- "Hi my name is Ebony Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way and I have long ebony black hair (that's how I got my name) with purple streaks and red tips that reaches my mid-back and icy blue eyes like limpid tears and a lot of people tell me I look like Amy Lee (AN: if u don't know who she is get da hell out of here!)."
- —From the opening of My Immortal
My Immortal is a well-known Harry Potter fanfiction, first published on FanFiction.net between 2006 and 2007, and presented as being written by a "Tara Gilesbie" under the username "XXXbloodyrists666XXX."
The fanfiction became infamous within the Harry Potter fandom for its poor writing and bizarre plot. It eventually gained a reputation within the wider fan community as the worst fanfiction ever written. Speculation as to the work's authorship and intent persisted for a number of years. Some believed it to be an earnest work of fiction while others maintained it was a deliberately-created parody. In 2017, the true identity of the author was revealed as Rose Christo, who confirmed it was a "troll fic" written in her teens.
The work soon gained notoriety within Harry Potter fandom due to its plot, characterisation, and writing. It was was noted for its numerous spelling mistakes, persistent use of "leetspeak", and bizarre plot involving torture, time travel, gratuitous sex scenes, and multiple goth concerts.
Readers recall the story receiving between 8000-10000 comments per chapter in its initial posting. The author responded negatively to the criticism she received, leaving author's notes described as "increasingly defensive, impenetrable, and prone to mentioning suicide attempts."
The story was removed from FanFiction.net in 2008, presumably for violating the site's policy forbidding sexually explicit content, but has been re-posted many times by other parties over the years.
FanFiction.net user "XXXbloodyrists666XXX" gave her real name as Tara Gilesbie. She described herself as "goffic" and professed a love of the bands My Chemical Romance and Evanescence. In her final author's note, she stated that she was "leeving dubya [sic]," often interpreted to mean the city of Dubai.
Tara identified the story's beta reader as her friend Raven (user "bloodytearz666" on FanFiction.net). The pair were reported in Tara's author's notes to have had a falling out around the time of chapter 12. Raven was accused of failing to edit the chapter as promised and of stealing one of "Tara's" sweaters. As a result, Tara killed the character based off Raven, and changed one of the heroine's middle names from "Raven" to "Tara." The quality of the story was described as going from "bad to worse" after Raven stopped editing it. Although they were eventually reported to have reconciled, and Raven stated to have resumed editing, the story did not recover.
- "I’m sorry if I’ve ruined it for those people [by coming forward as the author], but in writing about my childhood, there was no way I couldn’t write about My Immortal. My Immortal shaped so much about who I am, whether I like it or not (more often than not, I don’t)."
- —Rose Christo reflects on My Immortal in 2017
The authorship and intent of My Immortal remained the subject of widespread speculation for over a decade. Some believed it was an earnest, albeit poorly-written work, while others held it was an intentional parody.
On 7 March 2017, Rose Christo came forward on Tumblr as the fic's author, but the post drew little notice. Later that year, Christo discovered she still had the log-in credentials for her old Fiction Press account, "XXXblodyblaktearz666XXX," which she had opened at the same time as her FanFiction.net account. On 2 August, she posted a message on her Fiction Press profile, which stated she was still around (but did not disclose her real name) and thanked people for "keeping My Immortal alive over the years." She also confirmed that chapters 39 and 40 were indeed written by a hacker.
Later in August, it was revealed that the publisher of Handbook for Mortals, the debut novel of Lani Sarem, had strategically bulk-ordered the book in order to bump it to the top of The New York Times bestseller list. Parallels were drawn between the writing of Handbook for Mortals and that of My Immortal. Some speculated that that Lani Sarem was in fact "Tara Gilesbie." On 27 August, Christo updated her Fiction Press profile to deny this rumour, further revealing that she was on Tumblr under her real name. Around the same time, an editorial assistant at St Martin's Press, seeking to dispel the Sarem rumours, accidentally revealed on Twitter that her publishing imprint "[has] a book with the girl who wrote MY IMMORTAL."
The Fiction Press revelation and the St Martin's employee's slip prompted online sleuths to begin searching. Tumblr user "pipistrella" discovered a screenshot posted by Rose Christo on Twitter of her logged into her Fiction Press account and also found that she has a memoir slated for released by St Martin's in 2018. Christo posted an update to her Tumblr blog around 5 September confirming she wrote My Immortal.
Christo, now 27-years-old, has self-published several young-adult novels since writing My Immortal. Her memoir, Under the Same Stars, will deal with her experiences growing up in the New York state foster-care system, and her search for the little brother she was separated from at a young age. She confirmed that My Immortal was a "troll fic" that she wrote when she was "15 going on 16." She stated that she began writing it with a friend identified as "Raven" on a school computer, saving the initial chapters to a flash drive. This flash drive, as well as her access to the e-mail address used to register the "XXXbloodyrists666XXX" account, were the proof she gave St Martin's Press when they hired a lawyer to vet her claim of authorship of My Immortal.
The plot, or lack thereof, focuses on a seventh year member of Slytherin House named "Ebony Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way," (though she does misspell her name as "Enoby" frequently) a "Mary Sue" character who is forced by "Vlodemort"/"Volxemort"/"Darth Valer" to kill Harry "Vampire" Potter and then travels back in time to make Tom Bombadil fall in love with her to prevent him from turning into the "Bark Lord" Voldemort. Things continue in an odd pattern from there. The story ends with Harry, Ron, and "Navel" in a "Latin stand-of" with Voldemort (the time travel plot having apparently failed), while Ebony shouts a killing curse, presumably at Voldemort, though some speculate she instead shot it at herself (thus explaining the sudden ending.)
One reoccurring theme throughout the fic is the unexplained hatred of "Preps" and the promotion of "Goths"/"Goffs", although the depiction of the latter could be considered closer to that of "Emo" culture. Concerts of Muggle bands (which are allowed in Hogsmeade for some reason) are also a major part of the story.
At one point, Tara Gilesbie's account was (supposedly) hacked, in which a 'fake ending' was added in which Ebony commits suicide and all the characters return to normal, while Ebony becomes a 'prep' in hell. The unknown hacker has still not been identified (although if one was to believe that this is in fact a trollfic, the "hacker" might have been Tara herself.)
Many of J.K Rowling's original concepts for the characters have been changed to the point where My Immortal could be considered a Harry Potter fiction in name only. Harry, Ron, and Hermione have been moved to Slytherin House, and Hagrid is no longer the groundskeeper, but a Hogwarts student who likewise is in love with Ebony. Many of the major characters are now vampires and have also converted to satanism/stanism, and are given retconned backstories (usually involving their parents being vampires and being killed, causing said character's conversion.) Voldemort speaks in Shakespearean english (with gratuitous use of "thou") and is no longer capable of unsupported flight. Draco (and everyone else) hates "the preps" instead of muggles (even to the point of owning and using a flying car and listening to muggle music.) Dumbledore/Dumblydoor/Dumbledork repeatedly shifts from being a perpetually angry old man that hates the main characters (including Harry) for no apparent reason, to trying to win the approval of the "Goffick Ppl" (and failing). Crookshanks (which is supposed to be the Cruciatus Curse) is a spell instead of a cat. Snap/Snake and Loopin are also portrayed as sexual deviants who videotape Ebony while she is in the bathtub. Snaketail is now 16 years old and likewise a sexual deviant who tries to "rap" Draco and tries to get Ebony to have sex with him.
Various characters have also been given new nicknames, both intentionally and through bad spelling. Harry Potter is now called "Vampire", Hermione Granger is now called "B'loody Mary Smith", and Ron is now called "Diabolo". Snape is also represented by two characters, Severus and "Sna/"Snake", whilst Professors Sinistra and Trelawney are combined into one character named "Sinister" who is now a "weeaboo" stereotype. "Tom Rid" and Voldemort are also two separate people, the former of which runs a Gothic clothes shop in Hogsmeade, while the later of which is the alter-ego of Tom Bombadil aka "Satan".
Morty McFly also makes a guest appearance. Doris Rumbridge (who actually acknowledges Voldemort's existence, and spells it right) and "Cornelia Fuck" also get very brief appearances. Cedric apparently appears according to one of the author's notes.
Notes and references
- "The Bizarre, Unsolved Mystery of ‘My Immortal,’ the World’s Worst Fanfiction Story" from Vulture
- "The worst thing ever written" from The Verge
- "Alleged Author of Legendarily Bad Fanfic ‘My Immortal’ Steps Forward, Announces Book Deal" from Vulture
- "The Story Of 'My Immortal' Is More Wild And Heartbreaking Than You Imagined" from Buzzfeed
- "My Immortal: solving the mystery of the internet’s most beloved — and notorious — fanfic" from Vox
- XXXblodyblaktearz666XXX's profile page on Fiction Press
- "Did the mysterious fanfic author behind ‘My Immortal’ just resurface?" from The Daily Dot
- "People Think They Have The Answer To The Decade-Long Mystery Of Who Wrote 'My Immortal'" from Buzzfeed
- Post by Rose Christo on Tumblr