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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.

An Animated Adaptation of the same namenote  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.


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.
  • Cool Pet: 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.
  • 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.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: It is revealed in Book 5 that the reason behind Tara's godlike magic 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 result 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 copy of each other, only with opposite genders. Adverted with Tara's children, who despite being twins of opposite gender, have very distinct personalities and look nothing like each other, but being 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.
  • 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.
  • 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's 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 who 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.

    TV Series 
  • 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.
  • 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 Usingthe 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.