont he saw Craster sacrifice his infant son to the White Walkers, and the steward is shocked to learn that his commander already knows.
Bran Stark wakes from another dream in which he sees the world through his wolf Summer’s eyes. He tells Maester Luwin that he hunts in a wolf’s body as he sleeps and reminds him his dream about his father’s death came true. Luwin nods gently and replies, “But how many dreams have you had that haven’t come true?” He shows the boy a link of Valyrian steel on his maester’s chain – bestowed for the study of magic – and explains that it’s not unusual for a young man to dream of controlling mystical powers. But such things no longer exist.
Lady Catelyn Stark arrives at King Renly Baratheon’s camp to find the end of a tournament taking place. Brienne of Tarth – a woman of massive size and even greater fighting skill – dispatches Loras Tyrell, one of the most famous knights in Westeros. As a reward, Renly accepts Brienne’s request to serve in his Kingsguard and then walks off with Catelyn. He promises the widow justice for Ned’s death, but Cat is not impressed with his preparations for war. “It’s a game to you, isn’t it? They are the knights of summer, and winter is coming,” Cat says.
At the castle Pyke on the Iron Islands, Theon Greyjoy argues with his sister Yara about the humiliating trick she pulled when he arrived. Theon is even further insulted when he learns that she’ll lead a fleet of 30 ships against the Starks’ holdings in the North while he reaves the coastline with one vessel, the Sea Bitch. His protests fall on deaf ears, however. His father, Balon Greyjoy, tells Theon: “Your time with the wolves has made you weak.” But Theon is not willing to let it go, screaming at Balon’s back that he didn’t choose to live with the Starks – it was Balon who cast away his only remaining son.
In Tyrion Lannister’s chamber at King’s Landing, he tells his consort Shae that her presence must remain a secret. There are people in the capital who would do her harm. His plan to hide her as a kitchen wench, though, does not go over well. In the end, he finds her work as Sansa Stark’s handmaiden.
Intent on dodging the fate of the previous two Hands of the King, Tyrion deploys a deception to root out a spy. He arranges meetings with Grand Maester Pycelle, Varys and Littlefinger, telling each of them that he plans to marry off Princess Myrcella as a diplomatic play — but gives each of them different information about where he plans to send her. As it turns out, Pycelle is the one who tells Queen Cersei Lannister the secret, earning himself a place in the Red Keep’s Black Cells.
At Renly’s camp, the self-proclaimed king and his knight Loras lay in bed together, but Loras tells Renly: “There’s another Tyrell that requires your attention.” Loras’ sister Margaery has yet to consummate her marriage with Renly, and after Loras leaves, the young queen takes his place. She has no illusions about Renly’s relationship with her brother and tells the king: “You decide how you want to do it. With me, with me and Loras, however else you like…You are a king.”
Theon sits alone with a letter to King Robb Stark, planning to warn him of Balon’s treachery. But as he stares into the flames of a candle and considers his options, Theon burns the message. His decision made, he follows through on the beaches of Pyke when a damphair priest baptizes him in the religion of the Drowned God as his father and sister look on.
In King’s Landing, Littlefinger and Varys don’t appreciate Tyrion’s stratagem. Littlefinger is calmed, though, when Tyrion asks him to visit Lady Stark with a message. Varys sees a fellow sharp mind in the dwarf and offers a bit of advice: “Power resides where men believe it resides. …A very small man can cast a very large shadow.”
On the Kingsroad, Arya Stark can’t banish the image of her father’s execution from her mind and asks Yoren, the recruiter from the Night’s Watch, how he manages to live with all the horrible things he’s seen. Yoren shares his own story with the girl, how he obsessed over – and ultimately enacted – vengeance against the man who killed his brother. The murder resulted in Yoren’s joining the Watch. Their conversation is cut short when a group of gold cloaks attacks, seeking the bastard Gendry. Yoren refuses to hand Gendry over and dies for his defiance. Others, including Lommy Greenhands, are killed in the fierce fighting. The survivors, including Arya, Gendry and Hot Pie, are marched off to Harrenhal.