Long time reader/viewer and forum lurker. First time poster. I have had kind of a love hate relationship with the series so far, I thought the first season was pretty amazing, the second season was very weak, the third was almost there and the fourth is finally doing what it should be. I no longer think of the show as an adaptation of the books but instead a seperate story based on the books. Anvil to face and giant bowman aside, this episode is probably the best one of all in terms of giving characters real purpose and meaningful turns (especially Allister) Pyp and Grenns deaths really got to me, especially as I couldn't predict them. Especially Pyp, as he foreshadowed his own fate by saying a sword didn't belong in his hand or words to the same effect. And Grenn was a suitable replacement for the one armed smith, as in the show we are fully invested in Grenn's character and his death was suitably heroic. Ygritte's death, though different, hit home just as hard for me, props to the actors there. Sam finally found some balls and I gained 10x respect for Allister putting all his grudges aside for the good of the wall and the realm of men and taking on one of the most dangerous enemies in the field. From a purist point of view I could find issue with this episode but treating it as a seperate entity... wow. The giant using a bow with the same power as a scorpion struck me as too silly, and the chain to an extent. The face into anvil would have also lead to the death of a real person with little doubt, certainly put the person out of contention for the rest of the day/week at the very least. I'm also not sure how I feel about coward Janos, after all he was leader of an elite unit of soldiers in the capital, has he never been in a fight that wasn't a certain victory? I guess not. Unlike many, I was never that impressed by Blackwater, but this epic battle episode delivered. My first 10.