After Ned’s death, Sansa finally sees the truth about Joff’s character. Though Sansa has begged for mercy for her father, and the council has even deemed it appropriate for Joff to show Ned mercy, Joff has Ned executed anyway for no better reason than cruelty. As a result, Sansa, who has previously struggled to maintain an idealized view of Joff and the royal court, realizes how morally corrupt both truly are. The naivete the reader has recognized in Sansa since the beginning of the novel finally becomes clear to Sansa as well, and she finally confronts the difficult truths about Joff and the royal court that she has avoided for much of the novel. After this realization, Sansa's feelings toward Joff turn quickly from infatuation to hatred. She tells Joff she hates him, that she hopes her brother will defeat him, and ultimately she even considers killing him by knocking him off the side of the Red Keep.

Mirri says that, like so many others, Daenerys has also refused to see a difficult truth. Daenerys, Mirri suggests, was foolish to believe that she would actually help Drogo when it was Drogo and his men who destroyed her community. Daenerys, however, chose to trust Mirri, and she chose to believe that Mirri's magic would heal Drogo, despite everyone around her telling her not to trust Mirri. Now, Mirri tells her to look at Drogo and see another hard truth: Drogo’s life is worth nothing since he cannot think or move, just as Mirri says her own life is worth nothing to her since Drogo killed everything she knew. Daenerys seems to understand, since she suffocates Drogo at the end of the chapter rather than avoid the reality of his condition. Throughout the chapter Daenerys repeats the words from her dreams, telling herself that if she looks back she is lost. The words reinforce the way Daenerys must face the difficulties ahead instead of averting her eyes from them.