Originally Posted by kernel
One small thing I liked in the House of the Undying sequence was the constant background screaming of the dragons continually pulling Dany along. Really gave me that feeling that Pryat Pree bit off more than he could chew. While I would have liked some more to the sequence, I'm glad they dumped the flashbacks and prophecy stuff. As others have said, I don't think flashbacks would have made much sense to viewers in this format. And prophecy, well it's right near the top of my list of the most annoying fantasy tropes.
Agreed on prophecy... No matter how oblique it may be, predestination is almost always a lazy story-telling device. I had actually expected them to include the prophecies in the House of the Undying sequence, though, but was totally okay with them being left out. The burned-and-frozen throne room and the exchange with Drogo were good enough for me ("I told the Great Stallion to go fuck himself" was worth the changes alone).
But I was disappointed with the lack of weight in the rest of the sequence. Maybe it was because the Undying seemed to consist entirely of Pree just replicating himself. Maybe it was the staging of Dany's confrontation with him, which seemed a little weak. In any case, I'd anticipated a big, season ending event and that wasn't it. So the show had the White Walkers up their sleeve instead, and that was fine.
I was more bugged by the ambiguity at Winterfell, like others wrote above. You'd think Luwin would have known the score, at least, and warned Osha and the others what they may have to deal with as they made their escape... but no.
I've applauded most of the alterations they've made from the books this season, but there have been a few that have left gaps in logic like this. It seems they make relatively small changes in order to serve a stream-lined, TV episode and season format, while still keeping characters and events intact because they're important later down the line. And they don't always make sense.
For instance: Unlike in the book, Osha seduces Theon in order to take the boys out of Winterfell, and doesn't do the obvious thing while she's at it and slit Theon's throat while he sleeps... because the story needs Theon later. Similarly: Arya has a relationship with Tywin that is an invention of the show (of which I loved every second)... but she only thinks to have Jaquen clip him when Tywin is already heading out of Harrenhal and it's too late.
I'm pretty sure these instances have been brought up in this thread before, and they're pretty nit-picky. Overall, this was a damned good season of television-- and the series has mostly been an improvement on the books in my humble opinion. I hate that I'll have to wait ten fucking months to see another new episode.