I suppose that final scene in the season 2 finale was meant to stand in for the onslaught of White Walkers and the Whites against the Watch. Still, it's disappointing to not see that in the show. Game of Thrones seems to be doing very well for HBO, but given the network's business model I don't know if increased viewership would lead to budget increases like on a successful network program.
I'm also a little puzzled by the developments in Astapor with Dany. I recall that Ser Barristan Selmy had disguised himself for some time as "Arstan Whitebeard" in the book, and had been accompanied by Strong Belwas. However, I think the disguised Ser Barristan worked far better in the book than it does on screen. A beard and a cloak don't really serve as much of a disguise for the viewing audience.
I was also surprised to see the Giants come to fruition north of The Wall. I had thought that was something the show runners might try to work around, but was surprised they included them.
I suspect we'll see what the Stark children (other than Sansa) are up to next week.