Seven noble families fight for control of the mythical land of Westeros. Friction between the houses leads to full-scale war. All while a very ancient evil awakens in the farthest north. Amidst the war, a neglected military order of misfits, the Night's Watch, is all that stands between the realms of men and the icy horrors beyond.
Arya arrives in Braavos; Podrick and Brienne run into trouble on the road; Cersei fears for her daughter's safety in Dorne as Ellaria Sand seeks revenge for Oberyn's death. Stannis tempts Jon; an adviser tempts Daenerys.
The Baratheon rivalry ends, driving Catelyn to flee and Littlefinger to act. At King’s Landing, Tyrion’s source alerts him to Joffrey’s defense plan - and a mysterious secret weapon. Theon sails to the Stony Shore to prove he’s worthy to be called Ironborn. At Harrenhal, Arya receives a promise from Jaqen H’ghar, one of the prisoners she saved from the Gold Cloaks. The Night’s Watch arrive at the Fist of the First Men, an ancient ringfort where they hope to stem the wildings' advance.
Jon starts a new mission. Cersei and Tywin consider the next move for the Crown. Daenerys makes plans for the future after hearing the latest news from King's Landing. Lord Baelish and Sansa reach their destination.
Arriving at King’s Landing, Ned is shocked to learn of the Crown’s profligacy from his new advisors. At Castle Black, Jon Snow impresses Tyrion at the expense of greener recruits. Suspecting the Lannisters had a hand in Bran’s fall, Catelyn covertly follows her husband to King’s Landing, where she is intercepted by Petyr Baelish, a.k.a. “Littlefinger,” a shrewd longtime ally and brothel owner. Cersei and Jaime ponder the implications of Bran’s recovery; Arya studies swordsmanship. On the road to Vaes Dothrak, Daenerys finds herself at odds with Viserys.
Tywin plans strategic unions for the Lannisters. Melisandre pays a visit to the Riverlands. Robb weighs a compromise to repair his alliance with House Frey. Roose Bolton decides what to do with Jaime Lannister. Jon, Ygritte, and the Wildlings face a daunting climb.
In the wake of a bloody purge in the capital, Tyrion chastens Cersei for alienating the king’s subjects. On the road north, Arya shares a secret with Gendry, a Night’s Watch recruit. With supplies dwindling, one of Dany’s scouts returns with news of their position. After nine years as a Stark ward, Theon Greyjoy reunites with his father Balon, who wants to restore the ancient Kingdom of the Iron Islands. Davos enlists Salladhor Saan, a pirate, to join forces with Stannis and Melisandre for a naval invasion of King’s Landing.
Ned looks for clues to the death of his predecessor, and uncovers one of King Robert’s bastards. Robert and his guests witness a tournament honoring Ned. Jon takes measures to protect Sam from further abuse at Castle Black; a frustrated Viserys clashes with Daenerys in Vaes Dothrak; Sansa imagines her future as a queen, while Arya envisions a far different future. Catelyn rallies her husband’s allies to make a point, while Tyrion finds himself caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Joffrey punishes Sansa for Robb’s victories, and Tyrion scrambles to temper the king’s cruelty. Catelyn entreats Stannis and Renly to unite against the Lannisters. Dany and her khalasar arrive at the prosperous city of Qarth. Tyrion coerces a relative into being his eyes and ears. Arya and Gendry are taken to Harrenhal, where their lives are in the hands of Ser Gregor Clegane. Stannis orders Davos to smuggle Melisandre into a secret cove.
At the Red Keep, Tyrion plots three alliances through the promise of marriage. Catelyn arrives in the Stormlands to forge an alliance of her own, but King Renly, his new wife Margaery, and her brother Loras Tyrell have other plans. At Winterfell, Luwin tries to decipher Bran’s dreams.
Having agreed to become the King’s Hand, Ned leaves Winterfell with daughters Sansa and Arya, while Catelyn stays behind in Winterfell. Jon Snow heads north to join the brotherhood of the Night’s Watch. Tyrion decides to forego the trip south with his family, instead joining Jon in the entourage heading to the Wall. Viserys bides his time in hopes of winning back the throne, while Daenerys focuses her attention on learning how to please her new husband, Drogo.
Ned Stark, Lord of Winterfell learns that his mentor, Jon Arryn, has died and that King Robert is on his way north to offer Ned Arryn’s position as the King’s Hand. Across the Narrow Sea in Pentos, Viserys Targaryen plans to wed his sister Daenerys to the nomadic Dothraki warrior leader, Khal Drogo to forge an alliance to take the throne.