Well, he appears to be taking swords that we presume don't belong to him.
With his fancy red boots and hat, that strange smile as he looks over his shoulder- there seems to be something jaunty, reckless about him.
Yet it's a curious card, with so much going on int he background which isn't quite clear.
I see a story in this card, I have no idea if it is intended, or not. But it has influenced how I read the 7 of swords.
I see someone taking five swords (take a look at the 5 of swords & see what defeat looks like), and leaving 2 behind.
Behind him to the right there are tents, they remind me of the tents a medieval army would have used when setting up camp before a battle.
Behind him to the left there appears to be a group of people, with spears and clouds or smoke behind them. The cloud makes me think of the dust a large group of horses could make when moving at speed. (I did say this is my superstition!)
So, I conclude there is going to be a battle. A bloody battle which will end with slaughter on both sides. (as a fan of re-enactments I have seen this "played" at many times. The reality must have been horrific)
So maybe he is stealing the 5 swords (simply a symbolic number) to stop the battle, and the slaughter.
Yet leaving 2 swords so the leaders can fight it out between them, single combat.
So, yes he is stealing the swords- but to save the lives of many. I would argue the ends justifies the means.
Often this card comes up as "original thinking" "blue sky thinking" "thinking out side of the box" with a suggestion that it might be contrary to what most people do, with a slight edge of recklessness to it.
I like to link tarot cards to times & people in my life. The 7 of swords reminds me of when I was in university. One of the lecturers was useless. I checked the course details & to pass I needed to pass the essay. So i stopped going to the lectures & read the books instead. Other people on the course complained it was "unfair" though I did point out they could do it too. It was a risky strategy as I could have missed important information in the lectures. Luck was on my side & I passed the essay.
There is often a risk to the 7 of swords, maybe that is why I like it so much. I have traveled around America on my own with next to no money, gave up my job, house (& marriage) to move to Orkney and learn shamanism, and several other reckless risks that perhaps I am not prepared to share here. Somehow with a combination of luck & quick thinking I have survived!
So although I admit sometimes the 7 of swords is talking about theft or slander- and is a clear warning.
At times it is warning of "pride before a fall" or that the risk will see you fall flat on your behind.
Most of the time though, especially when reading for myself, I smile and think "O.K, time to go for it then"
I'm thinking the House-wives Tarot have focused on the "slander" side of this card!
I'm very ford of the Mary-Greer tarot. I love the bold image, and how completely neutral this image is (to me!)- leaving it wide open for interpretation.
The Robin Wood Tarot seems to have a more "shifty" feel. But it reminds me of Aragorn form the Lord of the Rings- perhaps he seems foul but is in fact fair?