The King of Westeros heads north to recruit his old friend Ned Stark to replace his now dead right hand man Jon Arryn. Stark is a man of his oath and prepares himself and his family for this change in their circumstance. Before he leaves though rumours reach him that Arryn was killed by the Lannister family (one of whom is Queen). Across the Narrow Sea Viserys Targaryen prepares to take back the throne he believes was stolen from him. He is trading his sister Daenerys for the army of warlord Khal Drogo.
Young Bran didn't die but lies unconscious being watched over by his mother. An assassin tries to kill him but his Direwolf saves him. His mother Catelyn begins to suspect that someone is trying to silence him. Jon Snow heads north to the Wall and Tyrion Lannister goes with him to see it. Across the Narrow Sea Daenerys learns how to make her new situation more pleasurable. Joffrey and Sansa go for a walk and come across young Arya learning to fence with the butchers boy. A scuffle ensues and Arya's Direwolf protects her and bites the young Prince.
Ned arrives in King's Landing and is shocked to discover the debts the King has racked up. He allows his daughter Arya to begin training with her sword. At the Wall Jon Snow is showing off his sword skills to the other recruits while Tyrion learns more about what lies to the north. Bram wakes up but can't remember what happened to him, he has probably lost the use of his legs. Catelyn arrives in King's Landing to warn Ned of her suspicions. Her old friend Petyr helps hide her and reveals that the assassin's sword was formerly owned by Tyrion. Across the Narrow Sea Daenerys begins to assert her authority as we learn that she is pregnant.
Tensions between Viserys and Daenerys grow as Khal Drogo leads the horde home. Ned is struggling with his role as the King's new administrator and is given a warning by Cersei. The tournament takes place and we see the Hound's brother emerge victorious. Catelyn makes her way home and runs into Tyrion who she has arrested. Up at the wall Jon befriends new boy Sam and protects him from bullies.
Catelyn takes Tyrion to see her sister in her mountain-top stronghold of The Eyrie. At King's Landing news reaches the Council of Daenerys' pregnancy. King Robert orders her to be killed to keep the Dathraki from invading but Ned will have no part in it. Jaime hears word of Tyrion's capture and kills Ned's guards, warning Ned to bring his brother back. Young Arya overhears Varys conspiring with someone and Varys and Baelish circle one another with talk of conspiracy. Loras Tyrell defeats the Mountain in a joust and later tells his boyfriend, the King's brother Renly, that perhaps he should be King.
Tyrion bribes his prison guard to take a message to the Queen announcing that he was ready to confess his crimes. Once back in front of the court of the Eyrie he demanded a trial by sword. Bronn, one of the swordsmen from the inn, steps forward to fight for him and kills one of Lysa Arryn's Knights. At Winterfell we learn that Jaime has fled and Robert reinstates Ned as the Kings Hand. Robert then heads off on a hunting trip leaving Ned in charge. When news comes that the Mountain rampaged through a village Ned orders him executed and his Lord Tywin Lannister to come answer for this crime. Over the Narrow Sea Dany is becoming ever more loved by the Dothraki and it is determined that she will have a boy. An increasingly frustrated Viserys threatens her child and Kahl Drogo kills him.
News reaches Ned that Robert was wounded by a boar while hunting. Robert makes Ned Regent until Joffrey comes of age. Renly suggests to Ned that he become King to prevent Cersei getting rid of them but Ned won't listen. Littlefinger advises Ned to pay the City Watch to ensure they back him in the coming struggle. Meanwhile Jon Snow and the rest of the new intake are sworn in as men of the Nights Watch. Jon is assigned to be the Personal Steward to the Lord Commander just as his Uncle goes missing north of the Wall. Across the sea Jorah Mormont gives up the chance to return home and instead chooses to foil the assassination attempt on Dany. So outraged by this attack on his wife Khal Drogo vows to conquer the Seven Kingdoms and put their son on the throne.
Lannister soldiers slay what remains of the Stark guard and capture Sansa. Arya escapes though with the help of Syrio. Up at the Wall Jon Snow learns of his father's imprisonment. He has bigger problems though when one of the dead bodies he found north of the Wall suddenly comes to life and attacks him. Robb Stark prepares the men of Winterfell for war and has to keep their egos in check. Tyrion and Bronn are captured by the Hill Tribes. He promises them the Vale if they help him return home safely. Sansa begs for mercy for her father and Joffrey agrees if Ned will confess and say that he is the rightful King. Across the Sea Dany asks Drogo to not rape the captured slave women and he agrees.
Catelyn negotiates safe passage for her army across the Trident. Drogo's wound becomes infected and Dany's position is under threat as a result. She calls on the healer she rescued to save his life just as she goes into labour. Ned admits to treason to save the lives of his daughters but is executed anyway. Bronn brings Tyrion a prostitute to be his new companion. Tyrion tries to guess her origins but she gives nothing away. Robb Stark leads a daring charge on the Lannister army and captures Jaime.
Dany's child is stillborn and Drogo is a vegetable. She smothers him to death and builds a funeral pyre for him and the Dragons eggs. She then climbs on herself and emerges unscathed with three baby dragons wrapped around her. Joffrey begins his reign with plenty of torture and then forces Sansa to look at her father's head on a pike. Robb Stark is acclaimed King of the North as the men of Winterfell decide that they won't fight for a Baratheon but for themselves instead. Yoren dresses Arya as a boy and shoves her in with the new recruits for the Nights Watch as they head north. Tywin sends Tyrion to be the King's Hand to stop Joffrey from doing more foolish things. Jon Snow decides to ride away and find Robb but Sam and the others stop him and persuade him to return to the Wall. Jeor then leads the men of the Watch north of the Wall to find out what is going on.