The birthed shadow scene was actually for a different reason, taking the castle at Storm's End. It was insinuated that it was Stanis's shadow before and then laste Davos sneaks melisandre in under Storm's End and you have that scene. But I understand for time and pacing the change.
Did Loras say he did not blame Brienne? Sounded like it. in CoK he went insane with rage and killed half of the Rainbow Guard after he saw Renly dead and obsessed over killing Brienne.
I like how they redid the story at Harrenhal. When Roose Bolton was with Rob Stark I though that was odd since he should be held captive at Harrenhal and Arya actually ends up being his cup bearer after he takes control. Tywin Lannister really isn't in CoK that much as he's off fighting in the Riverlands trying to get Jamie back if I recall so having him interact with Arya is a good improvement.
Littlefinger also taking a much more prominent role. He's barely in CoK (again if I remeber right). But the main characters keep changing I guess HBO needed more main characters even if it's shoehorning them into more scenes.
Amory Loch isn't one of Jaqen's victims, anticipating who #3 will be.
Danarys's stroyline is so out of whack but it really is this boring in CoK up until this point.
For those who have not read the books, each chapter is 5-10 pages from the POV of one character so it really does jump around just like the show. Unfortunately it does not make for great TV without some changes and even then it can't be followed casually and with missing the narration around scenes and flash backs some things can be confusuing, mainly every scene with Jon Snow so far. But if you have a short attention span then the books are fantastic. And Clash of Kings got better as it went on and Storm of Swords ended up being the best book in the series I think so if not oo much else is changed the rest of the season and Season 3 will be good.