I think the straying from the book is necessary going forward. There's just too many characters, too many places, and too much detail in the books for them to fit into a 10 episode season with a relatively limited budget. Plus, to be honest, I think they've done a really good job with changes so far, with the addition of Ros as the exception. I get who she is replacing and why, but does she really need an extended scene every episode that adds very little, if anything at all, when there is so much to cover right now??? It kind of seems like the HBO writers are doing what GRRM's book editor should of done in the first place, condense the content and characters (not complaining about the books though). As far as this episode, I too thought the Pyke scenes were great. If anything, I wish they would of cut the pointless Ros scene so we could of seen the entire exchange between Theon and his sister (whatever her new name is). I thought that was a brilliant chapter in the book, and it was cut a tad short on screen, but it still worked. I liked Melisandre a lot better this episode, I wonder why . But I'm glad to see them show the sex scene . Ghost looked even better than Grey Wind and Summer did last episode. I'm so happy they spent the money to make the direwolves like they should. That's still my biggest complaint about last season. Tyrion (Dinklage) is going to have 10 phenomenal episodes this year. He's just so in tune with his character, and the material for him is gold. Can't wait to see Danny's scenes are pretty rough while she's in the Red Waste, but I think they'll payoff down the line. Just not much to show now, her dragons need time to grow and you can't just fast forward time in the story since there's an important war going on. All in all, I enjoyed the episode and appreciate the character development. But I can see how non-book readers may think it was a little slow.