I was a bit too excited about this episode and so the expectations were quite high. The episode did not quite reach up to them, but no major complaints, it was a solid start, I rated it 7/10.
Ser Davos is such a good guy. Ghost made me miss my doggy, and it's nice to see that Jon wasn't the only one with brains. Hoping that Edd doesn't take too long to get the wildlings. Thorne is a good character. I don't like him as a person after all the nastiness in the previous seasons, but there is nothing wrong with standing up for what you believe in, taking responsibility and having a plan of your own. What bothered me a little was the complete lack of dialogue for the first couple minutes, it seemed too long for me as someone who was not emotionally shaken by Jon Snow's (not)death.
Ramsay mourning Myranda was somewhat off, but feeding her to the dogs made up for it. Roose was hilarious as he kept trolling him.
Theon and Sansa were definitely one of the highlights of the episode, great acting, tension, fight, emotions. What bugged me was Brienne... I eventually remembered that they have met in KL at Joff's wedding, but I kinda missed the Hi, I'm Brienne, Hi, I'm Sansa part. A rewatch would have been in order. It was nice to see Theon holding a sword and putting Sansa first, it was about the first time ever he acted like a man.
KL was quite nice, it was heartbreaking to see Cersei running to greet Myrcella only to find out she died. The Jaime Cersei exchange was okay. I am not a huge fan of Lena Headey's Cersei. The character she delivers is a sour, brooding, rock hard woman who is always tense and never lets anything out. This is partly boring, partly unrealistic. The ideal Cersei to me would be what Aslaug has been in Vikings Season 4, in terms of both character and acting. Margaery was great, Natalie Dormer is awesome.
Dorne... Well that escalated quickly. While it was some Game of Thrones worthy shocker, I'm kinda disappointed because Doran's death means his Targaryen supporting master plan is off the table too. And Ellaria seems to have taken over the overly confident bad decision maker role from Cersei. Trystane's death was plain disgusting and a spit on what Oberyn stood for, also the last nail in the coffin of the Dornish story. Four mad murderous bitches you can't tell apart won't be able to carry a storyline.
How did Varys get to Meereen? Again, a rewatch would have been in order. Tyrion was alright. The preacher person should get a Nobel Peace prize. Burning the fleet was quite unnecessary given that Daenerys isn't even in the city and she hasn't showed a sign of willingness to sail anywhere since season 4 (maybe 3?). But this was one thing I can absolutely see happening in the books too, as it is exactly the kind of shit Grrm would do to delay the story.
Jorah and Daario seem like a promising duo, and it was quite interesting to see how unconditionally they both trust Daenerys's success. Finding that ring in the middle of the grass could have been much more realistic with only a bit of extra effort. Aragorn found the elven cloak badge in the grass too, but he was looking for it. Jorah wasn't looking for clues, the ring just waved to him from the grass.
Dothraki. I'm glad to see these guys back, such a throwback feeling in the best sense of the word. One thing though, I'm all for reuse and recycle, but I'm sure $10M per episode covers a new Dothraki hair/beard style. Everybody looks either like Drogo or Rakharo. Now, there is only one Drogo and no random new khal can ever replace him, so stop being a copy cat. But they were hilarious. The blood riders, the wives, Moro, that was good dialogue. What is funny about the scene is that Moro believes her without any further questions that she was Drogo's wife. Now, Moro=/=Jhaqo it would seem, so he doesn't know her, and if he doesn't know her, why would he believe that? We'll see what happens. Emilia was great.
Arya was a bit repetitive, but it's nice to see both Sophie and Maisie grow into their acting after the awkward teenage years when their acting borderline sucked.
I loved the Melisandre scene, it was beautiful, meaningful, powerful. Absolutely great ending.
Overall, I'm quite satisfied with the pacing and the structure of the episode, there were bits and bobs I disliked and of course Dorne was quite a fiasco, but I enjoyed it a lot and can't wait for more.
Footnote: I really hoped for a closure about Stannis. Off screen death is no death, especially on Game of Thrones where sometimes even on screen death isn't death either. Is he surely 100% finished?
Evil Footnote: I wonder how many of those 49 people voted 1 just to hate on the show... Not that it's any of my business.
Exactly it's clear trolling and likely they are doing it just out of blind hatred because it's spoiling the books in their eyes. If people are genuinely unable to provide a balanced view why don't they just say nothing and stick to other sub-sections. This site used to be great, sure there was some criticism but now it's becoming a ghost town where only trolls dwell with a few odd exceptions.
As an aside a lot press and reviews are describing the red women as potentially the best of any opening episode so far, hardly reflective of 20% of viewers thinking it deserves 1 out of 10.