Hero & Heroine Archetypes: The Chief


The Chief has a powerful take-charge personality. He’s primed for leadership. The Chief is goal-oriented, decisive and responsible. Unfortunately he can also be overly dominating, unsympathetic and arrogant.

“Once the Chief locks his eyes on the prize, nothing stops him from grasping the golden ring.” 

Captain von Trapp (Sound of Music)

The man literally ran his house like a general with his whistles, lineups and curfews. He doesn’t request, he commands.


Von Trapp is completely in control of his environment. He is uncomfortable with the chaos and whimsy caused by his children and their governess, and his reflex is to dominate it.

A Chief is someone you’d want on your team, especially when the Nazis come knocking. What seemed impossible to others is only a challenge to the von Trapp. He keeps a cool head and leads his family to safety in Switzerland, never once doubting that it could be done.

Ironically, he ends up with a certified Free Spirit and unsolvable problem: Maria.

Fitzwilliam Darcy (Pride & Prejudice)

Darcy is another classic example of a Chief. He’s aloof, arrogant and does not particularly care to get a consensus before making his decisions. But he also takes responsibility of his family and all those in his circle quietly and effectively.


Darcy is absolutely shocked when opposed by a worthy rival, especially one he can’t just disregard. His position in society allows him to go through life relatively unchallenged. However, a worthy challenge is about the only thing that will compel a Chief to change, if they want to win (and they always do.)

Dominic Toretto (Fast and Furious)

Dom is the unrivaled leader of his crew. There was no conversation about it, no vote. Everyone just decided. His sister says he’s “like gravity” in the way people are drawn to him. He may not be the fastest driver, the best hacker or fighter, but the crew looks to Dom before any decision is made.


Family is everything to Dom, and he puts a lot of time and effort into protecting and cleaning up the problems of his crew. Their behavior reflects on him, and he has very clear standards of what is and isn’t acceptable.

Dom does nothing by halves. It’s all or nothing, ride or die. You’re in the family and have a place at the table, or you’re just like every other cop and crook in his life: in the way.

And that’s the Chief, a classic hero archetype.

Next up we have the Seductress, another type of realist even if she has a very different way of accomplishing her goals.

This series is based on The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes & Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes by Tami D. Cowden, Caro LaFever and Sue Viders.

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