"The Kingsroad" is the second episode of Season 1 of Game of Thrones, and the second episode of the entire series.



The Lannisters plot to ensure Bran's silence; Jon and Tyrion head to the WallNed faces a family crisis en route to King's Landing.


In Essos, the Dothraki khalasar under Drogo's command departs from Pentos, heading through the Dothraki Sea with the intent of heading for Vaes Dothrak, with Viserys and Daenerys going with them, as well as Ser Jorah, who is sworn to Viserys' service. As they march through the Dothraki Sea, Ser Jorah finds Daenerys sitting motionless on her horse, and decides to console her. It is made clear that Daenerys is unhappy about her predicament, giving Drogo a glance as he marches by. Jorah tells her it will get easier, but Daenerys wordlessly takes her horse and rejoins the rest of the horde. 

Soon, the khalasar comes to a stop and makes camp. Daenerys, hands still sore from her consummation with Drogo, is helped off her horse by Ser Jorah, before being taken to her tent to be tended to by her three new handmaidens: Doreah, Irri and Jhiqui. Jorah tells Viserys he can still return to Pentos to wait comfortably while the Dothraki prepare for war, but Viserys makes it clear he will hound Drogo until he gets the army promised to him. Viserys then goes onto ask Jorah what he was exiled for, and the knight admits that he sold poachers he found on his land into slavery, and rather than get executed by Ned Stark, he took his possessions and fled to Essos. Viserys laughs, reassuring Jorah that when he becomes king, he will not be punished for such things, before turning and leaving. Jorah watches him walk away, unimpressed.


Tyrion slaps Joffrey

Back in Westeros, at Winterfell, Tyrion awakes in the kennels, surrounded by dogs. Standing up, he finds Joffrey, with the Hound behind him, smugly regarding him. Joffrey tells Tyrion that they will be leaving for King's Landing soon, but Tyrion insists Joffrey pay respects to Catelyn Stark for Bran's incident before they leave. Joffrey refuses, and Tyrion slaps him repeatedly, causing the prince to rush off embarassed. The Hound tells Tyrion that Joffrey will remember that, but Tyrion shrugs this off and moves for the great hall, proclaiming his hunger. Entering the hall to find Cersei and Jaime, as well as Cersei's children Tommen and Myrcella, Tyrion joins them. Tyrion reveals that Bran will survive his fall, although he is not likely to wake up for a while: Cersei and Jaime share a look of worry. After a few misplaced comments, Cersei takes Tommen and Myrcella and storms out, disgusted. Jaime asks Tyrion where his loyalties lie, where he makes it clear that he loves his family, and he would never betray them.

Catelyn is sitting with the comatose Bran in his bed when Cersei enters the room, wishing to check on Bran. Cersei reveals that her first child with Robert died when he was young, falling severely ill before perishing not long after. She wishes Catelyn well, and claims to pray that Bran wakes up, before leaving the room. At the blacksmith, Jon has Mikken forge a very small blade. He is approached by Jaime, who asks if he has ever swung a sword, to which Jon replies that he has, just not at a real target. Jaime cynically congratulates him for deciding to join the Night's Watch, to which Jon proclaims that they've defended the realm for thousands of years. Jaime sarcastically jokes that if Jon decides the Watch isn't for him, that it's only for life. 

Shortly after, Jon visits Arya in her room as she's packing for her journey to King's Landing. She tries to show off her skills in taming Nymeria, but her direwolf proves uncooperative in her attempts, leaving Jon amused. He then shows her the small blade he had made, revealing that he had it forged for her specifically, but that she will have to have it hidden so Septa Mordane doesn't find it. Arya thanks him for it with an embrace, before Jon asks her what she'll name it: she chooses Needle, in honor of the needlework that she despises. Arya then says goodbye to Jon with one final hug.


Jon says farewell to Robb

Jon visits Bran in his room, much to the anger of Catelyn, who doesn't want him there. Despite Catelyn's attempts to get him to leave, Jon persists and walks up to Bran's side, promising to show him the Wall when he wakes up, before offering one final kiss to the forehead as goodbye. Catelyn gives her final ultimatum, outright demanding he leaves just as Ned enters the doorway. Jon turns and leaves, and Ned sits by Catelyn's side, trying to reaffirm that what he's doing is necessary, but Catelyn refuses to hear it. Ned ends up leaving in silence, with Catelyn bursting into tears as soon as he leaves.

Robb walks with Jon, who has a saddle over his shoulder, as they move for a horse. Robb enquires if Jon said goodbye to Bran, going onto further ask if Catelyn was kind to him: Jon lies and says she was kind, wanting to show the Stark family respect. Jon and Robb say goodbye to each other one last time, before Robb turns and walks away, while Jon saddles his horse. Later, King Robert and his retainers depart from Winterfell, taking the kingsroad toward King's Landing. With them is Benjen Stark, Jon Snow, Ned, Sansa and Arya Stark this time, as well as fifty Stark guardsmen, although with different intentions. At the fork of the road, Benjen, accompanied by Tyrion and two Lannister guardsmen, splits off to head back to Castle Black. Jon moves to join them, but is joined by Ned before he can. Ned shares his pride in Jon for joining the Night's Watch, commending him for his actions: Jon asks about his true mother, but Ned promises to tell him the truth once they meet each other. Parting ways, Ned gallops to join the caravan heading for King's Landing, while Jon races to catch up with Benjen and the others.


The king's caravan departs Winterfell

Later, on the way to the capital, the caravan sets up camp, with Robert and Ned eating together away from the main group. The two of them trade stories back and forth, especially regarding two whores they bedded during the rebellion: after talking about Robert's, the king asks Ned for his, but the King's Hand is reluctant to talk about it, making his shame clear. Robert tries to reassure him, but Ned instead evades the topic entirely. Robert hands him a letter, and Ned reads it, revealing its a spy's report about Daenerys marrying Drogo: Ned isn't bothered by it, while Robert insists it could become an issue, especially with a Dothraki horde under Viserys' command. Ned insists that if they do decide to invade, they will defeat them without issue, and the two cease all discussion on the topic. Robert, however, makes it clear that he feels that a war is coming, he just doesn't know with who.

Back at the Dothraki camp in Essos, Drogo once again forcefully has sex with Daenerys, all the while she eyes the three dragon eggs residing in their tent. Returning to Westeros, Jon, Tyrion, Benjen and the others make camp in the Gift, setting up a fire while Tyrion reads a book. Jon watches as a Night's Watchman arrives with two prisoners, one of them a rapist. Tyrion reveals that the Night's Watch will recruit anyone, and has taken to recruiting criminals just to fill their ranks. This visibly distresses Jon, who finds his knowledge on the Watch's nobility being brought into question. Tyrion expresses his skepticism at the necessity of the Watch, remarking that "grumkins and snarks" simply don't exist. When Jon asks him why he reads books so much, Tyrion replies that he is no warrior, but that he has learned to put his other talents to good use. Jon turns to look at Rast, noting the look of hatred in his eyes.


Catelyn desperately tries to save Bran's life

Back at Winterfell, Catelyn remains by Bran's bed side, using needlework to distract herself. She is visited by Maester Luwin, who insists that Catelyn is neglecting her duties as Lady of Winterfell, and that she needs to review the economic costs the king's visit paid on them. Robb interrupts, telling Luwin that he will deal with it tomorrow. Luwin, satisfied, leaves, while Robb remains with Catelyn, who tells her that Rickon is scared, and doesn't understand what is happening. Wolves begin to howl outside, and Catelyn asks him to close the window, but as he goes to do so, he sees a fire raging within the castle, and rushes out to deal with it as bells begin to ring. Alone in the room, Catelyn turns to see a lone man standing beside Bran's bed, wearing a hood and wielding a knife: he makes clear his intent to kill Bran. As Catelyn goes to stop him, she is attacked by the assassin, only to be thrown away. Before he can kill Bran however, Summer rushes into the room, attacking the assassin and ripping out his throat, before moving to Bran's side. Catelyn watches on in shock, cradling her damaged hands whilst staring at the dead assassin's corpse.

Back in Essos at the Dothraki camp, Daenerys is attended to by her servants. They theorize about the origins of dragons, with many of them coming up with outlandish theories, but all of them concluding that all the dragons are now extinct and gone from the world. Daenerys once again eyes the three dragon eggs in the tent, but makes no comment. In the end, she talks with Doreah, finding out she is a prostitute from Lys. She asks if Doreah can teach her how to please Drogo, and Doreah agrees to do so.


Jon looks on in awe at the Wall on the horizon

Back in Westeros, at the Gift, Jon, Tyrion and the others crest a hill to see the Wall on the horizon. Jon looks on in awe, before the group continue their trek towards the massive fortification. Back in Winterfell, the day after the attempt on Bran's life, Catelyn decides to investigate the broken tower, where Bran fell. Ascending the tower, she finds a stray piece of hair, and finds that she recognizes it. Later, she organizes a secret meeting with Maester Luwin, Ser Rodrik, Robb and Theon in the godswood. She reveals that she now believes Bran was thrown, to which Luwin agrees, as Bran had always been surefooted before. Catelyn makes it clear she believes the Lannisters are involved, and Ser Rodrik states that the blade is valyrian steel, while the handle is dragonbone: too fine a blade for just any assassin. Catelyn suggests warning Ned, stating that she doesn't trust a raven and someone must go personally: Robb volunteers, but in the end, it is Catelyn herself who decides to go. With some convincing, she eventually allows Ser Rodrik to accompany her as protection. That night, Catelyn says goodbye to Bran, who's still unconscious, before departing, leaving him her needlework creation.

Back at the Dothraki camp in Essos, Doreah teaches Daenerys the art of seduction and sex. Later that night, when Drogo storms into the tent, Daenerys instead resists his attempts to dominate, and demonstrates more control over their union. Drogo takes note of this, and the two begin to have sex, this time, not as one sided as the times before.

King Robert's caravan arrives at a crossroads inn in the Riverlands, where they stop and set up camp once again. Sansa is taking a walk with Lady, her direwolf, when she runs into Ser Ilyn Payne, the king's royal executioner. She apologizes for bumping into him, but he doesn't answer. The Hound walks up to her, asking her menacingly if Ser Ilyn scares her, admitting somewhat that he does scare him a little due to his dead expression, wide eyes and silence. Ser Ilyn eventually leaves just as Prince Joffrey arrives, the Hound revealing that the Mad King had Ser Ilyn's tongue ripped out with hot pincers, which is why he doesn't talk: he simply can't. Joffrey asks for the honor of walking with Sansa, and when she accepts, he asks the Hound to leave them: he does. Leaving Lady behind, the two of them decide to walk aroundside the edge of the Trident river. While walking, they hear laughter, and approach the sound until they find the source: Arya, armed with a stick, battles Mycah, her friend, with another stick, the two of them pretending to sword fight. Joffrey intervenes, drawing his own sword as he orders Mycah to "prove his worth". Just as he is beginning to hurt the frightened Mycah, Arya hits him on the back with her stick, and Mycah flees whilst Joffrey is dazed. The furious Joffrey moves to retaliate, only for Nymeria to bite his wrist. Arya takes his sword, but after a few moments, decides to throw it into the river, before fleeing with Nymeria. Sansa tries to console Joffrey, but he simply snarls at her, leaving Sansa shocked at his sudden change in demeanour.

Later, Lannister guardsmen comb the forest in search of Arya, who is hiding behind a tree with Nymeria. Afraid of what they'll do to her direwolf, Arya tries to order Nymeria into the woods, but the wolf is reluctant. Finally, after throwing a stone at her, Nymeria sprints off into the wilderness, while Arya remains where she is, hidden. Later, at night, Ned is leading his own men in a seperate search when Jory runs up to him, informing him that the Lannisters have found Arya and taking her directly before the king. Angered, Ned turns and orders his men to withdraw back to the inn.


Bran wakes up from his coma

Arriving back at the inn, Ned storms inside, where he embraces Arya, before demanding to know why she wasn't brought to him first. Joffrey and Arya trade insults, both of them offering their own sides of the story, while Joffrey clearly lies about it. Robert shows no sympathy for Joffrey's plight, but after Sansa openly lies about not knowing what happened (and Arya subsequently hitting her for lying) he decides to drop it. Cersei tells him that if he won't hold Arya accountable, at least hold the direwolf for blame. Robert agrees, before marching off, much to Ned's dismay. With the absence of Nymeria, Cersei orders Ser Ilyn to kill Lady instead. Despite Sansa's pleas for them not to hurt her Lady, Ned instead offers to kill Lady himself, arguing that the direwolf is of the north, and deserves more than a butcher. He has Jory take Sansa and Arya to their beds, while he goes outside to deal with Lady. Outside, he finds the Hound returning with his horse, with a dead Mycah slouched over his saddle. Ned is horrified by this, but when he asks the Hound what happened, he simply replies, "he ran. Not very fast."

Arriving where Lady is chained up, Ned pets the direwolf, before grabbing his knife and quickly slitting her throat, killing the direwolf quickly and swiftly. Far away, back in Winterfell, Bran eyes open, and he wakes up.










Main Cast

Guest starring

Cast notes

  • 18 of 19 cast members for the first season appear in this episode.
  • Jason Momoa (Drogo) is credited as 'also starring' during the closing credits of this episode.
  • Wilko Johnson is a noted British guitarist who has played with bands including Dr. Feelgood and The Blockheads. The series marks his first acting role.


  • The episode takes its name from the Kingsroad, a massive road which runs from the Wall to Storm's End.
    • Like many episodes of Game of Thrones, the episode same refers to multiple plots of the episode in a metaphorical manner. The title refers to two plots in this episode: Robert Baratheon, and the "road" he is currently walking down that Ned Stark disagrees and dismayed by, and therefore the "king's road". And Viserys, who is walking down a "road" away from his throne, and therefore on the wrong "king's road."
  • A notable change from the books is that the events at the Crossroads Inn actually happen at Castle Darry, a small holdfast south of the river. Renly Baratheon and Ser Barristan Selmy also first appear here in the books, journeying north with Ser Ilyn Payne to meet the King's party. In the TV series only Ser Ilyn appears, and the other two remain in King's Landing until the third episode.
  • First mention of Wylla, the alleged mother of Jon Snow.
  • The title sequence changes in this episode, dropping Pentos from the map and incorporating Vaes Dothrak, although it will be several episodes until Daenerys and the Dothraki get there. The title sequence is the first time that Vaes Dothrak and the surrounding region has been depicted on a map, being absent from both the maps in the novels and also on the HBO website. The location of Vaes Dothrak in the sequence is erroneous though as later maps show the city lying in farther in the east of Essos, while the title sequence map shows it much closer to the center of the Dothraki sea.
  • According to episode writer Bryan Cogman, episodes of Game of Thrones are only named late into their production, after principal photography is completed. The first title that Cogman pitched to David Benioff for this episode was "A Direwolf is No Pet" (which is a quote from the episode). Benioff responded by making Cogman promise that if he were ever to suddenly die, Cogman would never under any circumstances use the title "A Direwolf is No Pet" for any episodes of the entire series. Ultimately Cogman came up with "The Kingsroad" as the name for this episode.
  • In the novels, Cersei never gave birth to a child of Robert. She told Eddard Stark that she was once pregnant with a child of Robert, but had the child aborted out of hatred for him. Robert was unaware of both the pregnancy and the abortion. Cersei isn't simply lying in this episode to manipulate Catelyn, as in a later episode (The Wolf and the Lion) she discusses with Robert their first child, who was "black of hair" like Robert.
  • Tyrion says that his father Tywin was Hand of the King for twenty years, to which Jon responds "Until your brother killed that king," which Tyrion acknowledges. This is actually a condensed version of what happened: Tywin was Hand for twenty years, but he resigned in protest a few years before the rebellion started, so he wasn't actually Hand when Aerys died. This is not a difference between the books and TV series, the characters are just speaking loosely: other references to these events in the TV continuity specify that Tywin resigned just before the rebellion.
  • When Joffrey offers Sansa more wine, she says that she shouldn't, as her father only lets his children have a cup of wine at special feasts. In the books, during the feast at Winterfell (which happened last episode), Jon Snow is the POV narrator, and he notes that Ned Stark does indeed only let his children have a single cup of wine at feasts. In the books, Jon does attend the feast for the king but is instead seated elsewhere in the great hall. While the books note he usually sits at the table with his family, Jon is instead placed among younger squires at the other end of the great hall during this occasion. Jon doesn't mind (apart from the usual hurt at being rejected by Catelyn) because, as he is unsupervised due to not being at his father's table in this instance, he can drink as much wine as he wants and, indeed, gets rather drunk. However, his Uncle Benjen later catches him drunk in this chapter.
  • In the first episode, Iain Glen's name in the title credits is accompanied by a square with a neutral pattern. In this episode this is corrected as his name appears beside a square depicting a bear for house Mormont.

Episode commentaryEdit

Actors Mark Addy, Lena Heady and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau provide a commentary for the episode on Blu-ray and DVD (Mark and Lena together in London, Nikolaj on a video link from Copenhagen). This commentary is more humorous than the producers' commentary for the previous episode.

  • Lena Headey and Mark Addy observe that the opening title sequence does a good job of orienting people within the world of Westeros. Lena proceeds to give an impersonation of locations that could be used by a Westeros-based satnav device.
  • None of the three actors were involved in any of the shooting on Malta or the scenes involving the Dothraki, so were fascinated to see how Daenerys's story unfolded.
  • Lena Headey finds the relationship between Ser Jorah and Daenerys fascinating.
  • Lena Headey suggests that Mark Addy could return in future seasons as Robert Baratheon's ghost.
  • All three actors find Peter Dinklage 'irritatingly great.'
  • The scene where Cersei talks about her dying first son was Lena Headey's audition piece. Lena's take on Cersei is that when she was very young she was not unlike Sansa.
  • Nikolaj Coster-Waldau mis-identifies Mikken as being played by Tommy Dunne, when in fact he is played by Boyd Rankin. Mark Addy then mentions Boyd Rankin's behind-the-scenes role on the show. Nikolaj's take on Jaime Lannister's view of Jon Snow and the Night's Watch is that he is completely baffled by the very idea of the organization.
  • All three actors think the difficult relationship between Jon Snow and Catelyn to be extremely well-played.
  • Mark Addy and Sean Bean were previously acquainted from drama school (though they were in different years), as well as working on the Red Riding TV movie trilogy a couple of years earlier.
  • Sean Bean was noted on set for stealing other people's sandwiches.
  • Jaime Lannister was supposed to be present in the background of the scene where Eddard and Robert discuss Jon Snow's mother and Daenerys's wedding, but the schedule didn't allow for it. The scene between Jaime and Jory was written to make up for Nikolaj Coster-Waldau's reduction in screentime in this scene.
  • The three actors agree that Eddard Stark's storyline is one of constantly making bad decisions.
  • Nikolaj Coster-Waldau notes the irony of Jon Snow's disapproval of Jaime breaking his oath to kill the Mad King (in his discussion with Tyrion in the woods) given his later decision to break his oath to the Night's Watch in the final episode of the season.
  • The wolves had a tendency to wake up the actors early in the morning with a chorus of howling.
  • Lena Headey considers the costumes to be brilliant, but finds some of the helmets to be veering a little towards Monty Python.
  • Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau love the phrase 'twincest,' which fans coined some years earlier to describe Cersei and Jaime's relationship.
  • Nikolaj Coster-Waldau expands on the scene from the first episode where Jon, Theon and Robb were shaved. Apparently Alfie Allen refused to eat for two days prior to the scene to ensure he looked as good as possible.
  • During the scene where Doreah tutors Daenerys in the arts of love, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau observes the accuracy of the fan term 'sexposition' to describe such scenes. The three actors then debate whether Daenerys is indeed suffering from a form of Stockholm Syndrome in her relationship with Khal Drogo.
  • Lena Headey is a fan of the character development of Sansa throughout the first season, particularly her movement from being 'wet' to being stronger in her scenes with Joffrey in the final episode of the season.
  • The actors note that because there were so many storylines progressing in which they were not involved, it was hard to see how the whole thing would come together until they saw the finished series.

In the booksEdit

The episode, like the majority of Season 1, is adapted from the first book of A Song of Ice and FireA Game of ThronesThis episode is adapted from the following chapters:

  • Tyrion I: Tyrion insists Joffrey pay his respects to Catelyn Stark for Bran Stark's incident, before joining his brother and sister in the great hall for breakfast.
  • Jon II: Jon pays his farewells to the Starks: first to Bran, then Robb and finally Arya, who he gives a specially made Braavosi type sword.
  • Eddard II: Ned and Robert discuss the threat Daenerys Targaryen poses to Westeros.
  • Tyrion II: Tyrion argues with Jon about the realities on the Wall.
  • Catelyn III: Catelyn breaks down over Bran's fall, and then proceeds to foil an attempt on Bran's life, before being rescued by Summer
  • Sansa I: Sansa goes on a trip with Joffrey when they encounter Arya sword fighting with Mycah. Joffrey threatens Mycah, but Arya beats him down, and Nymeria bites his wrist, before all three flee. Sansa tries to reassure him, but Joffrey snarls at her to get help and to not touch him. 
  • Eddard III: Arya and Joffrey tell Robert conflicting stories of what happened during their fight at the Trident. When Sansa claims she doesn't remember, Cersei orders Nymeria, Arya's direwolf, killed for hurting her son. With Nymeria absent, Lady is sentenced to death instead. Ned carries out the sentence personally.
  • Bran III: Bran wakes up.
  • Daenerys III: Daenerys learns to be more dominant while having sex with Drogo.

Memorable quotesEdit

Joffrey Baratheon: "Better-looking bitches than you're used to, Uncle. My mother's been looking for you. We ride for King's Landing today."
Tyrion Lannister: "Before you go, you will call on Lord and Lady Stark and offer your sympathies."
Joffrey: "What good will my sympathies do them?"
Tyrion: "None. But it is expected of you. Your absence has already been noted."
Joffrey: The boy means nothing to me. And I can't stand the wailing of women. Ah!"
Tyrion: "One word and I"ll hit you again"
Joffrey: "I'm telling mother! Aw!"
Tyrion: "Go! Tell her! But first you will get to Lord and Lady Stark and you will fall on your knees in front of them and tell them how very sorry you are, that you are at their service, and that all your prayers are with them. Do you understand?"   
Joffrey: "You can't...Eh!"
Tyrion: "Do you understand?"

Sandor Clegane: "The Prince will remember that, little Lord."

Tyrion: "I hope so. If he forgets, be a good dog and remind him."

Jaime Lannister: "But even if the boy lives, he would be a cripple, a grotesque. Give me a good, clean death any day."

Tyrion: "Speaking for the grotesques, I have to disagree. Death is so final, yet life is full of possibilities. I hope the boy does wake. I'd be very interested to hear what he has to say."
Jaime: "My dear brother, there are times you make me wonder whose side you're on."
Tyrion: "My dear brother, you wound me. You know how much I love my family."

Jon Snow: "Stick 'em with the pointy end."

Arya Stark: "I know which end to use."

Eddard Stark: "There's great honor serving in the Night's Watch. The Starks have manned the Wall for thousands of years, and you are a Stark. You may not have my name, but you have my blood."

Jon: "Is my mother alive? Does she know about me, where I am? where I'm going? Does she care?"
Eddard: "The next time we see each other, we'll talk about your mother. I promise."

Robert Baratheon: "Yours was Aleena? No? You told me once. Meryl? Your bastard's mother?"

Eddard: "Wylla."
Robert: "That's it. She must have been a rare wench to make Lord Eddard Stark forget his honor. You never told me what she looked like."
Eddard: "Nor will I."

Robert Baratheon: "I swear, if I weren't your king, you'd have hit me already."

Eddard: "The worst thing about your coronation. I'll never get to hit you again."

Robert: "Oh, it's unspeakable to you? What her father did to your family, that was unspeakable! What Rhaegar Targaryen did to your sister, the woman I loved! I'll kill every Targaryen I get my hands on!"

Eddard: "But you can't get your hands on this one, can you?"

Catspaw assassin: "You're not supposed to be here. No one is supposed to be here. It's a mercy. He's dead already."
Joffrey: "I'll get you, you little cunt!"

Cersei Lannister: "She's as wild as that animal of hers. I want her punished."

Robert: "What would you have me do? Whip her through the streets? Damn it, children fight! It's over!"
Cersei: "Joffrey will bear these scars for the rest of his life."
Robert: [To Joffrey] "You let that little girl disarm you? Ned, see to that your daughter is disciplined. I'll do the same with my son."
Eddard: "Gladly, your Grace."

Eddard: "The wolf is of the North. She deserves better than a butcher."
Eddard: "The butcher's boy? You rode him down?"

Sandor: "He ran. Not very fast."

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