I have to say the brutality of this show never ceases to amaze me. The ending of the episode 8 was once again incredibly gruesome. I am totally used to violence and gore on TV, and usually it does nothing to me - i dont need to cover my eyes in horror - but this is something else. I dont know how they do it. I literally could not stop thinking about it for the next hour after seeing it, just like the Red Wedding last year.
Yes, there are moments of brutality in GOT, but I do not think it is gratuitous/done for the sake of depicting violence. There are episodes with little or no violence, which suggests to me that the producers of the show do not want to overdo it and use violent scenes where necessary, according to the times and the conflicts which arose/may have arisen.
I will say that I am a little disappointed that the Whitewalkers didn't make much of an appearance in this season... and that Daenerys Targaryen only got a few limited scenes confined to managing her latest conquest. I was rather hoping her push toward Kings Landing and the throne would be given a little more priority during the season, but nevertheless, it was a very entertaining season and Joffrey getting his just deserts was the absolute highlight for me... not to mention Tyrion's killing of his father, that was momentus with regard to the power struggle as is unfolds.
Next season will be absolutely riveting, with Stannis Baratheon mounting a challenge for the throne and perhaps aligning with John Snow. I also hope the remaining Stark children play more important roles during next season.
And now the wait begins.