"They may be called the Palace Guard, the City Guard, or the Patrol. Whatever the name, their purpose in any work of heroic fantasy is identical: it is, round about Chapter Three (or ten minutes into the film) to rush into the room, attack the hero one at a time, and be slaughtered. No one ever asks them if they wanted to."
Guard 1: Did you hear something?
Guard 2: Nope.
Guard 1: But I—
Guard 2: Here's a tip, newbie: Guards that run towards the blood-curdling scream don't last long. We heard nothing.
Disguised Elan: Chief need you. Go. I guard cave now.
Ogre Guard: Okay. I do as you say, strange ogre I have never seen before. I go.
"An intelligent guard! Didn't see that one coming."
— Titan A.E.
Black Mage: Ah, the perfect disguise.
Cultist 1: Hey, the new guy killed Suh'zanne and now he's wearing his face.
Cultist 2: Like we wouldn't recognize it?
Cultist 3: Tsk. What a poorly conceived disguise!
— 8-Bit Theater, strip 744
Chakotay: "Are you responsible for the ship being out of contact?"
Vorick: "It was necessary to disable the communications, transports and shuttles."
— Star Trek: Voyager (showing its usual excellent security)
"Hmph, just a box."
— Guard, Metal Gear Solid
"I can't believe they're attacking us! They must be really love their job!"
— Kou Leifoh, The Bouncer
"You gotta love an elite killing force you can fool by putting on a hat."
— Marn Hierogryph, on the Mandalorians, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
"In far too many fantasy stories only the main characters are people. Palace guards, in particular, come off badly; nobody seems to think twice about slitting the throats of a few guardsmen... Besides, they're so utterly ineffectual. Really, has any clever thief or sneaky barbarian ever been stopped by palace guards? Why do all these palace-owners bother with them? If I were hiring guards, I would want them to have at least some instinct for self-preservation, and to know how to do something other than stand there looking bored until someone sneaks up from behind and cuts their throats, or jumps down from an overhanging ledge, or gets them to look the wrong way with the distinctive sound of a pebble being thrown."
— Lawrence Watt-Evans, The Laws of Fantasy
"The other thing about the city in, say, Thief II, is that it apparently had laxer zoning laws and you were allowed to build houses larger than the average semi-detached suburban semi, freely-explorable, where the guards take long circuitous patrols that might take you by surprise. Now the guards walk to a thing, stand with their back to the room muttering "Gee, I hope no one plays my skull like a bongo!", then walk to another thing six feet away like they forgot what they came in here for."
"Thinking you'd never explore the entire 10 foot area, the guards store a secret emergency sword on the counter at the other side of your cell. The key to finding it is looking for the sword-shaped object on the counter at the other side of your cell. Be careful to make sure you know which end is the handle before you pick it up, and don't put either end in your ear."
Matt: Wolverine and Kayla head off to save Emma, who is being held with a bunch of other mutants in a big room guarded by exactly no one.
Chris: In cells that are close enough together that Wolverine can just run down the aisle with his claws out and cut off all the locks. Which is nice, because if he had to make two trips, it wouldn’t be as heroic.