Photo: ‘My Immortal’
Fanfiction is, as the name implies, the art of writing stories based on pre-existing media. It’s a form of literature that’s been around long before the days of the internet, and as long as fandoms exist, it’s something that’ll never die out. Fanfiction can help further unite fans of a particular movie, show, book series, or general franchise by allowing them to share their own creative works and unique ideas with each other. However, like all fan-made works, there’s no real quality control when it comes to fanfiction, as it’s something that virtually anyone could write and post online. This has led to written works that naturally have varied wildly in quality. Some have been praised for being well thought out and interesting, while others have been criticized for being poorly written, to say the very least. However, today I’d like to take a step back in time and remember one particular fanfiction that took the world by storm. A certain ‘Harry Potter’ fanfiction that, depending on how you looked at it, was either one of the worst pieces of literature ever published on the Internet, or a genius satirical masterpiece for the ages. This is the tale of ‘My Immortal’.
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Just What Was ‘My Immortal’?
‘My Immortal’ was first published to fanfiction.net sometime in 2006 (though its actual publication date is unknown) by someone named Tara Gilesbe under the username XXXbloodyrists666XXX. Although it’s a ‘Harry Potter’ fanfiction, the story bears only a very loose connection to the famous book series by J.K. Rowling. This story focuses on a female Hogwarts student named Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way. She’s a vampire, a Satanist, and a goth, and she’ll make sure you remember that. She’ll also make sure you remember that she’s obsessed with Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance, that she hates “preps” with a fiery burning passion, and that she loves shopping at Hot Topic.
Ebony is friends with other characters from the ‘Harry Potter’ universe, who have also been reimagined as gothic, with new names to boot. Harry, Ron, and Hermoine have respectively become Vampire, Diablo, and B’loody Mary Smith. Meanwhile, she shares a romantic relationship with Draco Malfoy (who is always referred to by his first name). The rather flimsy story concerns Voldemort trying to get Ebony to kill Har-er, Vampire Potter, forcing her to take measures into her own hands to try and stop him.
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The story is absolutely rife with spelling and grammatical errors, which only get worse as the story progresses. Character names and other basic words are misspelled regularly, with even the main character’s name oftentimes being written as “Enoby”. Parenthetical asides are also common, oftentimes done to explain jokes (lol geddit cuz…). On top of all that, the narrative itself takes increasingly nonsensical turns, constantly introducing plot threads that go nowhere. To make things even more confusing, there are a small handful of points where passages are straight-up repeated, making the already difficult-to-follow story borderline incomprehensible.
Other gems include the author’s notes at the beginning of each chapter, which generally responds to the negative feedback the story originally got, and even tell a story of their own in which the author apparently gets into a fight with her friend (someone named Raven), which results in a character in the story made to represent said friend getting expelled and murdered. However, Tara apparently makes up with Raven and her character is brought back into the story. Unfortunately, ‘My Immortal’ ultimately ends on a cliffhanger after Tara’s account apparently got hacked, with no proper conclusion ever coming to fruition.
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There’s been some debate on the Internet on whether or not the intent behind ‘My Immortal’ was legit or not. Personally, I feel that everything lines up too perfectly for the story to have been a genuine effort; the “Mary Sue” nature of the main character, the various gothic traits she embodies that come off as satirical, and even a lot of the spelling mistakes feel very much intentional (At one point, the character Tom Riddle is mistakenly referred to as “Tom Bombadil”). But if this story really is satire, then why am I talking about it? The general consensus behind “So Bad It’s Good” content is that it can never be made funny when done on purpose; unintentional comedy has to be just that: unintentional. However, I feel that ‘My Immortal’ is an exception to that notion. Everything about it is so ridiculous in a way that honestly doesn’t come across as trying too hard. The story is filled with genuinely funny lines and scenarios regardless of what the author’s original intention was.
Truth be told, I could just spend all day listing out my favorite moments from this story, but that wouldn’t make for a well-structured retrospective like this. And even then, this very article I’m writing barely does the actual story justice, as it’s something that really needs to be read to be believed. I haven’t even gotten into the numerous pointless clothing descriptions, the badly-written sex scenes, or the iconic line that Dumbledore introduces himself into the story with.
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Who Wrote This Story?
For such an infamous story, it’s worth pointing out just how little is known about the author herself. Whoever wrote ‘My Immortal’ has somehow managed to remain in complete anonymity since the story was first published, and to this day, nobody knows the true identity of Tara Gilesbe. There has naturally been some speculation, however. One potential lead was a YouTube channel active in the mid 2ooo’s called xXblo0dyxkissxX, which featured videos made by a pair of teenage goth girls named Tara and Raven. However, it turned out they were not the same pair of friends involved in ‘My Immortal’, even claiming that they never even knew of the story when they were making videos. In 2017, an author named Rose Christo claimed she was the author of the story, and that it was part of an attempt to track down her missing brother.
This situation is an entire can of worms on its own, and while it isn’t entirely out of the realm of possibility that she did write the story, nothing was ultimately proven. At the end of the day, however, I actually prefer not knowing who wrote ‘My Immortal’. The mystery surrounding the author only serves to make this already immensely entertaining story even more so. The Internet has forever been left to speculate on how this absurd fanfiction came into being, and I couldn’t be happier about being left in the dark.
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A Brief Word of Warning
While I’d love to recommend anyone reading this article to go seek out ‘My Immortal’ for themselves, I feel it necessary to state that it is not for everyone; on top of mature content like sex and swearing, the story touches on topics that some may find upsetting, such as rape, self-harm, and suicide. While it’s utterly impossible to take the story even remotely seriously, the inclusion of these topics makes it worth providing a warning to anybody who might be interested in checking this story out.
In short, ‘My Immortal’ is a one-of-a-kind story. Parodical works can be found all over the Internet, but this one succeeds in simply containing the perfect amount of absurdity to make revisiting it a genuine pleasure. Words like “goffik”, “sexily”, and “Dumblydore” will forever be etched into my brain, and I’ll likely never again be able to think about My Chemical Romance without cracking a smile. Regardless of who wrote it and what their intentions were, this fanfiction remains both one of the funniest and most quotable ever written, an honor that I am more than happy to bestow upon it.
By Austin Oguri
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Austin Oguri is a screenwriter and has deep appreciation for the art of film in general, he aims to offer unique perspectives through his film reviews and feature articles. He also has a soft spot for lesser-known works, and enjoys spotlighting them whenever he can. Austin has always found it necessary for people to encourage and bring out the best in each other, and as a writer at The Hollywood Insider, he can combine that ideology with his ability to think outside the box and truly express his love for the arts in the best ways possible.