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Literature / Tara Duncan

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Click here to see the poster of the Animated Adaptation. 

Tara Duncan is the heroine of a popular French fantasy book series for young adults, written by Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian. She is a young "spellbinder", who has been labeled the "French little sister" of Harry Potter. The novel series was published from 2003 to 2015.

This book had two Animated Adaptations. The first onenote  was produced by Moonscoop. The series premiered on 27 June 2010 in France on Disney XD, and ended in 2011 with 26 episodes and no second season. In the US, the series was made available on Kabillion's VOD service. It can be legally watched here.

The second series, this time done in CGI, was produced by Princess Sam Pictures (who's CEO is Sophie herself!) and premiered on Disney Channel in France on December 4, 2021.

Tara Duncan provides examples of the following:

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    Book Series 
  • Anti-Magic: Some humans - such as the heroine from the spinoff series The Otherworlds of Tara Duncan - are totally immune to magic, when it is directly aimed at them, and this includes healing and memory altering spells as well. They are called NM in the original french version, which stands for Non-Manipulable. They however aren't immune to the effects spells have on their environment: indeed, even if a fireball will be ineffective against a NM, they will die from the fire and smoke caused by said fireball around them. The author is said to be a NM in the books, which is why she is able to write about Tara's life wihout having her memory wiped out. They are apparently not immune to potions.
  • A Taste of the Lash: Used on good guys with a frightening regularity for books aimed at young readers.
  • The Beautiful Elite: All main characters are gorgeous (even Big Bad Magister claimed to be this), and every new guy encountered by Tara (Robin, Sylver, then Archangel) is said to be even more handsome than the previous one, depending on them being a possible Love Interest at the moment.
    • Betty is the only exception, being pudgy and with glasses.
    • Zig-Zagging Trope: She loses weight and her glasses in book five during her imprisonment. Back on Earth her parents notice she's now a "gorgeous young lady." Then she regains her weight and everyone is praising Jar for taking interest in her despite her not being a standard beauty.
  • Big Eater: Tara is reported to be one, but is curiously underweight. It's later stated that the practice of magic drains the user's body fat.
  • Bound and Gagged: Happens at least once per book to one or several good guys.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: See a A Taste of the Lash above. Subverted with Tara, as her Familiar was once tortured instead of her, yet their mental bond made the whole thing unbearable.
  • Costume Porn: The "changeline" is a device that allows Tara to wear any fashion, including stilettos, despite her being a 15-year old.
  • Cure Your Gays: The love spell on Selena was so powerful that it worked on Various, her cousin, who was supposed to be gay. That was the whole purpose of the spell. However, even after Selena was kidnapped and disappeared from Various's life, Various retained an interest in women, as he settled down with Lisbeth.
  • Direct Line to the Author: The characters say that their story is true, and that Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian is Tara's official biographer.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: The entire planet of Otherworld dislikes guns.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: In the 10th book, Robin is raped by a female demon pretending to be Tara. While the demon is punished for this by the Prince of Demons, Tara and the rest of the cast treats this as Robin cheating on her. While Tara does have a point in that Robin should have known it wasn't her due to her saying she wasn't ready for sex just a day before, it still comes off her as blaming him for being assaulted.
  • Draconic Humanoid: Sylver, who is quite literally a half-dragon and first appears covered in scales.
  • Dude Magnet: Tara has had two arranged marriages proposed to her; not only that, but every boy of her age was once attracted to her except her childhood friend Fabrice, who considers her a sister...Except in book 6, where he admired her beauty a bit too much. This is Justified later by the explanation that Tara was affected by a curse passed down from her mother that forced men to love her.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Tara is so overpowered that she came close to destroying Earth in book 4.
  • Familiar: Every spellbinder has one. Those animals go spontaneously to The Chosen One, share a telepathic bind with them, and have golden eyes.
  • Fiction 500: Tara's family is insanely rich, both on Earth or in the Otherworld.
  • Gratuitous Princess: All the female prominent characters are princesses more or less officially. Tara is an heiress of the imperial category (along with her long-lost sister) while her friends Sparrow and Fafnir are respectively a non-heiress princess and The Chief's Daughter. The female dragon Charm is later revealed being a princess too, like the demon Sanhexia.
    • Downplayed starting from the thirteenth book. Tara loses her magic and is no longer heir to Omois' throne after learning that the empress is now fertile again, but is still referred to as such due to having spent a long amount of time with that title.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: It is revealed in Book 5 that the reason behind Tara's godlike magic is the result of genetic engineering Dragons have secretly subjected the Imperial family to ever since it was established after Demiderius. However, since they planned to use her for their evil projects, they gave her much stronger magic than any of her ancestors, outmatching her father already as an infant. Later, she refuses to have her children undergo the same process despite the fact that the Dragons have been doing it successfully since the dawn of time, which results in two very frustrated teenagers with subpar magic, with one terribly envious of his mother's magic.
  • Half-Human Hybrid:
    • Robin is a half-elf, half-human who wishes to be a full elf.
    • Sylver is a half-dragon, half-human.
  • Half-Identical Twins: Mara and Jar, Tara's long lost younger siblings, are a prime example of this, being carbon copies of each other, only with opposite genders. Adverted with Tara's children, who despite being twins of the opposite gender, have very distinct personalities and look nothing like each other, but are carbon copies of their parent of the opposite gender. Celia is a carbon copy of Cal before Tara used her magic to make him fit her preferences without his consent.
  • Hotter and Sexier: When the characters started to reach 15, they openly talked of making love. Not to mention Double Entendre descriptions about Robin training with a ghost.
  • Lemony Narrator: Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian mocks her characters in footnotes, gives comparisons of their gestures with famous movies, and, in later books, gave the chapters overly descriptive long titles.
  • Literal-Minded: Some demons are like this. Mention goes to the demon sent to kill Tara by Magister in the ghost invasion book, who summons storms and loud instruments in the middle of a sound-sensitive flower field, exploding it and several nearby creatures and inadvertently saves Tara, Angelica and Sylver from a certain death instead, due to misinterpreting Magister's ironic and annoyed demands.
  • Muggles: They're called Nonsos (No Sorcerers). The animated series refers to them as Non-spells.
  • Muggle Best Friend: Betty, the only prominent Nonsos character, and who stayed on earth most of the time for that reason.
  • Not Brainwashed: Fabrice, regarding his Face–Heel Turn fueled by his lust for power. Later on, he thus seems Easily Forgiven.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: In the eighth book, a ghostly Selena Duncan manages to convince a little girl with the same first name as her to take her place during a resurrection ritual by Magister. Not only does he find out the truth from a possessed Tara, his attempts at taking the real Selena Duncan back end up with being turned into a werewolf thanks to Selena having done the same not long before her death. Which cures him of all his previous injuries, strengthens him and makes him fall in love with her even more. Needless to say, Selena is not happy when he tells her this upon coming back.
  • Pegasus: Galant, Tara's familiar, isn't only a Familiar pegasus, he's the only one with magic powers, which adds another level to his mistress' specialness.
  • Planetary Romance: Autremonde (Otherworld) is more of this than Another Dimension because it's really another planet (even if it's reached via Cool Gate). The dragons' planet counts too.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: Dan and Celia are this, not only in looks and gender but also in personality. And as anyone would expect of this trope, Celia turns out to be the shy and soft twin with low self-esteem while Dan is hotheaded, courageous and impulsive and is envious of his mother's magic. The only thing they agree on is that Tagon, the city where Tara sent them to live in, is boring, but Celia would rather live in Paris or NYC while Dan prefers to live adventures in Autremonde.
  • Power Incontinence: Sylver first appears with glittering scales covering his skin that cut anyone and anything that touched them. After he learns about his parentage and transforms into a dragon, he gains the ability to hide them.
  • Self-Insert Fic: The title character shares some similarities with her author, Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian. Notably physical traits (both blond and dark-eyed) and ancestry. The author is related to the Mamikonian family, which reigned over Armenia more than 12 centuries ago; it's a Republic nowadays. Included in the books, this detail results in Tara being an imperial princess, and the direct heir to a throne.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse:Justified. Tara inherited a love curse from her mother due to being conceived while Selena was afflicted with it. Robin, Jeremy, and Sylver all fell for her before it's revealed. Inexplicably, she's still described with a magnificent beauty after said spell was broken, and Cal becomes infatuated with her (maybe done under influence in the animated version), despite having resisted the curse until book 8 and being in love with another girl, Eleanor, until then (Eleanor was dead when he fell for Tara).
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Exaggerated at moments. Namely in the second and seventh book, both Magister and Tara have time for a long, detailed, elaborate summary of past events... right in the middle of an action scene (the former while an evil entity is threatening to kill them all, the latter during a battle to death). What makes this egregious is that while the former is a way to provide a backstory to the book's antagonist nearing the end, the latter is essentially Tara "guessing" the events leading to Sylver being Magister's biological son.
  • Take a Third Option: Defied in regards to Tara's relationships with Robin and Cal, as well as Fabrice and Sparrow. Robin and Cal both have a reciprocated crush on Tara and Fabrice has a crush on both Tara and Sparrow early on. Both Robin and Fabrice suggest forming a throuple on separate occasions... which Tara denies the former due not being polyamorous and ends up with Cal anyways and Sparrow denies over mentioning she's not into girls.
  • Totally Radical: The newest generation of demons is made to resemble humans... specifically, human teens that act like stereotypical college Surfer Dude archetypes, which even Tara comments on.
  • Unto Us a Son and Daughter Are Born: Dan and Celia, Tara and Cal's first children, who also turn out to be carbon copies of their opposite gender parent.
  • Valley Girl: The newest generation of demon girls is this. See Totally Radical.
  • Villain Over for Dinner: Tara once ran into her mother having tea with Magister.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Tara can shapeshift into anything, from a dragon to a vampire. She can also make anyone shapeshift into anything, and can also inflict permanent genetic modifications - such as when she changed Robin into a full elf, after he had just accepted his mixed race heritage and made Cal, [[whose family business is thieving, taller and boarder to suit her tastes]] when she was turned into the Dark Queen. She is also the only one who can turn vampires addicted to human blood into normal vampires.
  • Wizards Live Longer: Spellbinders live an average of 300 years, and age accordingly, at least as soon as they stop growing. Some age slower than others but it is unknown why.
    • Scientist later discover that it is the amount of magical power one has that determine their aging speed. As such, Tara, the strongest spellbinder ever, still looks like a 18 years old at 35, while having two 13 year old children.
    • However it is not known if it is specifically the ability to practice magic that gives spellbinders their extended longevity, since there is no instance of a Spellbinder's child being unable to use magic. As such, we do not know if Fabrice, the child of two humans who turned out to be able to use a weak form of magic because of magical overexposure while in the womb, would have had the longevity of a human or a spellbinder.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Magister of all people gets hit with this in one of the books. He takes the appearance of a female elf to sneak in the palace undercover, gets courted by a casanova elf before murdering said elf (bringing to light said elf's affairs and cheating on various women) in response. The ending of the thirteenth book implies he's planning a similar ploy.

    TV Series (2010) 
  • Depending on the Writer: The writers seem to go back and forth on whether it is Sandra or Livia who has a crush on Cal.
    • In one episode, Sparrow needs Tara's help for fashion advice. In every other episode, Sparrow is the fashion-obsessed one.
    • Some episodes imply that Tara grew up on Earth with a "normal" life, and others make it clear she knew about magic her entire life.
  • Expy: Sandra greatly resembles Libby from Sabrina the Teenage Witch, even down to being suspicious of Tara's power.
  • Fountain of Youth: Episode 9 has a titular Mirror of Youth. The elf Krislak was after that artifact while Isabella was protecting it. However, she accidentally glance at the mirror turning her into her teenage self.
  • Inconsistent Dub: Just what is the name of the evil vampire lady who seems to have a vendetta against Tara's mother? So far, the dub has called her Serena, Solara, and Selenba (her name in the original French).
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Tara is offended when Sandra calls her a witch, since "spellbinders" are apparently a different thing entirely, which is true in the books, where witches - male and female - are a group of evil magic users who have green skin, wear pointy hats and ride flying brooms.
  • Our Monsters Are Different: Virtually anything and everything (harpies, vampires, werewolves) can cast spells like witches do. Ironically, actual witches do not seem to exist in the TV show.

    TV Series (2021) 
  • Truer to the Text: This show seems to follow the original books more than the previous show.