I rated it a 5, as I was really quite disappointed with this episode, more than anything I thought it was a weak opening of a new season. I suspect that I might think slightly better of it after a re-watch, as it took quite a few episodes to get me into season 1, but when I did, I really loved it, even the early episodes that I didn't really warm to to begin with. Nevertheless, here are my initial thoughts (in no particular order): 1. I hated the sex. Hated it. I thought the whole whore house/Ros scene was pretty clumsily done, but the sex really bothered me. I actually didn't have a problem with it in season 1 (unlike many people I know); sure, some of it wasn't strictly necessary to tell the story they wanted to tell, but the books are unashamed in their descriptions of sex, and so I think it is appropriate that the TV series is too. For some reason it really didn't work for me in this episode, though. I find it hard to put my finger on exactly what it was, but something made it feel a lot more pornographic to me this time around. 2. The burning of the idols was a very powerful scene visually, but lost impact because the Faith of the Seven has never been established/explained. The series has so many characters and plot lines to juggle that I understand perfectly well why they don't want to spend time explaining the different religions as well, but I was watching it with people who haven't read the books and their reaction was to ask 'Are these statues supposed to be important?', 'What do they mean?', 'Why haven't we heard of this before?', and so on. 3. I loved Maester Cressen's chapter in the book, but although I agree that you don't understand his motivations for trying to kill Melisandre properly with the way they did it in this episode, I think it makes perfect sense that they did what they did. They are already struggling to give enough screen time to much more important characters, so I have no problem with Cressen's role being trimmed down like that. 4. I actually really liked both Stannis and Davos! (I see a lot of you didn't.) I don't think I'll be able to say how I feel about Melisandre before I've seen a bit more of her, but I think she is beautiful, not plain at all. The Davos character does seem to appear a bit out of nowhere, and you don't really understand who or what he is if you don't already know, but presumably this will be dealt with in episodes to come. 5. Joffrey's name day tournament felt really rushed. I have no problem with it being a melee in stead of a joust, but the dialogue didn't feel as refined as the writing from season 1, and the Dontos story was clumsily done. 6. My problem with the tournament scene was really the same as my main problem with the episode as a whole. I understand the challenges they faced in trying to fit all that information into one episode, but too much of it ended up feeling rushed. When I say rushed, I don't just mean the pace of it, or that some scenes were cut very short, but also that some scenes simply felt unfinished. This includes the Cersei/Littlefinger scene. 7. I agree that the Craster's keep scene felt too hurried and that Craster looked a bit too clean. That being said, I thought his acting was good, and I liked the set. My main problem was that it, like many of you have said, wasn't as scary as it could have been. This might be getting into the realm of nit-picking, but I also think it is a little bit problematic that it is the first thing you see beyond the Wall. They do mention that they have seen several abandoned villages on their way there, but the way it was shown it felt a bit like that the keep was situated pretty much immediately outside the Wall, and you don't get a sense of the vast wilderness there really is. 8. I wanted to see much more of Arry, but that probably means that what we did see was pretty good :P 9. Yeah, that felt really weird and wrong, perhaps especially because it came seconds after she had a tender moment with Jorah, which was confusing. Don't know what was going on there. My first thought was that they might be 10. I actually really liked the slaying of the bastards. (Ok, it feels really wrong to say that, but that it was gruesome to watch, as I think it should be.) I didn't see it as Robert having fathered hundreds of bastards, but rather the gold cloaks slaying any baby in any house where Robert was at any time rumored to have bedded a girl, a bit like Herod killing all the baby boys in Bethlehem just to get rid of Jesus, and I thought that was appropriately horrifying. 11. I too was a bit sad to see Robb taking over so many of Cat's ideas, but for the sake of the adaptation, I think it makes sense. It is important that they build up Robb as a strong character, and I think they are doing that well. I actually really liked him in the scene with Jaime. 12. Apart from the killing of the babies, I don't think it felt bleak and dangerous enough. When reading the book, one of my first impression that I guess what I am saying is that I wanted more of the kind of gruesomeness we saw when they were killing the bastards. 13. In terms of the acting, I thought most of it was very good, Tyrion, Robb, Davos, Stannis and Joffrey especially. I never minded Ros before, but I thought her acting was terrible when she was repeating Littlefinger's lines from season 1. And I still find myself very confused about her and where they are going with her character. 14. I thought the wolf dream scene worked surprisingly well. I was not sure they were even going to do that (though not doing them would have made things very difficult later.) There really is a lot that I really liked about E01 (as I hope you can tell), and in addition to what I have mentioned, I thought the CGI, the music, the intro and the cinematography were all pretty stunning. But I just didn't like the episode as a whole. I don't think it flowed well, and my friends who have not read the books really struggled to keep up. It seems odd that in many scenes (like the Littlefinger/Cersei scene) they seem to be afraid of being too subtle, and so over-explain things, whereas in other scenes they introduce characters and concepts (Davos, Melisandre, the burning of the seven) without any explanation at all. In a way it felt like neither the first episode of a new season nor an episode in the middle of a bigger whole, and I think that was the problem. Too many of the King's Landing scenes felt very flat, which is a shame as they are already struggling to get as much as possible out of the time they've got. I think it was a badly structured episode with many good elements in it, and I think there is certainly potential for season 2 to be very good, I just hope it doesn't take them too many episodes to get where they need to be.