Note: Though Knights are usually portrayed as male, they can stand for males or females (in Thoth-style decks with Princess/Princes, the two are fairly equal and are more likely to signify which is male or female). I'll be using the male pronoun here, but really, it's him or her in all instances.
The Knights are all about travel, forays into new lands, combat (honorable, one hopes!), proving one's valor and worth, upholding the honor of one's kingdom and, in doing so, spreading the values of said kingdom. Knights, as Air, are about communication and spreading the message passed on by the pages.
They are also the next stage of development - from the "child" of the page we go onto the "young adult" of the knight. Given this, there is a rash and reckless air about knights. Like young adults, they take risks, ride head-on into situations, and live on the edge.
Reverse this and we get a suggestion of many troubling things--running away from fights or engaging in dishonorable combat, problems with travel, miscommunication and changes leading to disaster:
Knight of Swords Reversed
Upright, our Knight of Swords is the young wit who leads the debate team or the computer club. He is the science wizard and young, hot-shot reporter. In a positive sense, he's out to change the world with his knowledge, cleverness and quick tongue. Verbally, no one can ever quite get the better of him.
Reverse this, however, and the cleverness, knowledge and tongue hit stumbling blocks. This is a person with a speech impediment or learning disabilities. He is intelligent, but unable to express himself, and his inability to win his battles frustrates him.
Contrariwise, he could also be a braggart - a blowhard who makes up wild stories that he can't back up or support. A coward who hides behind big words. He may, as well, be a cheater, pretending to be smart, but stealing his information from others (watch out for this guy if you're working on a project together, he'll take all the credit for your work!). This is a computer hacker, a troll, a person who uses his programming talent to spread viruses; he'll find naked pictures of you and post them on the internet; he delights in using words and his own cleverness to cause trouble and fights.
If not about a person, this card could be about air travel. Expect delays and problems if you're going to be travelling by air.
Knight of Wands Reversed
Upright, this is our star quarterback; a warm-hearted, genuinely friendly fellow who loves to lead and win the battle for his team. He also likes to go out and celebrate afterwards. A fellow with irresistible charm, he is nevertheless open and honest, the natural center of attention and the one in the drivers seat. And he does like to drive as fast and as far as his stallion will take him.
Reverse this, and we get a bully who wants to win at any cost. This is an intimidating fellow who will threaten those who stand in his way - perhaps not physically, but he has influence, and acting talent. He'll turn on his charm and make people think you've wronged him. He'll thunder at his girlfriend (or if female, scream mercilessly at her boyfriend), blast his considerable and teenage-tough-like temper at those who bump into him at a bar, break and throw things, but when confronted, will be all humble and repentant, seeming so sincere that folk forgive him. This is the abusive boyfriend or girlfriend.
This is also the guy who will steal your spotlight away if he can. If you bring in something to show and tell, he's sure to bring in something bigger - he lets no one upstage him. With his charm he'll steal your girl (or if he's a girl, she'll steal your guy!), steal your friends, ingratiate himself with the boss and get that promotion you wanted...and no one but you will know the truth. Do not let his guy be your roommate. He'll trash the place and expect you to clean up, play his music loud at all hours, borrow your car and crash it. He's a nightmare.
If not a person, this card signals trouble travelling in a land vehicle (car, bus, train), most likely a motorcycle. Something is going to break--or there might be a crash from going too fast. Watch out.
Knight of Cups Reversed
The sensitive Knight of Cups travels from place to place to sing his love songs. This is a deeply creative knight, poet, musician, painter, writer. He is a soulful artist, still new, but with great promise. A gentle soul he's a Good Samaritan, a fantastic and empathetic listener and friend. This is the boy who is close with women and learns all their heartfelt secrets--or the girl who gets guys to open up to her.
Reversed, however, this Knight sinks into gloom and depression. The glass is always half-empty, they wear only black, and whatever story they tell ends in tragedy. Far from being romantic, this knight is cynical and can use their insights into human nature to wound people, to make others hurt as much as they, themselves hurt. Young-Adult-wise they might suffer from problems common to teens, hormonal imbalances, moodiness, being rude and bitter and rebellious. Also, and most troubling, he might be suicidal.
Contrariwise, they could be hyper sensitive, finding insult in the smallest things, crying excessively, showing timidity, changing their minds all the time. There is no way to make arrangements with this person; they won't make it because they've changed their minds, or they're too sad, or too tired or too afraid of something or other. Their over-active imaginations blow everything out of proportion. Like looking at something through water, everything is magnified and blurry.
If not a person, this card warns about travel by water, boats especially, but any water sport or activity. Check equipment, take safety measures, know where the lifeboats, lifeguard and life preservers are.
Knight of Pentacles Reversed
A most diligent knight, the Knight of Pentacles is very careful with his charge. This is the guy working two jobs to put himself through school or help his family. He's got everything organized and planned, and extra projects at home. He has his future mapped out, and has no resentment about starting at the bottom or working hard to succeed. Quiet and often solitary, he is the least reckless of the knights - though equally ambitious. He can be trusted with anything from secret passwords to locking up the business at night to dealing with vast sums of money. His integrity is his pride.
Reverse this card, however, and now you need to watch this guy. Instead of diligence, you've got sloppiness. He may appear to be working, but he's coasting. And if you give him money to buy something, he's going to find a way to buy it cheap so that he can pocket half that money. He is bitter and envious of anyone who is already a success and living large. He's likely to be a brown-noser, ready to ingratiate himself with those who can help him climb that ladder to wealth and the good life. He will do nothing for those who haven't money or connections.
He'll never leave a tip, he'll always ask for separate checks. Contrariwise, he might well be a reckless if small-time gambler, blaming his bad luck on others and never himself.
If not a person, this is a card about travelling over land on foot, hiking or cycling. Getting lost is a likelihood - take a compass and make sure your cell phone is charged. Watch out for washed out or muddy trails, and take a first aid kit.
Curious about this card when upright? Go to our Tarot Card Meanings.