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Children of the Red King is a series of fantasy novels by Jenny Nimmo which first began publishing in 2002. They describe the adventures of Charlie Bone.

The series begins with Charlie Bone accidentally getting the wrong photograph from the photo developer... and discovering that he can hear people talking in the photo. While he is perturbed at this development, his grandmother and great aunts inform him he has magical abilities and enroll him in Bloor's Academy where he becomes part of the music department (because of his supposedly dead father, who played the piano). At Bloor's, Charlie makes new friends, encounters strange magic, and learns all about the history of his Big Screwed-Up Family.

The books in the series are:

  • Midnight for Charlie Bone (2002)
  • The Time Twister (2003) (Also Charlie Bone and the Time Twister)
  • The Blue Boa (2004) (Also Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy)
  • The Castle of Mirrors (2005) (Also Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors)
  • Charlie Bone and the Hidden King (2006)
  • Charlie Bone and the Wilderness Wolf (2007) (Also Charlie Bone and the Beast)
  • Charlie Bone and the Shadow of Badlock (2008)
  • Charlie Bone and the Red Knight (2009)

This series contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Academy of Adventure / Wizarding School: Bloor's Academy.
  • Adults Are Useless: Mostly averted. Most of the adults are fairly competent; when they're unable to help the kids it's for reasons that actually make sense, and when they do help out it makes a big difference. Plus, for every nice adult there's two who are Jerkasses or completely psychotic.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Olivia Vertigo, Lysander Sage, Tancred Torsson, Gabriel Silk, Eric Shellhorn, Alice Angel, Orvil Onimous, anyone with the last name "Yewbeam"... yeah, there's a lot of these.
  • Badass Teacher: Dr. Saltweather and Senor Alvaro, though barely mentioned at all in the final battle, make quite a team.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Miss Chrystal/Titania Tilpin gets increasingly ugly after she turns out to be an evil witch.
  • Big Bad: Count Harken Badlock.
    • Ezekiel Bloor is the Big Bad of the series.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Runner Bean.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family
  • Body Horror: Asa when he changes from human to beast, or vice versa.
  • Bouncer: Norton Cross is a sort-of bouncer for the Pets' Cafe.
  • Butt Monkey: Poor Benjamin and his dog Runner Bean just can't catch a break.
  • Cast Calculus: Rotates through the books. Mostly involves Charlie and Billy, involves Emma and Olivia more often than not, and occasionally includes Gabriel, Tancred and Lysander.
  • Character Name and The X of Y: All of the books except the first in the U.S.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Mr. Pilgrim, who in the fifth book is revealed to be Lyell Bone, Charlie's ten-years-estranged father. He's also the Red Knight.
  • Constantly Curious: Joshua Tilpin has quite a few questions for Lord Grimwald in the last book.
  • Cool Old Guy: Paton Yewbeam.
  • Creepy Twins: Idith and Inez Branko.
  • Disney Death: Tancred.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: "I think they only put 'FISH' up on that sign to explain the smell, if you catch me. And not because they're selling any."
  • Earn Your Happy Ending
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Paton Yewbeam and his sister Venetia could count, as both are on the tall side and have black hair.
  • Everyone Is Related: Most of the main characters are related and almost everyone is descended from the Red King.
  • Evil Old Folks: Quite a few, but Ezekiel Bloor deserves special mention; he's a Grumpy Old Man taken to the extreme.
  • Eyes of Gold: Asa Pike's eyes are yellow, which just adds to his wolfish demeanor.
  • Face Heel Turn: Norton Cross.
  • Good Guy Bar: The Pet Cafe.
  • Happily Adopted: Billy Raven, at the end of the series.
  • Heel Face Revolving Door: Dagbert Endless, whose Character Alignment changes with the moon. At the end, he seems to have finally settled somewhere on the "good" spectrum.
  • Heel Face Turn: Asa Pike, due to his nature as a Changer. It's implied that he actually might have rejoined the Bloors, had they not seen fit to lock him up for a few months in a cave, later on without sunlight (which is what he requires in order to be human). In other words, they deprived him of his humanity for several weeks and nearly starved him to death in the process. Their actions also led up to Asa's father being shot and killed by local hunters. It's no wonder he turned his back on them completely after that.
  • Heroic Albino: Billy Raven.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Christopher Crowquill, which makes him one of the very few non-evil characters to be Killed Off for Real.
    • Asa's dad was shot to death trying to defend his son from hunters.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Emma and Olivia.
  • I Never Told You My Name: Alice Angel knows Olivia's name immediately when she and Charlie walk into her shop, and uses it repeatedly. It doesn't say much for Charlie's character that he doesn't think anything is wrong until Alice also says his name. It turns out that, unknown to them Alice is Olivia's next door neighbour, godmother, and self-declared guardian angel and a friend of Charlie's Uncle Paton.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: With a sufficient light source, Asa is human. But in the dark, he cannot retain that shape, instead automatically transforming into a beast -- the eponymous "Wilderness Wolf" of the sixth book. Being trapped as an animal for too long can also have a bad effect on his sanity, though luckily he manages to hold himself together enough to not rip apart his rescuers when they come for him.
  • Killed Off for Real: In addition to the aforementioned Christopher and Mr. Pike, Big Bad Manfred and his grandfather Ezekiel die at the end of the last book.
  • Kissing Cousins: The descendents of the Red King have been interbreeding with one another for a very long time, mostly to "keep the bloodline pure."
  • Loads and Loads of Characters
  • Muggle Best Friend: Benjamin Brown, Fidelio Gunn and Olivia Vertigo until she is revealed to be endowed as well.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Mr. Onimous sounds a lot like ominous. He's one of the good guys though.
  • Papa Wolf: Do not kill Yolanda Yewbeam or Tancred Torsson. Their fathers will be pissed.
  • Plot Induced Stupidity: By all rights, Tancred and Lysander as a team are powerful enough to solve just about every problem Charlie has ever struggled with -- especially when it comes to the Bloor family, who are all terrified of them. Why they never seem to remember this is a mystery.
    • Tancred actually isn't very good at controlling his powers, and often has to force himself from losing control of them. Lysander doesn't really have an excuse, though.
  • Police Are Useless: Justified, since there's not much the police can do about magical crimes, especially when they've got their hands full with the mundane variety already. Though one does help Charlie's mother offscreen in the last book.
  • Power Perversion Potential / Getting Crap Past the Radar: The chief protagonist can go into any still image. Any still image. Think about it.
  • Punny Name: An example that overlaps with Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Belle Donner. Who is actually Yolanda Yewbeam.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The eponymous snake from the third book is more Woobie than abhorrent.
  • School for Scheming
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Shadow/Count Harken Badlock.
  • Ship Tease: Emma and Charlie, until it is revealed that Emma has a crush on Tancred. Olivia and Charlie would probably qualify too.
  • Sword Cane: Uncle Paton has one in his walking stick, used in the final battle. And it's electrified.
  • Superpowerful Genetics
  • Thirteen Is Unlucky: Lucretia, Eustacia, and Venetia Yewbeam live at 13 Darkly Wynd.
    • Parodied. They don't all live at the same house, their street has three No. 13s.
  • Unfazed Everyman: Benjamin, Fidelio, and Olivia. Until Olivia turns out to be endowed in the fourth book.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Played with. Some of the endowed have powers that initially seem lame, but most of them turn out to be Chekhov's Guns or more powerful than you'd think.
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