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Wiki of Westeros
Wiki of Westeros
This page is about the episode. For other uses, see: The Kingsroad (disambiguation)

"The Kingsroad"[3] is the second episode of the first season of Game of Thrones. It is the second episode of the series overall. It premiered on April 24, 2011 on HBO. It was written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, and directed by Tim Van Patten.


The Lannisters plot to ensure Bran's silence; Jon and Tyrion head to the Wall; Ned faces a family crisis en route to King's Landing.[5]


In the Dothraki Sea[]

The Dothraki khalasar led by Khal Drogo have departed Pentos and are heading east. They travel away from the Free Cities and into the Dothraki Sea, the long-grassed plains that the Dothraki call home. Viserys Targaryen accompanies the khalasar, meaning to stay with Drogo until he fulfills his end of the bargain and provides him with an army with which to invade Westeros, despite Ser Jorah Mormont's suggestion. He tells Viserys that he offended his liege lord, Eddard Stark, by selling poachers into slavery. When he received word that Eddard meant to execute him for the crime, he fled to Essos. Viserys laughs at the notion, saying that such trivialities will not be punished under his reign. Daenerys is finding adapting to her new role as khaleesi to be a huge challenge: she is fearful of her new husband and their first sexual encounter has left her slightly injured. Only Mormont offers her some solace, telling her that it will become easier.

One evening, Drogo spends time drinking with his warriors before going into his tent to pay a visit to Daenerys. He violently takes her from behind, and she is visibly uncomfortable, only finding solace in her dragon eggs. Later, an increasingly curious Dany asks her handmaidens if they have ever heard of dragons surviving in the east. They reply no, but Doreah tells her an old story about how there used to be two moons in the sky; one wandered too close to the sun and cracked like an egg, spilling out thousands of dragons into the world. Dany's Dothraki handmaidens Irri and Jhiqui dismiss the story, saying that the moon is a goddess, wife to the sun.

Daenerys seeks the advice of her handmaid Doreah, who instructs Daenerys on how to please Drogo in bed but also how to use her skills to gain respect from him. Doreah tells Daenerys that she is no slave, and should not have sex like one. Daenerys nervously puts these plans into action and is surprised to find Drogo responsive, particularly once she starts using her body in combination with the Dothraki language to speak to him.

In the North[]

Robb 1x02

Robb says farewell to Jon.

At Winterfell, Bran Stark lies unconscious and badly wounded, his mother by his side. Tyrion Lannister insists to his nephew Joffrey that Joffrey pay his respects to Lord and Lady Stark, since his absence has been noted. When Joffrey refuses, saying the boy means nothing to him, Tyrion slaps Joffrey three times until he accepts his uncle's suggestion. Tyrion then breaks his fast with the rest of his family, informing them of his decision to journey north to see the Wall before returning to King's Landing. He also tells them that Bran is expected to live and notes Cersei and Jaime's guarded reactions.

Cersei visits Catelyn Stark, who is sitting by her son's side, and tells her that her first child, a beautiful black-haired boy, died of a fever. She and Robert were grief-stricken and her prayers and tears were for naught. She offers to pray for Bran's survival, hoping that this time the gods will listen.

Jon Snow has Winterfell's blacksmith, Mikken, forge a light sword for his sister Arya. Arya is excited by the gift and names it Needle. Jon also gives her advice on how to best use the weapon: "Stick them with the pointy end." Jon urges Arya to practice every chance she gets and they hug. Jon then visits his still-comatose Bran to say his farewells and kisses his forehead, before departing at his stepmother's cold request. Eddard then says his goodbyes to his son and to a grieved Catelyn, who is angered at his departure while Bran remains ill. Outside, Robb and Jon hug each other before they depart, hoping to see each other soon.

Distant Winterfell

The two parties depart Winterfell.

The parties depart Winterfell: Jon, Tyrion, and Benjen Stark north to the Wall; and Eddard, Arya, Sansa, and the royal party south to King's Landing. At their parting, Eddard tells Jon, "You are a Stark. You might not have my name, but you have my blood." Ned also promises Jon to tell him about his mother the next time they see each other.

Eddard and Jon

Eddard says goodbye to his bastard son.

Days later, on the Kingsroad south to the capital, King Robert Baratheon calls a halt to discuss with Eddard some dire news that has just arrived: Robert's spies have learned of Daenerys Targaryen's marriage to Khal Drogo, whose khalasar is reported to number over one hundred thousand warriors. Eddard points out that the Dothraki cannot cross the Narrow Sea, as they have no ships, but Robert is concerned that the Seven Kingdoms will soon face another war. Robert asks Eddard about Wylla, the mother of his bastard son, but Eddard refuses to enlighten him. Robert reminds him that at that time, they were in the middle of a war and no one knew if they would ever return to their families.

At Winterfell, Catelyn's refusal to leave Bran's side is starting to cause problems for the smooth running of the castle. Robb offers to work with Maester Luwin to put the castle to rights. There is then a fire in the castle, but this proves to be a distraction to allow an assassin to attempt to finish off Bran. Catelyn hardily holds the assassin off long enough for Bran's direwolf Summer to enter the chamber and promptly tear out the assassin's throat. The wolf then settles down comfortably in the bed next to Bran, silently assuring her of his continued protection.


Jon and Tyrion discussing matters.

Traveling north, Jon and Tyrion talk, and Tyrion explains that he reads books to sharpen his mind, his greatest asset and weapon. As they travel north, the party is joined by several new recruits: rapers who chose to "take the black" rather than be gelded. Tyrion tells Jon that the Night's Watch is not the noble institution it once was, idealized with glorious knights defending the realm against the horrors lurking beyond the Wall, and says that Jon is smarter than to believe the stories his wet nurse told him about "grumkins and snarks" and other monsters. The party later reaches the Wall. Benjen welcomes them, and Tyrion seems impressed by the Wall's size.

At Winterfell, Catelyn goes to the tower that Bran fell from and finds a strand of blonde hair on the floor. She summons Robb, Theon, Luwin, and Rodrik Cassel to tell them that she suspects that the Lannisters tried to kill Bran because he might have seen something in the tower. Robb and Theon are eager for conflict, but Luwin schools them to caution. Catelyn decides that Ned must know the truth and resolves to travel south to King's Landing and meet him there. Ser Rodrik escorts Catelyn while Robb remains in Winterfell to rule the castle in her absence.

At the Inn at the Crossroads[]

On the Kingsroad, the royal party reaches the Inn at the Crossroads, a noted way-stop on the road south to the capital. Prince Joffrey's bodyguard, Sandor Clegane introduces Sansa to Ser Ilyn Payne, the king's headsman, a frightening-looking man who had his tongue torn out on the orders of the Mad King many years ago. Joffrey saves Sansa from this unpleasantness and takes her for a walk along the riverbank. They find Arya practicing her sword work with Mycah, the son of the party's butcher. Joffrey pretends to take offense at Mycah using a sword on the sister of his betrothed and starts to gleefully cut Mycah's face with his sword Lion's Tooth, but an outraged Arya hits him on the head with a stick. Joffrey quickly becomes violent and threatens Arya at sword point, but before he can hurt her, Arya's direwolf Nymeria attacks Joffrey, biting at his arm. Mycah runs off, and Arya throws Lion's Tooth in the river before running off herself. Sansa tries to help Joffrey, but he spitefully tells her to leave him alone.

Arya, knowing that Nymeria will be punished for injuring the prince, forces the direwolf to flee by throwing a rock at her. She is then taken before the King, who is angered that a minor quarrel has become a major incident, with his wife and new Hand blaming each other's children. Joffrey offers a false account of the incident, and Cersei asks Sansa to confirm it. Put in an impossible position, Sansa refuses to contradict him, enraging Arya. The king decides to let Ned discipline Arya while he will do the same to Joffrey, but Cersei demands that the direwolf be put down. When Nymeria cannot be found, Cersei spitefully requests that Sansa's direwolf Lady be killed instead, and Robert acquiesces, upsetting Sansa and further angering Arya.

Furious, Eddard attends to the matter himself, passing the Hound arriving with Mycah's bloodied corpse. Eddard is shocked and disgusted, and when he asks if the Hound rode Mycah down, the Hound responds that he ran, but not very fast. Eddard kills Lady with a dagger, and hundreds of miles away, Bran awakens.


Main page: The Kingsroad/Appearances





Guest starring[]

Also starring[]




Sandor: "The prince will remember that, little lord."
Tyrion: "I hope so. If he forgets, be a good dog and remind him."
— Sandor Clegane and Tyrion Lannister[src]
Jaime: "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, whereas life, ah... life is full of possibilities."
— Jaime and Tyrion Lannister[src]
"First lesson: stick 'em with the pointy end."
―Jon Snow
"The Starks have maned the Wall for thousands of years, and you are a Stark. You may not have my name, but you have my blood."
―Eddard Stark to Jon Snow
"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!"
―Robert Baratheon
"The wolf is of the north. She deserves better than a butcher."
―Eddard Stark

Behind the scenes[]


  • The episode takes its name from the Kingsroad, a long road which runs from the Wall to Storm's End.
  • A notable change from the books is that the events at the Crossroads Inn happen at Castle Darry, a small holdfast south of the river. Renly and Barristan Selmy also first appear here in the books, journeying north with Ilyn Payne to meet the King's party. In the TV series only Ilyn appears, and the other two remain in King's Landing until the third episode.
  • 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 situated farther in the east of Essos, while the title sequence map shows it much closer to the center of the Dothraki sea.
  • According to 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," 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 the entire run of the series. Ultimately Cogman came up with "The Kingsroad" as the name for this episode.[6]
  • In the novels, Cersei never had legitimate children with Robert. She told Eddard that she was once pregnant with Robert's child, but had the child aborted out of hatred for him; Robert was unaware of both the pregnancy and the abortion.[7]
  • 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 a condensed version of what happened: Tywin was Hand for twenty years, but he resigned in protest a few years before the rebellion started due to several unpleasantries between him and Aerys (regarding Joanna and Jaime), so he wasn't Hand when Aerys died. Following Tywin's resignation, four people served as Aerys's Hand:[8] Owen Merryweather, Jon Connington, Qarlton Chelsted, and Rossart.
  • When Joffrey offers Sansa more wine, she says that she shouldn't, as her father only lets his children have one cup at feasts. In the books, during the feast at Winterfell, 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 that he usually sits at the table with his family, Jon is instead placed among the younger squires at the other end of the great hall at 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, until his uncle Benjen catches him.
  • In the first episode, Iain Glen's name in the title credits is accompanied by a square with a neutral pattern. In this episode his name appears beside a square depicting a bear for House Mormont.
  • Arya's intervention to protect Mycah slightly resembles what Ser Duncan the Tall did many years before: prince Aerion Targaryen bullied a puppeteer name Tanselle, and Duncan intervened and beat Aerion; since the bully was royalty, the encounter resulted in the death of an innocent person.


Actors Mark Addy, Lena Headey, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau provide a commentary for the episode on Blu-ray and DVD (Addy and Headey together in London, and Coster-Waldau on a video link from Copenhagen).

  • The scene where Cersei talks about her dead 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 misidentifies 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.
  • 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.
  • Nikolaj Coster-Waldau expands upon the scene from the first episode in which Jon, Theon, and Robb were shaved: Alfie Allen refused to eat for two days prior to the scene to ensure he looked as good as possible.

In the books[]

Main page: Differences in adaptation/Game of Thrones: Season 1#"The Kingsroad"
  • The episode is adapted from the following chapters of A Game of Thrones:
    • Chapter 9, Tyrion I.
    • Chapter 10, Jon II.
    • Chapter 12, Eddard II.
    • Chapter 13, Tyrion II.
    • Chapter 14, Catelyn III.
    • Chapter 15, Sansa I.
    • Chapter 16, Eddard III.
    • Chapter 17, Bran III.
    • Chapter 19, Jon III.
    • Chapter 23, Daenerys III.




Promotional stills[]



  1. GAME OF THRONES (HBO). The Futon Critic. Retrieved February 23, 2023.
  2. Game of Thrones: Season 1, Episode 2: "The Kingsroad" (2011).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 The Kingsroad. HBO. Retrieved February 22, 2023.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Game of Thrones. HBO. Retrieved February 22, 2023.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Game of Thrones: Season 1. HBO. Retrieved February 25, 2023.
  6. Bryan Cogman Interview with Chronicle Books
  7. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 45, Eddard XII (1996).
  8. "The Hand of the King"


  1. In "You Win or You Die," Jorah Mormont receives a pardon stating that the current year is 298.

External links[]