Peter Dinklage as Tyrion is almost too good looking (he’s far more misshapen in the book) so hopefully the writers will not go down the Gary Stu road too often, like Martin did, by putting him in less than ideal situations.
I found it curious that the writers decided to leave out a meaner line from Catelyn, while grieving at her son’s comatose condition, that wished it should have been Jon Snow than her son. Ouch. Guess they thought it was too over the top. What works on the page comes off much differently on screen; something I’ve noticed as I watched the episode while recalling the original version. Just because you enjoyed something in a book doesn’t mean it’s inviolate and absolutely belongs to any adaptation. Just because it’s canon means diddley-poo when we’re talking about a different medium.
However I wasn’t happy with how Bran woke up: there was no struggle, no crow dream that he would fly one day, no sudden decision of his wolf’s name: Summer. Martin depicted this far more dramatically but again, given the constraints of a 10 episode hour long show, and an impossibly large cast… You have to concede a few sacrifices to the form. The show did build up to his awakening with the off-screen death of Sansa’s wolf, Lady so you’ll have to give them that.
The weakest part continues to be the Dothraki, the horse-lords and Daenerys. On screen, the contrast is too simplistically drawn between what seems to be a cheesy Indian-type people and a prized pubescent blonde female. Plus instead of a hundred thousand army, we see a meager 30 or 40 people milling around. It just doesn’t work on the screen as well as it does in the book, but hopefully the show improves on this later on as it shows the scope of the Dothraki people.
All in all, I think the second episode flowed much easier than the first, and with more episodes under their belt I get the sense the shows writers are gaining confidence in playing with someone else’s clay figures and mold them into their version. I imagine it’s much harder to portray a character that’s already fleshed out but the actors, particularly the ones who plays Arya Stark and Jon Snow, pull it off rather well, far surpassing anything I’ve seen.
Incidentally: some of the comments on a few reviews out there are amusing, especially the ones that decry the show’s depicting rape. Nothing funnier than people projecting modern mores onto a medieval-age era!