Fire and Blood
Poised in the Riverlands for further war with the Lannisters, Robb and Catelyn Stark receive the tragic news about Ned. Similar word travels north to Winterfell and the Wall, where Jon reacts by deserting his post and seeking revenge… until his friends convince him Castle Black is the only place he belongs. Tyrion's father sends him sent south to King's Landing to serve as the new Hand, just as Arya escapes the city with the Night's Watch recruiter, Yoren.
Seat of House Frey, the two identical fortresses known as the Twins provide the only crossing for miles on the Green Fork of the Trident River. A narrow pass, known as the Stone Bridge, connects the two strongholds to each other and for centuries, the Freys have charged a toll on Riverland travelers who need safe passage across the Stone Bridge. In order to make his way across the river towards the Lannister encampments, Robb Stark enters in a marriage contract with a Frey daughter as part of his toll. Once on the other side, Robb manages to distract and surprise Jaime Lannister's forces and take the Kingslayer hostage.
The Pointy End
Located in the center of the Wall, Castle Black is the headquarters of the Night's Watch and Westeros' first line of defense against the mysteries of the North. Recruits like Jon Snow, Sam Tarly, Pyp and Grenn receive their training and assignments here before being sent out to the other strongholds along the Wall. In recent years, the idea of "taking the black" has fallen out of favor among the noble houses, leaving the Watch understaffed with criminals avoiding harsher punishment. The Night's Watch and Castle Black are led by Lord Commander Jeor Mormont, formerly of Bear Island. It is in his quarters that Jon Snow spots and dispatches a wight.
You Win or You Die
The Mountains of the Moon are riddled with rival mountain tribes. Like the wildings in the North, they pledge no fealty to the king and live by their own rules. The customs of the mountain clans however, are more primitive – Black Ears collect the ears from their vanquished foes, Burned Men brand themselves. When Tyrion Lannister meets a group of them, he promises them the ultimate prize for their aid – the Vale of Arryn itself.
A Golden Crown
The wooded area beyond Winterfell is where the Starks go to hunt and ride. Although mostly safe, the area has seen an increased presence of wildings, the lawless tribes that continually raid northern villages. The band that happens upon a helpless Bran is made up of wildings and a Night's Watch deserter on the run to Dorne, the southernmost part of Westeros.
The Wolf and the Lion
A secluded castle located atop the Mountains of the Moon in the Vale of Arryn, the Eyrie is where House Arryn calls home. Intruders who do manage to make it close are imprisoned in Sky Cells (open shelves on the face of the mountain) or dropped out of the Moon Door which opens to the valley below. Fearing for her life and that of her young son, the newly widowed Lysa Arryn has fled King's Landing for the safety of the Eyrie, a place she has not been since her wedding nearly two decades earlier.
Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things
Centrally located in Westeros, the Riverlands are controlled by House Tully, the ancestral home of Lady Stark. The three forks of the Trident River run through the Riverlands, which is rich in farmlands and fish. Because the Kingsroad, which runs through the Riverlands, is the main causeway between the North and the South, a number of inns have sprouted up along the route to tend to weary travelers. Catelyn Stark is resting at the Inn at the Crossroads when she happens upon Tyrion Lannister.
After leaving Winterfell, Ned and his daughters ride a month to reach King's Landing. The city has been the capital of the Seven Kingdoms since the Iron Throne was established by the Targaryens three centuries ago. While the doings of the Red Keep, the royal castle, dominates city life, there exist other pockets of the city that specialize in their own industries and interests. Petyr Baelish, known as "Littlefinger," takes the Starks to a brothel he runs, where business is prosperous.
With his childhood friend Robert Baratheon in need of a trusted Hand, Ned Stark must leave Winterfell, his family's seat. Ned leaves in the company of his two daughters, while his son Bran remains behind recuperating from his fall. Since the establishment of Winterfell generations ago by Brandon the Builder, there has always been a Stark at Winterfell. Ned's oldest, Robb, remains behind and in charge of the ancestral stronghold, under the guidance of Maester Luwin who helps administer the running of the castle.
Winter Is Coming
The last surviving members of the Targaryen family, Viserys and his sister Daenerys, have fled to the eastern continent of Essos. In Pentos, a Free City beyond the reach of the Seven Kingdoms, they've found an ally in Magister Illyrio, a wealthy merchant who recognizes the opportunity in aiding the exiled heir to the Iron Throne. Across the Narrow Sea, however, King Robert Baratheon has traveled to Winterfell to enlist his loyal friend, Ned Stark, to protect his grip on the realm.
The Seven Kingdoms and Beyond
The main continent of Westeros consists of various regions, each with a principal ruling house. These lords exercise power over the bannermen in their regions, but all have sworn fealty to King Robert and his Iron Throne. Across the Narrow Sea lies Essos, a land free of the king's rule.