Danaerys Targaryen is an interesting character. And not just because of her motivations and choices and such. She's an interesting character in an almost Walter White kind of way. Think about it. Her action is more or less removed from everything else that's going on in Game of Thrones. Hers is something of a solitary quest, as she goes about getting ready to make her march on Westeros and try to reclaim her right to the throne.
This is interesting because she's a protagonist. And yet, her success will mean a lot of trouble for all the other protagonists (of which there are no fewer than thirty-five).
It's the beauty of a narrative that manages to find sympathy on all sides of the board, and it's one of the things that makes Game of Thrones daring as both a piece of fiction and of television.
Still, a very real, and very objective question remains, and it's one that really doesn't concern itself with which character finds success when it comes to the Iron Throne:
Who actually has a legit claim?
Is it Robb? Is it Dany? Is it Stannis (fucking hope not; that guy's like an evil Al Gore)? It could kind of be anyone, but what "Kissed By Fire" seems intent upon accomplishing is the thrusting of its characters' moral imperatives to the forefront of the action.
The question of whether Dany's claim holds water is a complicated one to begin with, and its answer is addressed in more than just one way.
In one scene, Jaime goes into a bit about how the Mad King finally met his end. Technically, he had the Throne taken from him, so technically Dany has a legitimate claim. However, it's been made pretty clear that the Mad King was a crazy son of a bitch who shouldn't really have been in power.
We definitely don't feel that way about Dany, though. And any uncertainty about the legitimacy of her claim to the throne has definitely been overshadowed by her actions this season. She's gone from something of a stubbornly determined little girl to a savvy leader who knows how to unite people under the banner of her personal goals. Her character's arc has been the strongest over the course of the series thus far, and its effectiveness lends a serious moral imperative to her march towards Westeros.
This isn't the only scene that concerns itself with some type of moral authority, either.
In fact, the show's opening features the Brotherhood without Banners really putting their swords where their mouths are as Hound and Beric face off. Clearly, nobody in the BwB likes the Hound, but when he wins his trial by combat, they surrender to their higher authority and let him go. This is probably relatively easy for them to do, because the same higher authority literally brings Beric back from the dead. Which is awesome.
Yet another scene features Robb dealing with some serious trouble within his ranks. Turns out, one of his allies is pretty pissed off about the fact that two Lannister boys are being kept alive as prisoner. When the two boys are murdered, Robb has to pull a Ned and chop the head off one of his own people. Still, he adheres to what he believes is a serious moral imperative, and we see him really stepping into this role as King of the North as a result.
There's really a lot of talk about moral obligation this episode. As many of the characters talk about their motivations, and the sources thereof, we start to really get the feeling that they're doing the things they do because they don't really seem to have any other choice.
Oh, and also:
• Lady Olenna has now talked about her own poop two episodes in a row. Talkin' Poop with Lady Olenna might have to be a spinoff.
• Charles Dance has another moment of immeasurable gnarliness in this episode's final scene. We get some really important movement in terms of the Lannisters and King's Landing, and we also get to see Cersei seriously taken down a peg or two. It's going to be great when someone just hauls off and decks her at some point (that does happen in the books, right?).
• Jaime's monologue in the bath was just incredible, and lent his character another healthy dose of complexity. And again, a great discussion of moral imperative. Did Jaime do the right thing? (Definitely, yes.)
• Holy shit, that cave just could NOT have been comfortable. In any way. For either party.
• Gay sex, represent!