At Winterfell, Bran Stark dreams of direwolves. He feels connected to them, and in his dreams he can see through the eyes of a wolf and even taste blood. As he stares at the comet and listens to the direwolves Summer and Shaggydog howl, Bran wonders if they mourn for another dead Stark. He howls out the window and the wolves howl back.
Bran has become the lord of Winterfell while his brother Robb and his mother are away. As part of an allegiance that the Starks made with Walder Frey, the Lord of the Crossing, Winterfell is now home to two Frey cousins, Big Walder and Little Walder. Bran dislikes the Freys, one of whom was attacked by Shaggydog, leading to the direwolves being moved into the godswood. But in his dreams, Bran joins the wolves in the godswood, feeling himself moving on four legs and searching for the rest of his pack.
Everyone Yoren and the recruits see on their way north is heading south, fleeing the war-torn region ahead. At an inn, they hear tales of the battles and of rampaging wolf packs. Arya cannot help interjecting, so Yoren makes her wait outside, where she talks to the three prisoners that travel in chains with them. Two try to scare her, while the third, Jaqen H’ghar, is polite. She runs into another boy, known as the Bull. As they walk off, gold cloaks (men from the City Watch in King’s Landing) ride up. They have come on the queen’s orders to retrieve a boy bound for the Wall. Arya assumes they are after her, but it turns out they want the Bull, whose real name is Gendry. Yoren and the other men and boys in the party drive them off but know they must flee before the gold cloaks return.
At the headquarters of the Night’s Watch, Jon Snow and his friend Samwell Tarly prepare to go on their first ranging beyond the Wall. Jeor Mormont, the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch who is known as the Old Bear, will lead a party north in search of Benjen Stark. Benjen, who is Jon's uncle, was the Watch's First Ranger and has been missing for months. Bound by his oath to the Night’s Watch to stay out of the politics of the Seven Kingdoms, Jon wonders how his half-brother Robb fares in the struggle against the Lannisters. Jon works as the steward for the Old Bear, and he learns that the Old Bear has sent envoys to the factions vying for the throne, asking for more men and supplies for the Night’s Watch. The Old Bear tells Jon that Aemon, the Watch’s maester, could have been king once, and he probes Jon for his thoughts about Robb’s new role. Jon says that he feels troubled but will keep his vow to the Watch.
At Riverrun, Catelyn Stark worries about the effects of kingship on her son Robb. Only fifteen, Robb has been proclaimed the King in the North by men loyal to Winterfell, though he sometimes still seems just a boy. Robb sends Ser Cleos Frey, a nephew of Tywin Lannister and a prisoner of war, to King’s Landing with peace terms for Cersei. Although Robb offers severe terms, Catelyn notices that some of the men in his party do not want to make peace with the Lannisters under any conditions. The Lannister forces are terrorizing civilians in the riverlands, and many lords from that region who fought for Robb are returning home to defend their lands and subjects.
Catelyn questions Robb about the wisdom of offering such unacceptable peace terms and accuses him of not trying to protect his sisters being held hostage at King's Landing. She also questions Robb’s decision to send Theon Greyjoy, a longtime ward of the Starks, home to the Iron Islands in an effort to convince his father, Balon Greyjoy, to align with the Starks. Robb dismisses her concerns.