I cannot help but say that Bryan Cogman's episodes have been my favorites since Season 2 (I don't remember my thoughts of 1x04), but What is dead may never die, Oathkeeper and The Laws of Gods and Men are in my top7 episodes. Kissed by fire is my most favorite episode.
I'm not saying D&D fucked up everything, there have been great episodes written by them, but there have also been so many let-downs. Season 1 is by most people considered the best season; it has been closest to the book and didn't flaw in many things. Now, after having finished Season 4, I dare to say that D&D have changed the path they want to take the show. I don't know their thoughts, but somebody else her epointed out that they have become greedy; I agree!
Season 1 seemed fresh and not led by patterns and fan-service.
Now look where Season 4 has gone:
- We get an obligatory White Walker scene that was just put in because otherwise there wouldn't be any WW in this Season. [i'm not saying the scene was bad; I actually liked it, but I would rather have gone without it]
- There is the pattern that in every x09 episode of each season there needs to happen something big. This feels very repeating and dull because it made so many other stories suffer and forced the writers to include Craster's Keep.
- D&D think that the more characters are killed off the bigger is the shock factor (Look at the Episode 9 videoson GoT's YT channel: They needed casualties, so that the viewers are shocked and thereby more invested. -> Doesn't this mean they know they don't have the ability to make their viewers care about a storyline unless they fill it with death of (beloved) characters? I would have found it okay, if they reasoned it by the fact that they wanted to show some of the to be forgotten heroes, but their statement has just showed me that they might not think this far)
- They do not dare to change the screen time of several characters when they just don't need as much screen time (King's Landing S3, Arya S4 [even though they reduced it], loooooong Tyrion-scene in 4x08), because it doesn't feature the favorite characters of the viewers (Was it necessary to put Daenerys into 8 episodes that were about Missandei/Grey Worm, Daario, etc. ? 5 episodes would have been enough as well; she will have her time in S5 again).
- Recent trends are used in order to satisfy show-watchers (feminist-messiah Daenerys in Season 3, Brienne - as somebody mentioned here before - fighting the Hound, ...) or showing explcitly that Renly was gay/Oberyn was bisexual.
And this is why I think the show has been lacking in Season 3 and 4. They should focus on the source material, not try to improve things when it isn't needed (I definetely acknowledge that merging Addam Marbrand and Bronn was a good idea, but on one good idea, there are like 10 bad ones) and try to think through character developments more open-minded (What was that Jaime/Cersei scene in 4x10?!).
For now, I am looking forward to the episodes of Bryan Cogman and Dave Hill in Season 5 and am less enthusiastic on the show than I was before Season 4.