As we currently stand on HBO, Ned Stark’s bastard son Jon Snow has twice relinquished everything he holds dear in the name of a higher purpose, first leaving behind the family he loved – despite a conspicuous lack of reciprocation on his adopted mother’s part – to defend the realm of men; then foreswearing his oath and murdering his “brother” in the hope of averting a massacre at Castle Black.

Daenerys Targaryen, rather than march her army of Unsullied and trio of fire-spitting dragons directly to the Red Keep, is at present moving from slave city to slave city liberating tens of thousands from bondage, who subsequently dub her “mhysa” – mother, in their native tongue.

As for acts of public virtue, take your pick. Jamie Lannister rescues Brienne of Tarth from slavers who pit against a ferocious bear armed with only a wooden sword. Sansa Stark saves the life of Ser Dontos Hollard, who earned King Joffrey’s wrath by showing up to a tournament too drunk to fight. Tyrion Lannister shields Sansa from the more sadistic tendencies of the king. Samwell Tarly rescues a teenage mother, at great personal risk, before Craster can sacrifice her infant son to the White Walkers. Even Arya Stark’s quest for vengeance is an effort to right misdeeds perpetrated against her friends and family.

Tracinski is correct that virtually all of these characters are “compromised” in some way. But that makes their heroic deeds all the more amazing.