Arya practices parrying in her final session with Syrio. No wonder Arya was so reluctant to go home to Winterfell -- she was learning "true seeing" and was just a handful of lessons away from telekinesis. Eddard should take Syrio home and have him train all his guards. Syrio tells the story of how he became the first swoard of Braavos -- the king there had a cat, and everyone thought it was amazing, even the cat itself. But in reality, it was a normal cat, and Syrio was the only man to speak the truth to the king. He's teaching Arya to not over-think, to trust her senses and her instincts. That's the lesson of his story. That, and people in Braavos can't identify an ordinary cat. Perhaps its also a convoluted metaphor for how Catelyn isn't special at all and is just an ordinary fat woman?
Lannister men burst into the room, interrupting their lesson. Intent on capturing Arya, they haven't taken Syrio's "true seeing" lesson, so they just see an old dancing master, but its actually a dude that can kick their asses. Syrio takes them all on with just a stick, beating down the guards easily. Next up is the heavily armored Kingsguard knight Meryn Trant, and Syrio seems outmatched. However, if Petyr = Peter and Eddard = Edward, I conclude that Meryn = Mary Anne. Thus, even though its left open ended, I have faith that Syrio pulls out the win, because Ser Mary Anne is doomed by his girly name.
Arya doesn't stick around to see the end of the fight, using her special skills to flee the castle. On her way, she evades a stable boy who tried to grab her. And by "evades," I mean "brutally kills." Just like that, Arya adds to her long list of very adult things experienced at a very non-adult age. She watched her friend be cut in half, was forced to ditch her childhood pet, was trained in survival skills and swordfighting, witnessed her household guards be killed, and now actually commits manslaughter. "Loss of innocence" is obviously a big theme in this book, as just about every child POV involves kids dealing with issues beyond their age, but an eight-year-old stabbing and killing another kid exceeds even Martin's extreme standards. Arya killed someone, but at least she escaped, and thats something to cheer about. Stupid stable boys should keep their hands to themselves.
Sansa waits in her room for the fighting to finish, praying for her father, her guards, and her Lannister boyfriend. It was such a Sansa thing to do, to sit passive and clueless, hoping that everything just works out. Cersei tells her that Eddard was a traitor, and we learn that Sansa was the one who informed Cersei of Eddard's plans. Are you freaking kidding me? By leaking this information, Sansa endangered the lives of her family, effectively sentenced her household guards to death, and screwed over everyone who truly loves her. All because she has a crush on dumbass Joffrey who treats her like crap anyway. Sansa: destined to be the abused druggie escort of King's Landing.
The council is threatening to break her engagement, reasoning that traitor blood runs through her veins. If that were true, Joffrey should just marry Myrcella now, because they are inclined to be ultra-incestuous. They can have a threesome with Tommen, and if you throw Tyrion in the mix and record it, you could sell the tape to a dozen different niche fetish groups. Lannister porn: something for everyone, and keeping the house wealthy for the next thousand years.
Cersei should be opposed to a Joffrey-Sansa marriage solely because her grandkids would be dumb as bricks. She might as well marry Myrcella to GREGOR, and then all her grandkids can take the same bus to school (the short one). Of course, Sansa is devastated that she might not marry Joffrey, but the council won't listen until pedo Petyr chimes in, suggesting that Sansa resembles her mother more than her father. I'm not sure which is worse. Would you rather be the inept, humorless guy who can't think his way out of a box, or the bitter woman who falsely arrests the only innocent member of a rival house? Cersei and the council convince Sansa to write letters to convince the rest of her family to surrender. Sansa actually buys it, partly because she wants desperately to believe everything will be fine, but mostly because she is 100% grade-A stupid. The difference between Sansa and her sister could not be more Stark.