This is just my opinion, and its been a while since I've read book two, but I found myself thinking two things throughout the episode... the first was - wow, was ANYTHING from the book actually in this episode? In the first book the liberties were few and for the most part good decisions to further the story in the truncated form they had to, but now I'm watching it and its almost like fan fic to me its so different. Its not the cutting of huge subplots (why waste time introducing Florian is you have no intention of using him?), but the active adding in new ones as well. The second - and this is personal opinion, of course - is it seems that the further and further away they get from the source material, the more forced and even at times awkward it feels. The way they changed the nature of Jamie's escape, in my opinion, changed fundamental aspects of the character. Ygritte's relentless 'flirtations' with John came off as juvenile and forced to me. For Tyrion and Cersi to go from vile threats to heartfelt one-to-one's seemed off. All Dany is at this point is begging and whining by turns. The first season was so incredibly good, but I've been uninspired by recent episodes, perhaps because they raised the bar so high to begin. I don't doubt that Martin is being consulted a great deal and I expected and therefor have a great deal of patince for the liscence they need to be able to get where they want to get in the time allowed... but moments like Jamie's conversation with his cousin, great as it was, seemed to be a huge chunk of time that could have been better used introducing Tyrion's chain, referencing the wildfire that would be so crucial to the finale or otherwise advancing the story along the lines of the book itself. Ditto the interaction between Arya and Tywin which I also think is superbly done... that is a LOT of time spent in one episode which does almost nothing to further the story while so many other seemingly crucial aspects are being cut. Moreover, it seems at times like they might have cut the episode down to maybe an hour and twenty minutes to successfully tell the story they wanted to tell, but then had to slash another 15 minutes or so leaving certain scenes lurching (like the walnuts thing - did they find walnuts on the trail before reaching the house with the orphans? If so then why drop the pursuit if they found the walnuts since they're clearly on the right track?). Just my two cents. The acting is still stellar, the production values off the charts. I just wish they would adhere a little more closely to the story the fans have spent years loving and years more anticipating being seen on the screen.