I've mentioned in the past where things get lost in the translation of books to TV, yet the reverse is true too. With George Martin's writing style of using POV characters, it wasn't possible to include the conversation between Cersei and Robert Baratheon, unless Arya Stark was hiding beneath a bed the entire time, or if he even planned it. The book paints Robert as a drunkard who makes unwisely decision time and time again, and yet his five or so minutes talking with Cersei revealed more about his character than all of the book did. The figurative language and metaphors used, it was an absolutely brilliant scene! Especially when he said that ruling the seven kingdoms couldn't even replace the void left in him by Lyanna Stark. And the book made Robert look like a foolish king who would be arrogant enough to meet the Dothraki in open battle, and yet he brought reason to him in the TV show.
While the ending of the first episode pretty much gave away all the answers to us as the viewer of Ned Stark's detective story, seeing everything unfold was still entertaining to see. I thought nothing of Ser Hugh of the Vale and thought he was just fodder to be killed by the mountain, but Ned found importance in his role in the grand scheme of things. The relationship between Ser Loras and Renly Baratheon somewhat surprised me; I've seen Game of Thrones before reading it, but that was something I've forgotten. My only complaint for the episode is that if there was Jory's role in the TV show wasn't as magnified in the book, and his death in the book a lot more sad than in the show. Nonetheless, a spectacular episode, and that is despite two of my three favorite characters (Daenerys and Jon Snow) not making an appearance at all, and although there was little of my third favorite (Tyrion Lannister), he had enough smart remarks to bring me a laugh.