Ned enters the small council’s chamber which is richly furnishes. The members of the council were already waiting for him seated around a large rectangle meeting table. On the wall next to the table is a mural depicting two rearing white horses in the wood. Upon seeing their newly appointed Hand of the King everyone (except Grand Maester Pycelle) stands.
Varys: Lord Stark.
Varys is the first to approach Ned.
Eddard Stark: Lord Varys.
Varys greets him by grasping his arm with both hands.
Varys: I was grievously sorry to hear of your troubles on the Kingsroad. We are all praying for Prince Joffrey’s full recovery.
Eddard Stark: A shame you didn’t say a prayer for the butcher’s son. (He says grimly.)
Ed disentangles his arm from Varys grip, and walks toward Renly.
Eddard Stark: Renly! (Ed smiles) You’re looking well.
Ed gives Renly a sincere hug and pat on the back.
Renly Baratheon: And you look tired from the road. I told them this meeting could wait another day, but…
Petyr Baelish: But we have a Kingdom to look after.
Ed looks over at Petyr listening all the while Ed moves to the other side of the table.
Petyr Baelish: I’ve hoped to meet you for some time, Lord Stark. No doubt Lady Catelyn has mentioned me.
Eddard Stark: She has, Lord Baelish.
Ned drops his cloak on a chair.
Eddard Stark: I understand you knew my brother Brandon as well.
Petyr Baelish: All too well. I still carry a token of his esteem from navel to collarbone.
Eddard Stark: Perhaps you chose the wrong man to duel with.
Petyr Baelish: It wasn’t the man that I chose, my Lord. It was Catelyn Tully. A woman worth fighting for, I’m sure you’ll agree.
The camera pans over to Pycelle who has remained seated.
Grand Maester Pycelle: I humbly beg your pardon, my Lord Stark.
Eddard Stark: Grand Maester.
Grand Maester Pycelle: How many years has it been? You were a young man.
Eddard Stark: And you served another King.
Pycelle pauses, and reaches into his pocket for the Badge of the Hand, a broach for the chest, which he gives to Ed.
The council begins
Grand Maester Pycelle: How forgetful of me. This belongs to you, now. Should we begin?
Ed looks around the room.
Eddard Stark: Without the King?
Varys and Petyr Baelish immediately take their seats.
Renly Baratheon: Winter may be coming, but I’m afraid the same cannot be said for my brother.
Varys: His Grace has many cares. He entrusts some small matters to us that we might lighten the load.
Petyr Baelish: We are the lords of small matters here.
Renly gives a tightly rolled piece of paper to Ed. Before opening it, Ed sits down in his chair.
Renly Baratheon (to the others): My brother instructs us to stage a tournament in honor of Lord Stark’s appointment as Hand of the King.
Petyr Baelish: Mmm, how much?
Eddard Stark: 40,000 gold dragons to the champion, 20,000 to the runner-up, 20,000 to the winning archer.
Grand Maester Pycelle (to Petyr Baelish): Can the treasury bear such expense?
Petyr Baelish: I’ll have to borrow it. The Lannisters will accommodate, I expect. We already owe Lord Tywin 3 million gold. What’s another 80,000?
Eddard Stark: Are you telling me the Crown is three million in debt?
Petyr Baelish: I’m telling you the Crown is six million in debt.
Eddard Stark: How could you let this happen?
Petyr Baelish: The Master of Coin finds the money. The King and the Hand spend it.
Eddard Stark: I will not believe Jon Arryn allowed Robert to bankrupt the realm.
Grand Maester Pycelle: Lord Arryn gave wise and prudent advice, but I fear His Grace doesn’t always listen.
Renly Baratheon: “Counting coppers,” he calls it.
Eddard Stark: I’ll speak to him tomorrow. This tournament is an extravagance we cannot afford.
Petyr Baelish: As you will. But still, we’d best make our plans.
Ed raises his voice.
Eddard Stark: There will be no plans until I speak to Robert.
Ed places his hands up to his face.
Eddard Stark: Forgive me, my Lords. I had a long ride.
Varys: You are the King’s Hand, Lord Stark, we serve at your pleasure.