All told, "The Pointy End" was a set-up episode for the final two hours of Season 1. But the manner in which intensity never faded and new faces were thrown into the mix made it another riveting installment of Game of Thrones.
Imagine if you're at lunch chatting with co-workers and all of a sudden a bunch of sword-wielding psychotics rush into the break room and start killing everybody. That's the feeling we get in these chaotic opening scenes.
We're all well aware that every episode of this HBO adaptation is fairly excellent, so there has to be a teensy bit of wiggle room here. And so as great as "The Pointy End" was, there have been better episodes. Not by much, mind you.
"The Pointy End," the show's best episode since its fifth and probably its best so far, was the first episode of the show that created that never once made me think, "Eh, I preferred that in the book."