At Winterfell, a stronghold to the north of Westeros, land of the Seven Kingdoms, Lord Eddard (Ned) Stark receives news that King Robert Baratheon and his Court propose to travel from Kings Landing to visit. Longtime friend and battle companion of Robert, Eddard is the man who helped Baratheon overthrow the Targaryen reign over Westeros, a war which ended in the death of the then King - Aerys II - his son, Rhaegar, and Rhaegars wife and children. Before the royal party arrives, Ned apprehends a deserter from the Nights Watch on his land. The man speaks of attacks by the Others - a race of supernatural beings long thought vanished. Ned executes the man - as is his duty - and on the same hunting trip discovers a dead direwolf. Her litter of pups are still alive and, as there are six, he gives one each to his five children by his wife, Catelyn and the sixth to his bastard son Jon Snow.