(This post contains book spoilers, so don't continue reading if you're only watching the show!)
I'm not sure whether it was the cinematography or the fact that they'd made up so many scenes that weren't in the book (which got me all excited because I didn't know for sure what was coming) but somehow, they really managed to capture me. There have been grander action scenes (Blackwater, Dracarys), way more epic (Theon's speech and Ser Rodrik's beheading at the end of season 2) or tearful moments (Catelyn makes me cry like a little baby-- so does the end of the Blackwater ep with Tywin saving the day) but there was a beautiful balance and calmness in 'The Climb' that I think some of the previous eps were lacking. The individual scenes seemed to be much longer, which gave a lot more depth to the characters, and moments like the opening sequence between Sam and Gilly in my opinion were beautifully directed and no filler material at all.
The Theon/Reek story arc in book 5 is one of my favourites in the entire series, and I am so very much agreeing with the casting of Iwan Rheon who's absolutely wicked as Ramsay! In the books, the Bastard of Bolton is this nasty, homely guy I never had a clear image of in my head but Rheon's impersonation is almost cuddly-- a sadist child who cannot judge right from wrong, and torturing Theon is only a game to him. I read about a lot of fans being worried that Rheon may be too handsome and some people would forgive him the torture because they're attracted to him but instead of playing the sexy card, he's being a little boy throwing a very different kind of birthday party, with Theon being the "special guest". I absolutely love it!
Moreover, I even liked Littlefinger's voice-over at the end (yes, he does sound like he's coming down with strep throat, and he certainly is less subtle than in the books), and he had that really strong, creepy acting moment approaching Varys and giving his "chaos is a ladder" speech.
The Jon/Ygritte moment on top of the Wall was a little too cheesy for my taste but wow, did Melisandre drop a possible book spoiler about her and Arya meeting again?
Anyway, to me, this was a great GREAT episode, and I can't wait for the bear pit next week. (love Brienne and Jaime) Then I hear there's a bit of a break between ep 7 and 8, and it's almost time for the Red Wedding. Michelle Fairley's in it, so I'll definitely be crying my eyes out again!