I always find this an intriguing card, and the ToP rendering is a particularly effective one, I think. The guy on guard looks tense, suspicious and battle-weary - look at the scar on his cheek. He makes me think of a film hero, someone who grew up on mean streets, whose buddies got killed in shootouts - someone who isn't going to let anyone encroach on his patch ever again. Someone really tough, but goodhearted behind it all. Someone who takes really good care of his ageing mother.
The perspective is fantastic - the castle looms up ominously behind him, and that wash of claret colour really adds to the sinister atmosphere.
I think it's interesting that the big spear he's holding isn't one of the wands - this guy has eight wands planted behind him, one wand in his hand, and then on top of all that he has this enormous spear propped in the crook of his right arm and a serious-looking sword slung on his left hip. So... are you talking to me? I don't see anyone else here....!
When making notes for these studies, I generally try to write my own impressions and only check the book afterwards. I found it very difficult to figure out what the fat golden bees buzzing around the sentry-like figure meant - the best I could come up with was that maybe they were a suggestion of another world, a more peaceful, natural place - out in the country perhaps. I thought of people who downshift - leaving the frenetic pace of the city to live on the land, and grow things and keep bees etc. Leaving their high-powered, nine-wands jobs, letting down their defences. The book's take on the bees though is that they remind us that a bee dies once it stings - so they're a warning to the damage we do to ourselves when we attack (or defend!). Either way, they're a fascinating detail in a fascinating card.