At the end of the fourth episode of Game of Thrones I felt like the feeling out process was over and that the fifth would be the one in which characters finally started playing their cards and coming into direct conflict with one another; and boy was that true. This episode felt so much different than the previous four in the series. Fewer characters get face time, the focus is narrowed, and the war between the Starks and the Lannisters steps up to take center stage. The pacing has been pushed forward, there are fewer scenes of pondering and pontificating, and the violence has been amped up to gross levels. Awesomely gross levels, but gross levels nonetheless. With this episode it feels like the writers are taking a step back from explaining themselves so much, and from this point on the viewers are going to have to hold on and keep up. Most of the people who I talk to about this series have said that they really love it, but there have been a few holdouts that think it’s a little too sleepy. If you’re one of those bored naysayers, and this episode didn’t manage to wake you up, then I suggest you cut your losses and find yourself another series to watch. For the rest of us… did you see The Mountain cut off that horses head?!