Game of Thrones (2011–2019)
24 user 27 critic

You Win or You Die 

Robert has been injured while hunting and is dying. Jon and the others finally take their vows to the Night's Watch. A man, sent by Robert, is captured for trying to poison Daenerys. Furious, Drogo vows to attack the Seven Kingdoms.


Daniel Minahan


David Benioff (created by), D.B. Weiss (created by) | 3 more credits »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Sean Bean ... Eddard 'Ned' Stark
Mark Addy ... Robert Baratheon
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau ... Jaime Lannister
Lena Headey ... Cersei Lannister
Emilia Clarke ... Daenerys Targaryen
Iain Glen ... Jorah Mormont
Aidan Gillen ... Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish
Kit Harington ... Jon Snow
Alfie Allen ... Theon Greyjoy
Jack Gleeson ... Joffrey Baratheon
Rory McCann ... Sandor 'The Hound' Clegane
Donald Sumpter ... Maester Luwin
Conleth Hill ... Lord Varys
James Cosmo ... Jeor Mormont
Owen Teale ... Alliser Thorne


Ned confronts Cersei about her children but she dismisses his allegations. The head of the Lannister clan tells his son Jaime to be a leader and sends him to rescue Tyrion. Ros, the prostitute from Winterfell begins working for Littlefinger in King's Landing. At the wall, a riderless horse belonging to Jon Snow's uncle Benjen returns to the wall. Jon takes his vows as a Night's Watchman but is disappointed to not having been named a Ranger but Sam sees it differently. King Robert is injured while out boar hunting with his brother. He knows he will not survive and names Ned Lord Regent until Joffrey comes of age. Knowing that Joffrey is not Robert's son, he feels Robert's brother should succeed him but Littlefinger counsel's otherwise. A wine vendor tries to poison Daenerys and Drogo promises to put their son on the throne of the Seven Kingdoms. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Jorah says that Aegon the Conquerer seized six of the Seven Kingdoms. Indeed, the seventh kingdom, Dorne, successfully resisted the invasion during the First Dornish War. It peacefully joined the Iron Throne's rule two centuries later through marriage. See more »


When Maester Aemon is assigning the duties for the stewards, he tells Pyp to report to Bowen Marsh in the kitchens. However, when Lord Commander Mormont is assigning the new nights watchmen to their various orders, he tells 'Mick' to go to the kitchens - Pyp should have been included in those sent to the kitchens at the start instead of to the stewards (or Mick should also have been sent to the stewards). See more »


[at the Lannisters' army camp, Jaime enters the tent where his father is. Tywin is busy sharpening a knife, his back turns to his son. A carcass of dead stag is on the table. Jaime reads aloud the royal decree which declares Gregor Clegane as an outlaw]
Jaime Lannister: Poor Ned Stark. Brave man, terrible judgement.
Tywin Lannister: Attacking him was stupid.
[Tywin starts butchering the stag]
Tywin Lannister: Lannisters don't act like fools.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The cities and places featured in the opening credits change as the series progresses. For example, in the first episode, Pentos is shown whereas in later episodes, because it is not pertinent to the episode's narrative, it is not. See more »


Referenced in Game of Thrones: Eastwatch (2017) See more »


Main Title
Written and Performed by Ramin Djawadi
See more »

User Reviews

Stark Decisions
17 June 2019 | by A_Kind_Of_CineMagicSee all my reviews

The many threads of this wonderful story are all developing beautifully and this episode ramps things up to the highest level. With the different locations, all with very different visuals and different feel this adds so much rich quality to the viewing experience.

At the wall Jon is faced with his Uncle Benjen's horse returning without him making Benjen's survival even more in doubt. Jon also learns he is not going to be made a Ranger but be appointed as steward to Lord Mormont. He also is aware of dangers facing his family in the South. Amongst this he has to decide to make his vows and become a sworn brother of the Night's Watch. Most people would probably, logically ride back to Winterfell but the honorable, dutiful Jon with his doubts about his place in the world makes the choice to take his vows. A key decision that will be called into question very quickly. All the acting of Kit Harington, James Cosmo, Peter Vaughan, Owen Teale and John Bradley is great providing depth to Jon, Mormont, Maester Aemon, Alliser Thorne and Samwell Tarly delivering dialogue and expressions that make every scene work perfectly.

An attempt is made on Dany's life which causes Drogo to make a powerful move towards war. This exciting development brings a great piece of dialogue from the book to life brilliantly. The speech from Drogo is magnificently delivered by Jason Momoa. Emilia Clarke and Iain Glen continue to act with grace and subtlety as Dany and Jorah.

Tywin Lannister makes his entrance as a character in a brilliant scene with his son Jaime. Charles Dance is simply perfect as Tywin and immediately imbues the character with such class and power that is magical to watch. Nikolai Coster-Waldau ad Jaime plays his part brilliantly too showing some background to Jaime's motivations and inner conflict.

King Robert (Mark Addy) sustains a serious injury on a hunt throwing the political struggles in King's Landing into a drastic situation requiring pivotal decisions. Ned (Sean Bean) has a great scene with Cersei (Lena Headey), again wonderfully brought to life from the book, where he warns her of his intentions. His honour overriding any clever manouvres. With Robert's injury Ned is named Lord Protector but must face the calculating Cersei and vile Joffrey, impressively played by Jack Gleeson. All the acting of these scenes is amazing and the scene in the throne room with Ned hoping to gain support from Ser Barristan, Littlefinger and the City watch against Cersei, Joffrey and the Kingsguard. Electrifying and hugely dramatic.

This is a truly great episode which sets the series alight and starts to make a claim to be one of the finest (possibly the finest) shows of the last 30 years. 10/10.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 24 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

29 May 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

You Win or You Die See more »


Box Office


GBP6,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Dolby Atmos (Blu-ray release)



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed