Of course, the Watch riding out beyond the Wall and seeing the screaming/burning/hatching was awesome. And I could even understand Pycelle's scene, as a piece of knock knock, he's a player too. Shae still sticks in my craw, but she didn't manage to ruin the episode for me. Despite my misgivings, I'll give them a chance with it. Grenn, Jon, Sam, and Pyp in the woods - wow. Admittedly, the "wheep!" when Sam gets knocked off is horse is pure comedy, but that didn't detract from the solemnity of the recitation of their vows for me. It's just so... so... so very Sam. The conversation between Tyrion and his father was epic on a personal scale. As was the verbal sparring between Varys and Petyr - who both come across as shallow, brilliant, and very very dangerous. Catelyn being tempted to brain Jaime for good with that rock, and dropping it instead... whooo, I don't think I'd have had the strength to let it go. My respect for her went way up with that one - which I think is why they added it. What won the episode for me was Iain Glen. The look on his face when he said "I won't watch you burn", and after she kissed his cheek, is something you can only get from a truly superb actor. It was the instant that he realized how much she meant to him, and I can't imagine it being portrayed any better. Won my vote, anyway. All the mysticality and CGI aside, this is a human drama, and that was a moment of drama that completely took me into the story. If I hadn't liked the series before that, it might not have been strong enough to save it for me, but already thinking they did a good job made this kind of the coup de grace. In toto, I'd say it was one of the strongest episodes of the season, which is good considering it has to hook a substantial audience into waiting for next spring. I think that that strength comes from the interactions between characters as much as (if not more than) it does from the special effects or environment. It seems like the actors have finally relaxed into the people they are supposed to be, and are able to bring more out of themselves.