I just read another blog like yours, but about the SOI&F politics, and he kept insisting Ned should have fired Janos Slynt. I don't remember the books very good, and the essays were deep stuff, but does that sound right? Did Janos Slynt do much to give Ned reason to fire him? Would that have even worked if he had? The blogger was saying Ned has the power, but it seems like Robert blocks anything he tries to fix until he's dying and doesn't have to live with the consequences.
Yep, that’s right. Ned should have fired Janos Slynt. He doesn’t need a reason - he’s the Hand of the King, Slynt’s the son of a butcher. This is something he can do. Even if he did need a reason, for his own conscience and as an explanation to others, Slynt’s corruption’s well known in town. Arryn failed to replace Slynt because he made it part of a larger case about corruption; Tyrion succeeded in replacing Slynt because he just did it, fait accompli.
Robert would not have stopped Ned - he himself says that he loathes counting coppers and making little administrative decisions. Instead, he leaves governance to Ned until and unless he finds something to care about in it. (One of Ned’s greatest failures as Hand is his insistence on working through an uncooperative monarch, rather than around.) Staffing the Goldcloaks? Not one of those things. No, Ned could and should have fired Slynt and got control of the Goldcloaks.
She sat beside him on the grass. Her every move was graceful. Her curling blond hair moved in the wind, and her eyes were green as the leaves of summer. It had been a long time since Ned Stark had seen her beauty, but he saw it now. - A Game of Thrones
“Arya’s not domesticated, and it makes total sense that her wolf wouldn’t be either. Once the wolf walks away, at first she’s heartbroken to have come this close, and then she realizes the wolf is doing exactly what she would do if she were that wolf.” David Benioff
“That’s not you” is a direct reference to what Arya herself said to her father when her father painted this picture for her of the life she could have as a lady of a castle and marrying some lord and wearing a nice frilly dress. Arya’s not domesticated, and it makes total sense that her wolf wouldn’t be either. Once the wolf walks away, at first she’s heartbroken to have come this close, and then she realizes the wolf is doing exactly what she would do if she were that wolf.”
— D&D, for IGN