By Daley Wilhelm
Hi my name is Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way and I have long ebony black hair (that’s how I got myname) 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!).
So reads the first sentence of the infamous fanfiction that launched a thousand memes. My Immortal still stands as a strange pillar in the Harry Potter fandom. For those unfamiliar or unwilling to subject themselves to poor grammar, spelling, and goffickness My Immortal was penned between 2006 and 2007 by Tara Gilesbie, otherwise known as XXXbloodyrists666XXX on FanFiction.net. The muddled, error-ridden 44-chapter epic centers around Ebony, a vampire and witch at Hogwarts and her adventures at punk concerts, trists in the Forbidden Forest, and love triangles with goth-ified, vampiric versions of the main Harry Potter cast.
The author’s true identity has been a subject of debate for years. No one can quite tell whether or not something so bad could be written earnestly. It’s been inconclusive whether or not My Immortal was meant as a troll work or if it really was the writings of a preteen in the midst of her emo phase.
Whether a real person or not, Gilesbie has lived in infamy for her writing. Recently, something so scandalous occurred that she felt she needed to reappear in order to clear her name.
That scandal is the shady dealings behind the out-of-nowhere “hit” Handbook for Mortals. The young adult novel book, published by GeekNation, appears to have scammed its way to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. Twitter detective and writer Phil Stamper sensed something fishy going on when the book, complete with confirmed movie deal, suddenly unseated The Hate U Give seemingly without having sold a single physical copy.
I find it… strange that a mediocre website can decide it wants to be a publisher, and one month later hit #1 on the NYT Bestsellers list. pic.twitter.com/RS1UoWl6H4
— Phil Stamper (@stampepk) August 24, 2017
The author Lani Sarem has expressed frustration over the conundrum, while the New York Times amended the list under this scrutiny. It should be noted, however, that she is still slated to star in the movie.
Even as the attention on Handbook for Mortals died down, some Twitter users who finally got their hands on the book noticed something… familiar about the writing style.
tell me i'm wrong pic.twitter.com/4cybaBWoVw
— Preeti Chhibber (@runwithskizzers) August 24, 2017
Long-winded physical descriptions, the insistence of the main character’s inability to follow the status quo, and cheeky mentions of how “people tell me I’m pretty all the time.” Handbook, it’s premise focusing around a real-live witch in a Las Vegas magic act caught up in a brooding love triangle, sounded as if it could have been penned from the same hand. But it wasn’t.
Earlier last month, Gilesbie reappeared via her FictionPress account, giving a brief thank you for the support of My Immortal after all this time. (Always.) More recently, she logged back on to give her opinion on the Handbook for Mortals debacle.
And the third reason I updated, and possibly the silliest: Ugh…Lani Sarem. I am a massive fan of The Hate U Give, which I consider an incredibly important literary work. Sarem trying to scam it out of its spot on the NYT literary list left me feeling sick to my stomach. When I received a couple of messages here asking me if I was Sarem, even though they were probably in jest, I felt a kneejerk reaction to shoot them down. Authors work really fricking hard to get their stories told. Sarem breezing through the process wasn’t just an insult to Angie Thomas and the political climate that necessitated her work. It was an insult to the kind women I’m privileged to work with.
So, that’s it. It doesn’t seem like there’s anything more I can say on the topic. Not right now.
Love one another and help one another. We can’t navigate this world without each other.
P.S. – Undyne is my wife, HAHAHA, SUCK IT HATERS.
Whether or not this will lead to her creating more fanfiction, one thing is clear: her spelling has improved.
Daley is a Telecommunications (Video Production) major who also minors in Japanese. Through Byte she does graphic design, video editing, podcast hosting, visual effects, and most importantly writing. Daley does this through the scope of examining the impact pop culture has on our everyday lives.