I have seen that 'story' go around a lot and I still don't know what it is. WHAT is My Immortal??
Ok buddy get yourself comfortable cause this is gonna be a long one:
Let’s go all the way back to 2006, when the internet was just becoming a thing to young people. Back when a majority of the websites we know today were either just starting out or just starting to pick up in popularity, including fanfiction.net. A lot of fanfictions had already filled the archives, both bad and good, but one fanfiction in particular caught people’s attention almost immediately. And it was ‘My Immortal’ by “Tara Gilesbie”, or ‘XXXbloodyrists666XXX’ as was her username on the website. Supposedly taking place in the world of Harry Potter, this particular fanfic gets to a point where, had it not been for the actual characters’ names being present, you can’t really tell what it’s supposed to be referencing as it has very little acknowledgement of the source material’s canon. The story’s main focus is “Tara’s” self-insert OC, Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way. Also known as Enoby, Egogy, Evony, Ibony, or just Tara. To anyone who has only heard of ‘My Immortal’, it just sounds like your typical run of the mill “mary sue” fanfiction. But what made ‘My Immortal’ stand above the rest were three things: the butchered grammar, the author’s seemingly obsession with the gothic subculture, and the mary sue herself.
The grammar is terrible, there is just no other way to put it. “Tara” had a very distinct way of writing, which was better exemplified in her ‘author’s notes’, her little thoughts that she always puts at the very beginning of each chapter or sometimes at the end. And other times in the middle of her story, to either talk back to the ‘flamerz’, go on about how much she loves a band she mentioned, or point out a pun she made. And it all greatly resembles someone sending a text message:
“AN: STOP flaming! if u flam it menz ur a prep or a posr! Da only reson Dumbledeor swor is coz he had a hedache ok an on tup of dat he wuz mad at dem 4 having sexx! PS im nut updating umtil I get five good revoiws!”
That kind of style is present throughout the whole story. Granted the actual chapters have better spelling, but the way it’s put together is all the same. And it actually worsens the further it goes to the near point of illegibility. In fact, legend has it that the story’s grammar was apparently so bad that fanfiction.net deleted it due to the sudden drop of intelligence on the site. No one knows if that’s true, most likely not as that seems like quite a stretch. However, it was actually deleted, perhaps by Tara herself, though she later reposted it.
But the real kicker is exactly how the fanfic interprets the source material. Hogwarts is no longer a school of wizardry divided by bestowed houses, but is now a more high school-based setting where everyone is divided by cliques, though only three are present. Goths, preps, and posers:
•Goths are the good kids. They’re the only ones who understand this dark and depressing world better than anyone else, and shows their individuality by shopping at Hot Topic together and listening to the same exact bands. They’re also half vampires for some reason. And they’re all part of Slytherin even if they’re originally from another house in the actual story.
•Preps are the mean kids. They just like, totally don’t understand goths so they’re like so mean to them and call them scary and stuff. They’re all just bitchy and are like totally jealous of the goths and only shop at stores like American Eagle and only listen to crappy music like Hilary Duff. And all those stupid preps are in Gryffindor.
•Posers are just goth wannabes who listen to Avril Lavigne and probably don’t even know who Good Charlotte is. What houses are they even in, no one knows and no one gives a shit. They’re mostly there just to show the reader what being goth is really all about.
And above them all is the only true goth, the queen of Mary Sues herself, Ebony. Now the definition of what makes a “mary sue” has been drastically skewed over the years, and probably shouldn’t even be relevant anymore, but if you at the very least want a true-to-heart example, Ebony is the way to go. Tara’s obsession with being goth is greatly reflected in this character. She loves bands like My Chemical Romance, Good Charlotte, Simple Plan, and Evanescence (who wrote the song ‘My Immortal’ which this fanfic is named after). She shops at Hot Topic and wears the type of clothing that any 13 year old goth wishes they could. In fact, Ebony’s outfits are always described in great detail and takes up to almost paragraphs in every chapter:
“For example today I was wearing a black corset with matching lace around it and a black leather miniskirt, pink fishnets and black combat boots. I was wearing black lipstick, white foundation, black eyeliner and red eye shadow.”
And trust me when I say they only get longer. It isn’t just the outfit descriptions though, the whole entire story is written in Ebony’s favor. Like a Hot Topic being in Hogsmede despite it being a nonmagical store (not to mention being an american chain) and a club where Ebony’s favorite bands just happen to be playing concerts in despite being muggle bands. And how cutting, underage drinking, and smoking is glamorized as being “dark” and “beautiful” and has no repercussions whatsoever. And how there’s no uniforms so Ebony can show off her over the top wardrobe.
Since Ebony is the main character and this is a fanfiction, all of Tara’s favorite characters from the Harry Potter world are Ebony’s gothic friends and accompany her in Slytherin, even if they’re canonly in other houses as I’ve mentioned previously. And all of Tara’s hated characters are Ebony’s enemies, and are depicted as either nasty preps or a bunch of posers that belong in Gryffindor. It doesn’t stop there though, as all the male characters have a thing for Ebony because she is just so sexy and looks exactly like Amy Lee. But Ebony only focuses on her two main love interests, Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter, who now goes by Vampire Potter because he likes the taste of human blood.
This is all just the very basics of the fanfiction, there are plenty of more absurdities you’ll stumble upon the further you read. Like Voldemort and the Death Eaters disguising themselves as My Chemical Romance, Snape video taping Ebony taking a bath, characters from different sources making cameos like Marty Mcfly, the list goes on.
But what truly, TRULY made ‘My Immortal’ such a phenomenon is that no one knew if it was legit. There were two sides to how people felt about it, those who thought it was a real story and Tara at the time was another young angsty teen who had just been introduced to the internet (which would explain the terrible grammar and botched sex scenes), and those who thought the story was one big joke written by a genius troll who made Tara up as a persona, which was extremely plausible since everything about the story was so wrong and completely blown out of proportion that there was no possible way someone could’ve come up with it and been completely serious. But people on the other side have argued that they’d have a very, VERY dedicated troll.
One of the biggest factors to their argument was Tara’s friend Raven, who not only had her own OC named Willow that was featured in the story, but also had a helping hand in writing it. She even had her own fanfiction.net account called ‘bloodytearz666’. Raven was Tara’s creative filter, as she was in charge of spelling and grammar and came up with some plot points in the story. At least until chapter 16 when the two apparently had a falling out and Tara killed off Willow, but later brought Willow back as an apology. So this troll would’ve had to not only make Tara, but also make Raven as a means to support their persona, unless Raven was created by a second troll. But both of those trolls would’ve had to write other stories pre and post ‘My Immortal’, as well as manage several social media accounts, which is a whole lot of effort just for the sake of making a joke.
Since the story was made, many people have come forward claiming they are the mysterious Tara, with promises of more material and continuations of the infamous story. So no one knew for sure who Tara is or her whereabouts. Until now.
After years and years of shrouded mystery, “Tara” has finally logged back into her more than decade old account and revealed herself to be Rose Christo. As it turns out, she co-wrote ‘My Immortal’ with Raven, who was actually a real person and her friend, during a very hard time in her life. And it wasn’t for a reason most might have thought. She revealed that she purposely made it as bad as possible so she could gain enough publicity to find her younger brother that she had been separated from.
She even wrote a memoir about it that is set to be published in 2018, which you can read about here.
You can also read the fanfiction itself if you’re interested here. Even if it did turn out to be a fake, it’s still a very humorous read, and very interesting since we now know its backstory.