Before I begin this episode's recap, I would just like to say a few words about the lack of dire wolves in the series so far and this episode in particular. I have a soapbox here, so I may as well use it!
I know there are two camps out there arguing over whether the wolves being cut from so many scenes is important or not. I'm of the mind to agree with the people upset that the wolves haven't been more prevalent thus far. In fact, we never see them at all unless they are directly involved with the plot.
I've heard people argue that the wolves are difficult to work with so they were cut to help production move along. Christian Bale, Kasey Kasem and Alex Trebek can all apparently be difficult to work with as well, but where would Terminator Salvation, America's Top 40 and Audio Daily Doubles be if the respective directors of those shows just cut them out? We all know Jason Mamoa dislikes working with horses. Why not let good Khal Drogo get around like this instead? A mount is crucial to a horse lord just as the wolves are crucial to the story.
I'm not asking for anything spectacular. I don't need to see the wolves climbing up the trees in the godswood or hunting down a deer. Just walking around and occasionally letting the kids pet them would be enough. Dogs have been doing that and much more for programs with much lower budgets and quality for years. Just look at Comet from Full House. Not only can he shoot hoops, but he had to learn German too!
Sorry to dwell so much on this point, but I really think something was lost in not showing the wolves more. I've spoken to a few new viewers now that just don't get the relationships between the kids and the wolves at all. Last week, my wife thought that Summer and Nymeria were the same dog. This week I discovered that she also thought Lady and Nymeria were the same and that it was Nymeria who was killed. As for Ghost, I think we might catch a glimpse of a snark or a grumpkin before we see him again. Just going up in the elevator with Jon and sitting there while he spoke to Benjen or Tyrion would have been enough to remind us that Jon does in fact have a pet too. It's been three episodes now and we haven't seen Ghost, Grey Wind or Shags since early in episode one.
It's odd to me that some people can waive off the lack of wolves because "They are just dogs" or say that those of us who feel this way are having tantrums, yet those same folks seem to be peeved by such minor alterations as Dany walking off into the grass or changing the who says the line about Viserys walking. Little changes like that are pretty easy to overlook and new viewers will have no trouble at all getting past them because ultimately it has no bearing on the story. I would think that having wolves appear out of thin air only when needed to advance the story would be much more problematic for the general audience to understand. It won't ruin the show. I will certainly keep watching. I just feel like it was a big missed opportunity if for nothing else than the "Aww" factor.