Disguised Elan: The chief said I should take over guarding this tunnel.
Ogre Guard: Okay, strange ogre I've never seen before.
"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!
— Eight Bit Theater, strip 744
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.
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. I don't care what the job pays, you'd never get me to be a palace guard in some of these universes. If I wanted to commit suicide I could find more entertaining ways.
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
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
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.
Here's a brief list of things these guards, soldiers and career mercenaries have never been trained not to do: Stand around facing each other and jammer on about how much they hate democracy and apple pie and the smiles on little babies' faces instead of guarding the fucking room. Shout insults at the professional killer the they can't see but know for a fact is in the room, currently training his sights at their big flapping pottymouths. After catching a glimpse of said professional killer, unload every clip of ammo at the place where he used to be with their backs to about 12 different entry points. And repeatedly checking for the professional killer in the same square yard of floorspace, loudly announcing their results with ever step.
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.