Across the narrow sea from Westeros, Daenerys Targaryen, the last descendant of the king that Robert Baratheon deposed, leads the remnants of her khalasar (nomadic tribe) through a wasteland. She carries the three dragons that hatched in her husband’s funeral pyre, a fire she entered and emerged from unharmed. Many of her people have fled or died, and those who remain are near collapse when they come across an abandoned city. Even Ser Jorah Mormont, an exile from Westeros who serves as her advisor and confidante, does not recognize the city, but they decide to camp there. Daenerys sends out three scouts to see if any other civilizations can be found nearby. Two of the scouts find nothing. Eventually the third scout returns in the company of three people from the great city of Qarth, who have come to see Daenerys and her dragons.
North of the Wall, Jon and the party from the Night’s Watch pass several abandoned wildling villages. The people seem to have vanished, though there are no signs of attack. The Old Bear decides to continue pressing northward, where they will meet up with another party of men from the Night’s Watch to see if they can figure out what has happened.
Yoren leads the party to a vast lake known as the God’s Eye, where they hope to find boats to sail to Harrenhal. They reach an abandoned town, but it has no boats. The group camps in the town's holdfast, basically a small fort, for the night. They are awakened by the arrival of a Lannister raiding party under the command of Ser Armory Lorch. Yoren refuses to let the party enter the holdfast, so Lorch’s men attack. Arya and the others fight back, killing several, but the Lannister forces breach the walls and begin burning the holdfast. Yoren tells Arya to take as many boys as she can through a trap door in the barn, where they can hide. Arya brings the crying girl they found earlier in the abandoned village, and Lommy, Hot Pie, and Gendry also make it into the hiding place. Before diving through the trap door, Arya frees Jaqen H’ghar and the other two prisoners.
Cersei furiously demands that Stannis’s letters about Joffrey’s incestuous parentage be burned, but Tyrion points out that everyone has heard the story by now and that Stannis’s apparent religious conversion can be used against him. Littlefinger proposes that they spread a rumor that the real father of Stannis’s daughter is Patches, the fool. Tyrion and his squire, Podrick Payne, meet with the city’s blacksmiths. Tyrion asks them to build a vast iron chain but doesn't tell them why. Tyrion goes to a brothel run by a woman named Chataya. There, a prostitute named Alayaya leads him into a closet, where he descends a ladder to a secret tunnel where Varys awaits. They travel through the tunnel and emerge in a stable so that Tyrion can take a horse to the house where he is hiding Shae. He asks whether Varys told Stannis about Joffrey’s parentage. Varys denies it and hints that Littlefinger may have spread the story.
At Winterfell, Bran hosts many northern lords and ladies loyal to the Starks. Bran has Hodor, a huge mentally disabled stableboy, carry him down to the courtyard to watch young men who are practicing fighting. The Frey boys mock Hodor, angering Bran, but Maester Luwin intervenes. Luwin chastises Bran for neglecting his duties with their adult guests.
Bran joins Luwin and Ser Rodrik Cassel, Winterfell’s master of arms, in the great hall to hear requests from the lords and ladies. Lady Donella Hornwood, whose husband and son died fighting the Lannisters, tells them that Ramsay Bolton, the bastard son of Lord Roose Bolton, and his sinister companion Reek are massing men at the Dreadfort near Hornwood lands. Rodrik advises her to marry again, and Luwin points out what a dangerous situation she is in. Bran proposes letting Ramsay Bolton become the heir, but to no effect. Bran has Hodor take him to the godswood, where they find Osha, a wildling servant of Winterfell, swimming. Osha asks Bran about his wolf dreams, but he lies and says that he has not had any others.