My Immortal (Harry Potter story)
|Date(s):||2006 - 2007|
|Length:||~23,000 words; 44 chapters|
|External Links:||Full story at the My Immortal Wiki|
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My Immortal is a Harry Potter fanfic that gained notoriety as the quintessential badfic. It is believed by many to have been poorly written as an intentional crackfic/parody of amateur fanfiction, Mary Sues, Harry Potter fandom, and the Mall Goth/emo trend of the early 2000s. However, the true meaning and intentions of the work are speculation without confirmation from the author. My Immortal was originally published on FanFiction.Net by a fanwriter using the name Tara Gilesbie; the actual identity of the fan behind this pseud has inspired much speculation, encouraged by people periodically coming forward to claim authorship of this work.
Written in the presumed style of beginning amateur authors who try to pile everything on at once, it is the story of Ebony Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way, a vampire who attends Harry Potter's Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Whether it is deliberate badfic or not is hotly contested. It is perhaps the single most famous work of fanfiction in the world.
My Immortal possibly lampoons everything from Harry Potter to Twilight and the many pre-teen and teenage fangirls who attempt to write fan fiction without really understanding yet how to construct a plot or develop characters, let alone use proper spelling and punctuation.
It is also a sendup of the Mary Sue concept as well as a self-insertion fic. The author makes no pretense that she herself is not Ebony Way (whose name is misspelled several different ways in the story). She is assisted by a friend whose handle is bloodytearz666. In between chapters, the author rails at the "preps" who have written in to criticize her narrative. At one point the tale is interrupted by a supposed hacker who writes a chapter killing off Ebony and returning all the canon characters to normal (see Protectors of the Plot Continuum).
The work was removed from FFnet for unknown reasons in 2008. Some of the people claiming authorship explained that this was either due to their account being hacked or because they deleted the work themselves. There was an unsuccessful petition to put it back up, which received 2650 signatures. The fanfiction was available at the My Immortal rehost site, and is currently hosted at the My Immortal Wiki. However the reviews (comments) on this fic, which readers recall numbering in the thousands, were lost with the deletion of this work from fanfiction.net.[note 1]
The story follows Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way (frequently referred to as "Enoby"), and original character who is a 17-year old witch, vampire, and Goth (also known as "goff" or "goffic" in the story) who attends Hogwarts.
Ebony forms a romantic attachment to Draco Malfoy (an elegant Goth in the story), in spite of her concern that he has had a relationship with Vampire Potter and may still be interested in him. Voldemort, claiming to know of Ebony's relationship with Draco through "telekinesis", commands her to kill Harry. Various people including Hagrid and someone called Snaketail confess that they love Ebony, while Snape and Remus are "pedofiles" who take pictures of her. Ebony begins to have precognitive visions, which are later verified. Professor Sinister tells Ebony that if Voldemort had ever had people who loved him he would not have become evil, so Ebony's task is to go back in time and seduce him.
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!). [[I’m not related to Gerard Way but I wish I was because he’s a major fucking hottie. I’m a vampire but my teeth are straight and white. I have pale white skin. I’m also a witch, and I go to a magic school called Hogwarts in England where I’m in the seventh year (I’m seventeen). I’m a goth (in case you couldn’t tell) and I wear mostly black. I love Hot Topic and I buy all my clothes from there. 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. I was walking outside Hogwarts. It was snowing and raining so there was no sun, which I was very happy about. A lot of preps stared at me. I put up my middle finger at them.
“Hey Ebony!” shouted a voice. I looked up. It was…. Draco Malfoy!
“What’s up Draco?” I asked.
“Nothing.” he said shyly.
But then, I heard my friends call me and I had to go away.
AN: IS it good? PLZ tell me fangz!The full first chapter of My Immortal
My Immortal is known for its abundance of poor grammar and spelling, exemplified by even the main character's name being frequently misspelled. There is also wide, seemingly random variation in the errors and lack of them, as well as errors that are obvious and extreme to the point of hilarity; this contributes to the speculation that the poor quality of the work is intentional.
Characters from the Harry Potter series who appear in My Immortal frequently bear little resemblance to canon or are referred to by incorrect names, such as "Albert Dumblydore," "Serious Blak," or "Snaketail" instead of "Wormtail." It is unclear if the characters are OOC because the logic of the entire story is strange, or if the author genuinely has a poor grasp of HP canon. Readers often refer to the characters by their My Immortal misnomers while discussing the fic, acknowledging that they are twisted into almost new characters. The My Immortal Wiki titles characters' pages based on their common in-fic name.
The work often includes long, detailed descriptions of outfits, usually Ebony's, which are invariably goth/emo/scene in style.
There are references throughout the work to various other fandoms and popular media. The most obvious include emo music such as Evanescence and My Chemical Romance; the work's title comes from the song "My Immortal" by Evanescence and Ebony's surname comes from Gerard Way. There are references to popular vampire media such as Twilight and Buffy The Vampire Slayer. There are also more obscure references that are a subject of interest; as the My Immortal Wiki puts it, there are "a very large amount of textual and story elements that might be references to works that a mentally stunted twelve year old girl presumably wouldn't show interest in. These range from complex literature to extremely obscure movies and media factoids." These include Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and more.
It's fair to say My Immortal was received negatively. There were a variety of reasons for this, including poor spelling and grammar, and an incomprehensible storyline. However this badfic became the defining badfic, in part because a lot of the drama and appeal of My Immortal was taking place outside the story. At one point the tale is interrupted by a supposed hacker who writes a chapter killing off Ebony and returning all the canon characters to normal (see Protectors of the Plot Continuum). The earliest fan debates and theories began in the comments section of the fic itself, and there was also discussions on boards as the fic was been written.My Immortal has inspired huge amounts of fan activity. It was well known in fandom spaces before articles about the fanfic appeared on several non-fandom news websites in late July 2013, following the announcement of a Youtube web series adaptation. According to The Daily Dot,
No one can truly hold the illustrious title of “worst fanfic on the internet”, but “My Immortal” (named after the Evanescence song, because of course) is surely a strong contender.
Several (presumably) unauthorized print versions have been offered from time to time. Dramatic readings can also be found on Youtube: My Immortal has also been translated into several different languages, a spectacular accomplishment as many do not believe the original text was written in English. There were also attempts at English translations. These differ from sites and users reposting the story in its original form. One such English translation corrected the spelling and grammar, and removed the unofficial Chapter 39 which was believed to be the work of a hacker.(This chapter was only excluded because it already had perfect spelling and grammar.)
My Immortal has inspired fanart, photo manips and fan comics. In 2010, the My Immortal Wiki was created, and currently hosts >300 files that include many examples of fanart and photo manips inspired by this work. Several fanfictions imitating the style and tone of My Immortal have also been written in multiple fandoms. Some of them can be found on the My Immortal AU tag on Ao3. My Immortal's title character Ebony has also been the subject of cosplay. 
The only Harry Potter author I respect is Tara Gilesbie
There has long be speculation about the identity of Tara Gilesbie, and whether or not she is the young teen girl she presents herself as. This speculation is related to the theory that My Immortal is an intentional badfic and parody - these questions cannot be definitively answered without the author's word.
Several people have come forward to claim authorship of My Immortal, or have been speculated to be Tara. Prominent suspects have been the AcidBath Sisters, Rose Christo, and xxxmidnightgoffxxx (aka Tod/Toby/thebratman). No one has definitively proven that they are Tara. In fact, the AcidBath Sisters and xxxmidnightgoffxxx eventually came forward to say they are not Tara Gilesbie and did not write My Immortal.
The identity of My Immortal's author is still in dispute/unknown.
- See Tara Gilesbie for more information.
There are multiple questions about this fic and its author that remain unanswered. Fans still debate the intentions of the author, and fan communities often see renewed activity when people come forward claiming to be Tara Gilesbie. In fact, the fake Taras are often fans of the fic who were reading as it was been posted and are able to provide new information to this community. Rose Christo's claims of authorship were built on obscure details much of the fandom had overlooked. After admitting they were not Tara, xxxmidnightgoffxxx shared his observations of Tara's unique writing style with fans at r/MyImmortalDrama.
It is unlikely that these questions will ever be answered, but within the fandom theorizing about the fic and its author remains a common fan activity. There are three main theories that fans ascribe to:
- Theory One: My Immortal was a genuine fic written by a young and inexperienced fanfiction writer
- Fans of this theory point to Tara's fannish activity prior to posting My Immortal, and believe the fic's style is consistent with young emo/goth fic writers.
- Theory Two: My Immortal was an intentional badfic or troll fic.
- Fans of this theory point to exaggerated and unbelievable inconsistencies in Tara's spelling. They also suspect the story was not hacked, and Tara was the author of the hacker's Chapter 39. Fans of this theory may also believe that Raven, Tara's friend/co-author/beta, was a sock used by Tara.
- Theory Three: My Immortal began as a genuine fic but after a massive negative reaction, the author began to troll her readers
- This theory allows for Tara and Raven to be genuine young fic writers, and My Immortal's deteriorating spelling and increasingly incomprehensible story may have been an intentional troll of the fics' critics. Some people who ascribe to this theory suspect Tara wrote the hacked Chapter 39. While others wonder if a young internet user may have had an easy to guess password!
The question of who deleted My Immortal ties into these theories. If a fan believes that the fic was intended as a troll fic, then the only possibilities are either Tara deleted the fic or it was deleted by FFnet. Some fans who believe the fic was hacked, wonder if another hacker was responsible for deleting the fic.
CommentsA fan, xXMidnightEssenceXx, posted the story to FanFiction.Net in March 2011, and included this introduction:
Obviously I did not write this, it was published on this site 5 years ago, then removed. There are probably other copies of this on FanFiction as well as other sites, but I though I'd post it anyway. Those who remember My Immortal well should also remember the first few chapters (1-15) were co-written with 'Raven' hence they were spelt better etc but don't worry Raven leaves in chapter 16 (which is where her character Willow gets expelled from Hogwarts). However, she seems to return... The copy on here I'm pretty sure is the 100% original version of My Immortal with no edits at all outside those by Raven (which were in the original). This version will include the 'hacker' chapter 39 and the original chapter 39, and the possibly fake "My Immortal 2" if I can find it! 
Some examples of fans explaining the My Immortal phenomenon to those new to fandom, or unfamiliar with this story.
- I Googled it but still have no idea so for people who only started being in the fandom a few years ago what's up with My Immortal? And why is it read ironically/unironically?
Okay so here’s some fandom history for you.
So back in the mid nineties, when grunge was really taking off, there was a small resurgence of the old glam-goth style that had been really popular for a while in the eighties (via the Cure, David Bowie, Lost Boys etc). Between 1996-1999, it was this sort of taboo culture which got picked up by a couple of really popular bands (Marilyn Manson being the forefront, and a handful of bands that were one-hit wonders-Kitty for example, then bigger bands caught on, like Korn in the late nineties). It gave birth to the scene/emo culture where suddenly bands like Evanescence and My Chemical Romance began to rocket up the charts–based on both music and a particular style.
In about 2004, there were several young kids, between the ages of 12-15, who were pouring their hearts out into “song fic” which you would constantly see in author’s notes at the beginning of fic– “MCR inspired Drarry Song-fic” which usually had Harry taking his angst and rage out on some black eyeliner and the really barmy early internet slang, exploring bisexuality with fics using a lot of spit-lube and black lipstick, and homophobic Ron, and Father-Figure Snape, accompanied by mid-sentence author’s notes and song lyrics every other paragraph.
In I think it was 2006 or something–there was the birth of My Immortal, which was a fic that took all those early, scene-kid, emo tropes and bad slang and horrendous cliches–bad spelling, bad grammar, loads of goths v preps, and poured them into the masterpiece that was My Immortal.
The song-fic, scene-kid, emo group of people were all growing older and growing out of that early angst, so it’s hard to tell if this was just the last hurrah of these stories, or if it was someone who really wanted to troll the early fandom and take the piss by writing something so comically horrible, that it was an instant sensation. Like a fanfic B-movie–Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, but worse.It has been re-uploaded HERE, as well as turned into a Web Series HERE. But if you really want to do this to yourself, feel free to read it. If you want a real treat, see if you can search back on ffnet to the early 2000s, using the keywords Drarry, MCR, and Evanescence, and you’ll find some truly, unironic gems that was the horror of the early HP fandom. 
- I have seen that 'story' go around a lot and I still don't know what it is. WHAT is My Immortal??
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.[...] 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.
From Encyclopedia Dramatica:My Immortal is a notoriously bad Harry Potter (and also possible Back to the Future and Star Wars crossover) fanfiction that was published on Fanfiction.net in 2006 by someone under the name Tara Gilesbie. it’s a pretty blatant self-insert fic of a teenage girl living out her fantasy of being a sexy vampire who all the hot guys fight over and there’s time travel and it’s fucking batshit and the writing becomes more and more illegible as the story goes on and I love every part of it. it’s hilarious and a great insight into the mind of the author (regardless of whether Tara Gilesbie was actually a teenage girl who wrote the fic in seriousness, or if it was a parody and Tara is a character herself). many people have speculated over the years that it is a trollfic but I’ve always disagreed; the main reason people think this is because the genre has become so diluted with its own parodies of My Immortal that it seems to blend in with all the parodies and thus seems like a joke to the average person (see: this trope). it’s unlikely for My Immortal to be a parody because before My Immortal, there were no fanfics quite like it. bad fanfiction was an entirely different type of thing. also. every single person from age 10 to 18 I knew on the internet in 2006 wrote exactly like this. so I think My Immortal is genuine.
My Immortal is the most famous, notoriously bad fan fiction ever written. Based very loosely in the Harry Potter universe and featuring the blatant Mary-Sue protagonist Ebony (or often times "Enoby") Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way, it reads like a detailed list of everything a fanfic author could ever possibly do wrong, only taken to exaggerated, horrifying extremes. Written by super-tard Tara Gilesbie, My Immortal was originally posted to sometime in 2006, but was subsequently deleted by the staff after causing a severe drop in the site's collective IQ. In fact, the fanfic is so unbelievably bad that many refuse to accept that it's real, insisting that Tara was only trolling and that the story is really a parody. Regardless of the author's intent, My Immortal remains one of the most cringe-worthy, unintentionally hilarious, so-bad-it's-good pieces of literature the internets have ever shat out.
In recent years, the fic has also been viewed fondly, as a notable story from an earlier generation of fandom. It is often a source of fandom nostalgia and has even been called a fandom classic.
While the story was up I had seen some of the best comments in the world in the reviews. People were actually role playing the characters and leaving notes in the review section. There was a Lord Voldemort that was fucking hilarious, but the James was the best. Now, the fic has been taken down and we are thus left with the memory of it.
Whenever I see people quoting/referencing/parodying My Immortal it’s always one of the same four or five lines. You know the ones.
The iconic opening paragraph, “Hi my name is Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way and I have long ebony black hair… (et cetera).”
“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING YOU MOTHERFUKERS!”
“I MAY BE A HOGWARTS STUDENT… BUT I AM ALSO A SATANIST!”
“Then he put his thingie into my you-know-what and we did it for the first time.”
“And Loopin was masticating to it!”As great as those are, I’d like to throw a spotlight on what I think are some of the underappreciated parts of this classic work of fanfiction. [...]
My Immortal is an absolute treasure. From the bottom of my heart, I fucking love it. It has made me laugh so hard I was crying, like, a hundred times. I love it in the same way I grew to love the whole Twilight series. I reference "Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way" and say "goffick" like once a month. I was about 16/17 when I first found it around 2007/8 and it was one of my first experiences with "so bad, it's good!"
Related & Inspired
The Fan Creations of My Immortal is an infographic that gives a brief overview of the different types of fanworks inspired by My Immortal.
My Immortal AUs
Full blown AUs often take characters from other source materials and choose an existing character to be the Mary Sue/Ebony Way stand in. Not all of these works are set in Hogwarts, but almost all works follow the same style and tone as the original My Immortal.
- My Miraculous by nervoussurfer, It's a new year at Hogwarts, and Ebony Mari’nette Dementia Raven Dupain-Cheng Maé has come back to dominate one last time for her seventh year. A Miraculous Ladybug My Immortal AU. (2016)
The first paragraph of My Immortal has inspired many short related works written in a similar style. Many of these are parodies and some are also a meta commentary on the source material they parody.
- hi my name is Bruce Dark'ness Dementia Raven Wayne and I have lots of bruzes by Tumblr user sohotthateverybodydied (March 2018)
- What's your family name? an incorrect quote and photo manip that reimagines Rey as Ebony Darkness Dementia Raven Rey, by sylars (Dec 2019)
- On the names of Odin by Tumblr user edderkopper (September 2018)
- My Immortal Webcomic by ChazieBaka
- All the outfits of Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way by juliettecatherinedn
- In Defense of My Immortal: A Feminist Reading of a Fandom Classic, Archived version by Stoneage Woman (2016) (Ao3 link)
- Here's A Follow Up Post About My Immortal and Death of the Author by Stormingtheivorytower (2017)
- The Mystery Behind The World's Worst Fanfiction by Sarah Z, uploaded to YouTube on November 28th 2019 and The 'Author' of My Immortal Emailed Me, And Then It Got Worse by Sarah Z, uploaded to YouTube September 29th 2020
- Why Chapter 39 of My Immortal was due to an actual hacker (archived link) by Tumblr user myimmortalisimmortal (October 2020)
Communities & Links
- My Immortal at TV Tropes
- At Goodreads, where it has 437 comments/reviews
- My Immortal, Archived version discussion at MetaFilter, November 19, 2010
- The worst "Harry Potter" fanfic ever is now a hilarious webseries, Archived version The Daily Dot, July 29, 2013
- How the Worst Harry Potter Fan Fiction Ever Made Became a Live-Action Masterpiece, Archived version by Alexander Abad-Santos for The Atlantic Wire, July 29, 2013
- Enoby, Evony, Egogy, and Tara, Archived version discussion at MetaFilter, December 21, 2013
- The Bizarre, Unsolved Mystery of ‘My Immortal,’ the World’s Worst Fanfiction Story, Archived version, by Abraham Riesman, March 12, 2015
- Read if you dare about the worst Harry Potter fan fiction ever written, Archived version by Mike Vago, December 18, 2017
- I talked to Amy Lee of Evanescence about inspiring the world’s worst fanfiction, Archived version by Adi Robertson, July 20, 2020.
Notes & References
- A reader of the original fic on FFN, Kim, recalls "at least one post whose comments section contained more than 10,000 reviews". In The Bizarre, Unsolved Mystery of 'My Immortal,' the World’s Worst Fanfiction Story in Vulture, March 2015.
- Keep My Immortal Online, archvied link to the petition.
- List of possible references on My Immortal Wiki, retrieved October 2020
- Abraham Riesman, The Bizarre, Unsolved Mystery of 'My Immortal,' the World’s Worst Fanfiction Story in Vulture, March 2015.
- See The Atlantic Wire, Jul 29, 2013. See also Mediajunkie Studios - YouTube, Archived version
- Gavia Baker-Whitelaw. The worst "Harry Potter" fanfic ever is now a hilarious webseries. The Daily Dot. July 29, 2013
- My Immortal by Tara Gilesbie (Paperback) - Lulu, Archived version; My Immortal by Tara Gilesbie (Paperback) - Lulu, Archived version; My Immortal by Tara Gilesbie (Amazon), Archived version
- My Immortal Ch 1 - A Dramatic Reading - YouTube, Archived version; A Dramatic Reading: My Immortal by Tara Gilesbie. Chapter One. - YouTube, Archived version.
- An English Translation of My Immortal on Wattpad by audiodelta0206.
- comment by u/redcommodore, r/HobbyDrama post Goffick Harry Potter and Fabricated Child Abuse: The Saga of My Immortal, Sept 2019. I cosplayed as Enoby. Only one person recognized who I was (at least she was really enthusiastic)
- Tweet by @LitteOverheard, Dec 20 2019. Wow I can't believe Tara Gilesbie wrote the whole Hardy Potter series. Accessed July 8 2020
- Tweet thread by @ShartiTheClown, Dec 19 2019.I love the real author of Harry Potter, Tara Gilesbie. Iconic. Ebony Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way would never do me like this. Accessed July 8 2020.
- Tweet by @TheLastGherkin, June 30 2020.
- At Fanfiction.net. xXMidnightEssenceXx's repost of the story only includes the first 35 of the total 44 chapters.
- An anonymous ask, and an explanation at lala-loony-lupin.tumblr, Archived version April 27, 2016
- Extracts from a response to a Tumblr ask, Archived version by arsenic-colada, 2017. (accessed 22 June 2020)
- Extract from Tumblr reply to an anonymous asked, answered by rindeservedbetter-deactivated20, 2017.
- My Immortal by Tara Gilesbie UPDATED 1-01-10, excerpt from introductory note, posted by Livejournal user suedestroyer453, 2009.
- 2016-10-31 by fiddler-on-the-starship
- Comment by u/daisytits on r/HobbyDrama post Goffick Harry Potter and Fabricated Child Abuse: The Saga of My Immortal, Sept 2019./