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Five Man Band / Literature

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The Five-Man Band is a group of characters whose members fall into archetypes which all complement one another. They are a very specific team with skills that contribute to the group in a unique way. Here are some places where the trope occurs in literature:

The Abandon Trilogy

The LeaderJohn
The LancerFrank
The Big GuyMr. Liu
The Smart GuyMr. Graves
The ChickPierce
Tagalong KidHenry
Team PetHope, Typhon
Sixth RangerPierce, Alex, and Kayla

Against a Dark Background (by Iain M. Banks)

The LeaderSharrow
The LancerCernuij
The Big GuyDloan
The Smart GuyMiz
The ChickZefla

The Age of Misrule

In the first trilogy:

The LeaderJack Churchill
The LancerLaura DuSantiago
The Big GuyRyan Veitch
The Smart GuyShavi
The ChickRuth Gallagher
And in the second trilogy:
The LeaderMallory
The LancerCaitlin Shepherd
The Big GuyHunter
The Smart GuyHal
The ChickSophie Tallent

All-of-a-Kind Family

The LeaderElla
The LancerHenny suits this to a T
The Big GuyCharlotte (specifically her imagination)
The Smart GuySarah
The ChickGertie

All the King's Men: Willie Talos' campaign team:

The LeaderThe Boss
The LancerSadie Burke
The Big GuyTiny Duffy
The Smart GuyJack Burden and/or Sadie
The ChickLucy Talos


The LeaderJake is one of those people who are natural leaders.
The LancerMarco is his best friend who is always disagreeing with him.
The Big GuyRachel is always ready for action.
The Smart GuyTobias is stuck in hawk morph so he scouts out the mission for the team.
The ChickCassie reminds them how important people and animals are.
Sixth RangerAx is the alien who doesn't come into the story until book four.
Sixth Ranger TraitorDavid is a brief character that doesn't appear until book 20.

Bad News Ballet

The LeaderMcGee
The LancerGwen
The Big GuyRocky
The Smart GuyZan
The ChickMary Bubnik

Battle Royale

The LeaderShuya Nanahara
The LancerShogo Kawada
The Big GuyHiroki Sugimura
The Smart GuyShinji Mimura
The ChickNoriko Nakagawa
Sacrificial LambYoshitoki Kuninobu
Sixth RangerYutaka Seto

Black Dogs

Before Sinai and Jacyl take off:

The LeaderLyra
The LancerSadrao
The Big GuySinai
The Smart GuyTrent
The ChickJacyl

When Lyra and Sadrao are joined by Spite and Gunnar:

The LeaderLyra
The LancerSadrao
The Big GuyGunnar
The Smart GuyTrent
The ChickSpite
  • Note: Gunnar is probably as qualified as Spite, if not more so, to be The Chick, despite him being male and physically the largest member of the band. He the extremely placid voice of reason throughout the second half of the series, and although Spite is tiny and female, she's the most violent and aggressive character in the entire book. She single-handedly takes out a creature large enough to swallow whole elephants.

Chanters of Tremaris

The LeaderCalwyn
The LancerDarrow
The Big GuyTonno
The Smart GuyTrout
The ChickMica, and later Keela
Sixth RangerHalasaa

Codex Alera

The LeaderTavi
The LancerKitai (although in earlier appearances sways more towards The Big Guy)
The Big GuyMaximus (with some elements of The Lancer — generally switches out with Kitai, depending on who's in the scene)
The Smart GuyEhren or Magnus
The ChickCrassus (what with being the Only Sane Man)
Sixth RangerValiar Marcus

Dark Heresy

The LeaderMordechai
The LancersKeira and Drake
The Smart GuyVex
The Big GuyVos
The ChickElyra
The MentorCarolus

The Death Cure

The LeaderThomas
The LancerNewt
The Smart GuyJorge
The Big GuyMinho
The ChickBrenda

The Dilbert Principle - In the chapter about meetings, the author identifies meetings as a performance art with these character types:

The LeaderMaster Of The Obvious
The LancerWell-intentioned Sadist
The Smart GuyRambling Man
The Big GuyWhining Martyr
The ChickSleeper

Discworld: Unseen University:

The LeaderArchchancellor Ridcully
The LancersThe Dean, and in later books Ponder Stibbons
The Big GuyThe Librarian
The Smart GuyPonder Stibbons
The ChickThe Bursar

Dragaera: The Khaavren trilogy

The LeaderKhaavren
The LancerAerich
The Big GuyTazendra
The Smart GuyPel
The ChickMicah (?)

Dragonlance: The Chronicles trilogy

The LeaderTanis Half-Elven
The LancerSturm Brightblade
The Big GuyCaramon Majere
The Smart GuyRaistlin Majere
The ChickGoldmoon, later Laurana
Sixth RangerRiverwind
Team DadFlint Fireforge
Tagalong KidTasslehoff Burrfoot

The Dreaming Dark

The LeaderDaine
The LancerLei
The Big GuyPierce
The Smart GuyThe Halfling (before he dies)
The ChickXu'sasar

The Dresden Files

The LeaderHarry Dresden
The LancerLieutenant Murphy
The Big GuyMichael Carpenter (originally), Sanya (in the more recent books)
The Smart GuyBob, Butters
The ChickMolly Carpenter
Sixth RangerThomas Raith
Team PetMouse (though he can also sub for The Big Guy in a pinch), Mister

[The Druid Of Shannara

The LeaderWalker Boh
The LancerMorgan Leah (although he thinks he's the leader)
The Big GuyPe Ell (although he thinks he's the lancer)
The Smart GuyHorner Dees
The ChickQuickening

Ender's Game: Ender's jeesh

The LeaderEnder
The LancerAlai
The Big GuyDink (especially in ego)
The Smart GuyBean
The ChickPetra

The Famous Five (by Enid Blyton)

The LeaderJulian (as the Eldest, he doubles up as Team Dad)
The Smart GuyDick (also The Heart)
The LancerGeorge
The ChickAnne (Team Mom, Silk Hiding Steel, and occasionally Beware the Nice Ones)
The Big GuyTimmy the Dog

The Forgotten Realms

The Companions of Mithral Hall

The LeaderDrizzt Do'Urden
The LancerBruenor Battlehammer
The Big GuyWulfgar
The Smart GuyRegis
The ChickCatti-Brie

Azure Bonds

The LeaderAlias (Alias has the personality of The Lancer, but plays the role of The Leader in the plot.)
The LancerDragonbait (Dragonbait, by contrast, has the personality of The Leader, but plays the part of The Lancer.)
The Big GuyMistinarperadnacles Hai Draco (She's very big, since she's a great wyrm red dragon.)
The Smart GuyAkabar bel Akash
The ChickOlive Ruskettle (She starts out as a Dark Chick, but does a Heel–Face Turn by the end.)

Haruhi Suzumiya: The SOS Brigade

The LeaderHaruhi Suzumiya
The LancerKyon
The Big GuyYuki Nagato (sometimes The Smart Guy)
The Smart GuyItsuki Koizumi
The ChickMikuru Asahina
Sixth RangerTsuruya
Team PetShamisen

Heirs of Ash

The LeaderSometimes Seren, sometimes Tristam
The LancerZed Arthen
The Big GuyOnyx
The Smart GuyDalan
The ChickErania
The CaptainThat one gnome who runs the airship
Tagalong KidThe psycho halfling whose name starts with a 'g'
Cool ShipMourning Dawn

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The LeaderArthur
The LancerFord
The Big GuyZaphod
The Smart GuyMarvin
The ChickTrillian
Things were changed a bit in Life, the Universe, and Everything:
The LeaderSlartibartfast
The LancerFord
The Big GuyZaphod
The Smart GuyTrillian
The ChickArthur
Team PetMarvin

The Homeward Bounders

The LeaderKonstam
The LancerJamie (though he's the narrator)
The Big GuyJoris
The Smart GuyAdam (who's also Genre Savvy)
The ChickVanessa
Plus Helen, who, as Jamie notes, resists categorisation.

How To Get Suspended and Influence People

The LeaderLeon
The LancerAnna
The Big GuyDustin
The Smart GuyBrian
The ChickEdie
Sixth RangerJenny

The Hunger Games (during the latter half of the second book)

The LeaderKatniss
The LancerFinnick
The Big GuyJohanna
The Smart GuyBeetee
The ChickPeeta


The LeaderThe Consul
The LancerBrawne Lamia (The Detective)
The Big GuyFedmahn Kassad (The Soldier)
The Smart GuySol Weintraub (The Scholar)
The ChickLenar Hoyt (The Priest)
Sixth RangersMartin Silenus (The Poet), Het Masteen (The Templar)
Team PetRachel Weintraub


The Legion of Dynamic Discord

The LeaderHagbard Celine
The LancersMavis and Stella
The Big GuyHoward
The Smart GuyFUCKUP
The ChickMiss Portinari
Sixth RangerJoe Malik
Tagalong KidGeorge Dorn

Joe Malik & Co.

The LeaderJoseph Malik
The LancerSimon Moon
The Big GuyJohn Dillanger
The Smart GuyHagbard Celine
The ChickMiss Mao
Tagalong KidGeorge Dorn
The MentorMalaclypse the Elder

In Death: Eve Dalla's True Companions.

The LeaderEve Dallas
The LancerRoarke
The Big GuyDavid Baxter
The Smart GuyIan McNab, though Roarke and Feeney are no slouches themselves in that area
The ChickDelia Peabody
Team MomDoctor Charlotte Mira
Team Dad/The MentorRyan Feeney
Tagalong KidJamie Lingstrom
Team PetGalahad, Eve's cat

IT: The Losers Club.

The LeaderBill Denbrough
The LancerRichie Tozier
The Big GuyBen Hanscom
The Smart GuysStan Uris and Ben Hanscom
The ChickBeverly Marsh
The Sixth RangerMike Hanlon
Tagalong KidEddie Kaspbrak

John Dies at the End: The Las Vegas Arc

The LeaderDave Wong
The LancerJohn "Cheese"
The Big GuyBig Jim Sullivan
The Smart GuyFred Chan
The ChickJennifer Lopez

Journey to the West

The LeaderSun Wukong
The LancerZhu Bajie
The ChickXuanzang
The Smart GuyYulong
The Big GuySha Wujing
  • Note: It could be argued that Journey to the West effectively created this trope (as it was written in 1590, and is one of the first and best examples of a Five-Man Band), though this depends on the publication date of Le Morte Darthur (possibly 1485). However, none of the characters are any one archetype (except the horse, which subsequent authors have all but forgotten); in a strange twist of the trope, for example, the monk Xuangzang, while still being The Leader by default, also falls under the trope of The Chick, because he's, well, the downright perfect example of it, down to his propensity to be captured or put into danger more often than Lois Lane and Mary-Jane Watson combined (seriously, he has to be saved from certain death by The Lancer in over 60 chapters of a this 100 chapter epic).

Jurassic Park

The LeaderAlan Grant
The LancerDonald Gennaro (in the novel only; the film completely changes his characterization)
The Big GuyRobert Muldoon
The Smart GuyIan Malcolm
The ChickEllie Sattler
Sixth RangerGerry Harding
Tagalong KidsTim and Alexis Murphy

Khaterra: The Quest

The LeaderKull (Chaotic Neutral wanderer, dark spirit sealed in his body, turning him into a badass warrior in battle)
The LancerRosa (Lawful Good, warrior nun)
The Smart GuyThe spirit of The Hero (Smart guy owing to strong magic)
The Big GuySuchart (Lawful Neutral boxing guardsman who becomes The Rival for Kull)
Dark ChickMelissa (Chaotic Evil, Anything That Moves demoness: the Token Evil Teammate)


The Brass Kites

The LeaderHichou (pretty stern and charismatic for a kid)
The LancerNanako (a bit less cynical than others)
The Big GuyGinrou (deeply realistic and self-centered)
The Smart GuyDylan (knows almost everything)
The ChickKurumi (knows anything hinky when she sees it)
Sixth Ranger/Aloof AllyEmiri (Lawful Good, but a doubter)

The Sleepy Hollow

The LeaderYuuichi Minagawa
The LancerAmaki Kuranashi
The Big GuyMika Kenzawa
The Smart GuyTsukiyo Minagawa
The ChickFujiko Motonomiya
Kid-Appeal CharacterTsugumu Minagawa

The Tin Herons

The LeaderShouhei (very liberal with ideas of others)
The LancerRukao (a bit more paranoid, and conscious)
The Big GuyKinji (the stubborn, straight idealist)
The Smart GuyMila (a knack for learning anything)
The ChickAria (moral, emotional, but not useless)
The Sixth Ranger/Aloof AllyJuuri (former tester of Hubspace)

The Kingdom Keepers

The LeaderFinn
The LancerMaybeck
The Smart GuyPhiliby
The ChickWilla
The Big GuyCharlene (said to be very athletic, so...)
The Sixth RangerAmanda

The Last Days

The LeaderMoz (Lead Singer Minerva)
The LancerZahler (Lead Guitar Moz)
The Big GuyAlana Ray Jones (also the Drummer)
The Smart GuyPearl (also the Keyboarder)
The ChickMinerva

Looking for Alaska

The LeaderAlaska Young
The LancerMiles "Pudge" Halter (subversion, since he's the main character)
The Big GuyChip "The Colonel" Martin
The Smart GuyTakumi Hikohito
The ChickLara Buterskaya

The Lost World (1912)

The LeaderChallenger
The LancerRoxton
The Big GuyZambo
The Smart GuySummerlee
The ChickMalone

Magic: The Gathering's Weatherlight story arc:

The LeaderGerrard
The LancerSisay
The Big GuyTahngarth
The Smart GuyHanna
The ChickOrim
Sixth RangerErtai

Magic Kingdom of Landover: Ben's Court

The LeaderBen Holiday
The LancerQuestor Thews
The Big GuyBunion
The Smart GuyAbernathy
The ChickWillow

Midnight World

The LeaderAndrey ("Aeneas") Viter
The LancerIgor ("Tsume") Iskrennikov
The Big GuyKonstantin ("Ken") Neverov
The Smart GuyAnton ("Raccoon") Kuzmitchov
The ChickMay Day

Le Morte Darthur has two:

The main group:

The LeaderArthur
The LancerLancelot
The Smart GuyMerlin
The Big GuyGawain (and very occasionally Kay)
The ChickGuinevere

The Orkney brothers are a five-man band unto themselves, and their roles tend to switch:

The LeaderGawain
The LancerMordred
The Smart GuyGaheris
The Big GuyAgrivain
The ChickGareth (even when he's playing The Hero)

The Mysterious Island

The LeaderCyrus Harding
The LancerPencroff
The Big GuyNeb
The Smart GuyGideon Spilett
The ChickHerbert Brown (really an embryonic Smart Guy)
Sixth RangerAyrton
Team PetTop


First Book

The Leader/Token Evil TeammateJackson Jones/Braceface
The LancerHeathcliff Hodgins/Chompers (turns out to have masterminded the entire plot at the end)
The Big GuyJulio Escala/Flinch
The Smart GuyDuncan Dewey/Gluestick
The ChickRuby Peet/Pufferfish
Sixth RangerMatilda Choi/Wheezer

Second Book

The LeaderDuncan Dewey/Gluestick
The LancerJulio Escala/Flinch
The Big GuyJackson Jones/Braceface
The Smart GuyRuby Peet/Pufferfish
The ChickMatilda Choi/Wheezer

Third Book

The LeaderMatilda Choi/Wheezer
The LancerJackson Jones/Braceface
The Big GuyJulio Escala/Flinch
The Smart GuyDuncan Dewey/Gluestick
The ChickRuby Peet/Pufferfish

The New Heroes (also known as Quantum Prophecy)

The LeaderColin
The LancerDanny
The Smart GuyRazor (pretends to be The Big Guy)
The Big GuyRenata
The ChicksMina and Butler

The Outsiders

The LeaderDarry
The LancersDallas and Soda (sometimes The Chick)
The Big GuyTwo-Bit
The Smart GuySteve
The ChickJohnny
Tagalong KidPonyboy

Percy Jackson and the OlympiansFor the series as a whole, it goes like this:

The LeaderPercy Jackson
The LancerThalia Grace
The Big GuyTyson
The Smart GuyAnnabeth Chase
The ChickGrover Underwood
Sixth RangerNico di Angelo
Tagalong KidRachel Elizabeth Dare
The MentorChiron
Team PetMrs. O'Leary

Perry Rhodan

The LeaderPerry Rhodan
The LancerAtlan (Mascaren da Gonozal)
The Big GuyReginald Bull
The Smart GuyHomer G. Adams
The HeartPucky (Cute Alien, also Super Power Lottery)
The Sixth RangersDao-Lin H'ay and Icho Tolot (Aliens)
The MentorIT (Sufficiently Advanced Alien, Trickster Mentor)
Tagalong KidJulian Tifflor

The Railway Series (Thomas the Tank Engine): Thomas's Branch Line

The LeaderThomas
The LancerPercy
The Smart GuyToby
The Big GuyMavis (as a Diesel Shunter, can move heavier loads)
The ChickDaisy

Remote Man

The LeaderNed Spinner/Remote Man
The LancerRocky
The Big GuyKate Spokes/Kuza
The Smart GuyCleverton Lee/Ja
The ChickYvette Claverloux/Salamandre

Robin Hood

The LeaderRobin Hood
The LancerLittle John
The Big GuyFriar Tuck
The Smart GuyAlan a Dale
The ChickMaid Marian


Initially, the Charisian upper leadership:

The LeaderKing Haarahld
The LancerEarl Grey Harbor
The Smart GuyBaron Wave Thunder
The Big GuyEarl Lock Island
The ChickMaikel Staynair
The Sixth RangerMerlin Athrawes

Starting from the second book, as characters learn the truth behind Safehold's history, an "inner circle" begins to form:

The LeaderCayleb
The LancerSharleyan
The Smart GuyNahrmahn
The Big GuyMerlin Athrawes
The ChickMaikel Staynair
The Sixth RangerOhlyvya Baytz

The Seventh Tower: Tal and Milla's group when storming the Violet tower in the last book

The LeaderTal
The LancerMilla
The Big GuyJarek, later Crow
The Smart GuyEbbitt
The ChickMalen

Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels: The Big Five or The Five Musketeers (as they are called in the book Deja Vu)

The LeaderJack Emery
The LancerHarry Wong and Bert Navarro
The Big GuyHarry Wong
The Smart GuyTed Robinson
The ChickJoe Espinosa

Someone Else's War: The core group of children trying to rescue their fellow Child Soldiers from the LRA

The LeaderMatteo
The LancerAsher
The Big GuyJeremiah
The Smart GuyRuth
The ChickOtto
Sacrificial LambAuley
Sixth RangerEliza

A Song of Ice and Fire

Jon Snow's gang:

The LeaderJon Snow
The LancerSamwell Tarly
The Big GuyGrenn
The Smart GuyPypar, Samwell
The ChickDareon
Team PetGhost

Spiran Och Staven (The Sceptre and the Quarterstaff)

The LeaderRäven (Fox)
The LancerEldfågel (Firebird)
The Big GuyLeontas
The Smart GuyUmbra
The ChickStormfödd (Storm-born)

The Truth About Forever: The Wish Catering Crew

The LeaderMacy
The LancerWes
The Big GuyMonica
The Smart GuyBert
The ChickKristy
Team MomDelia


The LeaderTally
The LancerShay
The Smart GuyZane
The Big GuyDavid
The Chick/Sixth RangerAya

Warhammer 40,000: Ciaphas Cain: 597th Valhallan Regiment

The LeaderCiaphas Cain
The LancerRegina Kasteen
The Big GuyAnton Broklaw
The Smart GuyFerik Juergen (smart in terms of useful skills)
The Chick and The (alternate) LancerAmberly Vail

Warrior Cats

Fireheart's True Companions in The Original Series

The LeaderFireheart
The LancerGraystripe
The Big GuySandstorm
The Smart Guy/The MedicCinderpelt
The ChickCloudtail
Sixth RangerRavenpaw
Tagalong KidBramblepaw

The Chosen Ones from the beginning of The New Prophecy series

The LeaderBrambleclaw
The LancerStormfur
The Big GuyCrowpaw (not the strongest, but the most willing to fight)
The Smart GuyTawnypelt
The ChickFeathertail
Tagalong KidSquirrelpaw

Omen of the Stars Heroes

The LeaderDovewing
The LancerIvypool
The Big GuyLionblaze
The Smart GuyJayfeather
The ChickCinderheart
Team DadFirestar
Sixth RangerHollyleaf

Watership Down

The LeaderHazel
The LancerBigwig (also The Big Guy)
The Smart GuyBlackberry
The ChickPipkin (or possibly Fiver)
The (other) Big GuySilver

World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal

The LeaderTuralyon
The LancerDanath Trollbane
The Big GuyKurdran Wildhammer
The Smart GuyKhadgar
The ChickAlleria Windrunner

Xanth: The Source of Magic

The LeaderBink
The LancerCrombie
The Big GuyChester Centaur
The Smart GuyHumphery
The ChickGrundy Golem

Xanth: The Dor books

The LeaderDor
The LancerIrene
The Big GuySmash Ogre
The Smart GuyChet Centaur
The ChickGrundy

Young Jedi Knights

The LeaderJacen
The LancerJaina
The Big GuyTenel Ka
The Smart GuyLowbacca
The ChickM-TD
Sixth RangerZekk
The MentorLuke