Little information is known about Tara aside from what she mentioned in her author's notes.
Background[edit | edit source]
As stated, Tara Gilesbie wrote My Immortal under the profile name XXXbloodyrists666XXX on fanfiction.net. Like any young writer, she shares many of the same traits of the primary "protagonist" of her story, Ebony (also known as Enoby, Egogy, Enobby, Ebomby, Evony, Ibiny, Ebpony, Eboby or Enony), but excluding the vampirism and magical powers. But she still labels and distinguishes herself as a "goff", wrist cutter, Satanist, lover of Hot Topic and various mainstream punk/emo/goth/alternative genre bands, etc.
Tara is supposedly from Dubai, a principality part of the United Arab Emirates (another fact about Tara that raises giant question marks). According to what initially appeared to be Raven and Tara's combined myspace page they were from New Haven, Connecticut, but it was later discovered that this page was started by a pair of sisters who had never even heard of My Immortal. Before writing My Immortal, she also shared that the band Good Charlotte made a great impact on her life. Apparently, their song titled "Hold On" convinced her not to commit suicide after a recent breakup from her boyfriend Crys.
Tara began writing My Immortal circa 2006. She updated the story on a regular basis, but there were often large gaps between updates as she claimed that the flames of the reviewers caused her to "slit muh rists" and she had to go to the hospital for recovery. There were other moments when she went on extended vacations or was just too "bizzy". She made one last update in mid-2007 before going on a trip to England. She never made any further updates to My Immortal, leading her baffled readers to reach the logical conclusion that she had shed her overexaggerated gothic persona. Perhaps the reason she never finished the fanfiction was because she simply forgot. In fact, she could well have been lying about cutting her wrists to make an excuse for forgetting to update the story.
Writing Style[edit | edit source]
As any reader/reviewer of My Immortal would tell you, Tara Gilesbie possesses a very distinct writing style, much of which probably reflects her personality. For instance, she has a habit of writing as if she were sending text messages (it gets so bad that it gets increasingly harder for the reader to decipher her words as the story continues). At least the first fifteen chapters were readable because they were edited by Raven. She also bombards the chapters with a series of author's notes, all of which tell the "prepz and posr[s]" to stop flaming her work. Or some would be in direct response to particular criticisms she received from reviewers about her spelling, OOC (out of character) depictions of characters, etc. She would also usually threaten to slit her wrists for each bad review or threaten to not update the fanfic unless she got a certain number of good reviews. An example of which includes:
"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!"
As mentioned, her writing is very distinctive to her personality. She is under the mindset that the world is separated into three distinct groups: Preps (people like Hilary Duff, people who wear or decorate with the color pink, and everyone Tara dislikes and tells to 'fuk off'), posers (people like Avril Lavigne, the character Albert Dumblydore, or basically people who try to be goth) and finally goths. She also goes into great length of describing her characters' clothes for several paragraphs (in My Immortal's defense, these in-depth descriptions are probably the only thing written somewhat coherently). She also has no problem of constantly reminding her readers of her love for various bands such as My Chemical Romance, Good Charlotte and/or Evanescence. But what's most distinctive is Tara's fondness for ignoring canon. To put it simply, she takes some of the more primary characters from the Harry Potter series and turns them into almost always bisexual vampire-goths who constantly wear black, worship Satan, are depressed, suicidal, and are transferred into Slytherin.
Despite her hatred of posers, Tara has some strange ideas as to what is considered Gothic, such as eating Count Chocula cereal, and watching The Nightmare before Christmas and Corpse Bride (movies which, though full of Gothic imagery, are not very depressing and are rather kid-friendly.) In addition, she shops at the mass market store Hot Topic, which many Goths consider to be too mainstream, and with the exception of Marilyn Manson most of the music acts she mentions are usually considered emo, punk, or rock rather than Goth.
One more side note of Tara's writing style is her habit of experimenting with the English language and other languages as well (primarily Japanese). Although she overtly states that she has an interest in Japanese (she has many characters spouting random Japanese phrases in the story such as "kawaii"), Tara, unfortunately, proves that she has grasped very little of either language. She loves to experiment with adverbs in particular. Some of which include "sexily", "suicidally" and "gothically". In Tara's defense, all of these words are in fact actual adverbs of "sex", "suicide" and "goth", but these adverbs are frequently misspelled. Another idiosyncrasy of Tara's writing is her use of the phrase "all [adjective]" to describe an action (the use of "all sensitive" is a common example). She also inexplicably changes the spelling of some peoples' names and changes their personalities frequently. Despite claiming to hate anything lighthearted, she tends to make puns around words related to death, vampires, or Satan, followed by an explanation of the pun (e.g. "Special fangs-- get it? 'Cause I'm gothic".)
However, it can be inferred that either she or Raven has read The Fellowship of the Ring due to the name "Tom Satan Bombodil", which could be a twisted and misspelled version of "Tom Bombadil", from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien.
Troll Controversy[edit | edit source]
One of the world's most frequently asked questions and greatest mysteries: Is Tara Gilesbie trolling? This would make the greatest sense for the explanation of My Immortal because as many would say, "My Immortal is just too bad to be true!". However, many other things would have to be taken into account if Tara Gilesbie was in fact just a young, teenage fan-girl who was given access to the internet.
First, to support the troll theory, one must look at Tara's origins. She supposedly lives (or lived) in Dubai. As previously stated, Dubai is an emirate of the United Arab Emirates. Tara also loves Hot Topic. So unless she or her friends or family are fabulously wealthy, it would be nearly impossible for her to take weekly trips to the States or any other country that has a Hot Topic so she could purchase her goods. Additionally, the United Arab Emirates is a predominantly Muslim nation, and is located in the Middle East, where such attitudes towards Satanism, witchcraft, etc. are seen as acts of blasphemy. In addition, discrediting the theory that she actually lives in Dubai even further, she says in an author's note: "...oh yah btw ill be in vacation in transilvania 4 da nex 3 dayz so dnot expect updatz." In another author's note, she describes how "transilvania rox hrad". She says that she got to see the castle where 'Dracula' was filmed. However, 'Dracula', though set in Transylvania and England, was filmed only in England and California, USA. Admittedly, this could be referring to Bran Castle which is believed to have been Bram Stoker's inspiration for Dracula Castle (which Tara confused for being where Dracula was filmed), or Tara could have been lying about the trip to Transylvania. In addition, she once referred to:
"omfg im leeving dubya pretty soon kant wait!!!"
However, all of this can be misleading. When Tara says, "dubya" she could be referring to two things. The word dubya is in fact a slang term for the Southern American pronunciation of the letter "W". It is also used to flame and mock former United States president, George W. Bush, by pronouncing his middle initial as "dubya". Dubya also refers to an American organization called Dubya USA. It is based in California and it sells various motocross and wheeling goods. What makes all of this mysterious is that Tara may have misspelled Dubai as "dubya" or she could be implying that she is in fact an American (and is leaving the president or the organization). Or, obviously, if she is not a troll, she's living somewhere in America but pretends to live in Dubai, or she is so terrible at spelling that she misspells her American hometown as "dubya." It is also possible that she is an American whose family traveled to Dubai on business and she had to come with them, which would explain both her eagerness to leave and her family having the means to travel to Transylvania.
The mention of "Tom Bombodil" as Voldemort's real name also suggests that Tara is a troll, as the name is based on the character Tom Bombadil from The Lord of the Rings. Given that The Lord of the Rings is scarcely Goth material even by Tara's loose definition of Gothic, and Tom Bombadil only appeared in the book version of The Lord of the Rings (and Tara is not a big reader as evidenced by her claiming not to have read the entire Harry Potter series and her poor spelling), it is hard to explain how Tara would've known about him, whereas if Tara was a troll this could've easily been a cheeky reference.
Furthermore, My Immortal itself, for a lack of a better explanation, does too many things wrong to be written completely seriously. It reads like a list of things a troll writer would do: frequently misspell words in an almost organized manner, text chatting, random/unexplained sex scenes, etc.
On the other hand, to negate the troll theory, one must take into the account of the many things that are a part of My Immortal. The trolling author would have to create the personality of Tara Gilesbie, manage her many accounts (she has had other accounts besides the one that is now deleted from fanfiction.net), and her password(s), and not to mention take the time and dedication to write the forty-four chapter long story itself.
Besides Tara Gilesbie, the troll author would also have to remember the persona of Raven, Tara Gilesbie's friend. As in Tara's case, the troll would have to manage Raven's account(s), password(s), and write her stories, unless there was a second troll involved. Raven's stories would have to coincide with Tara's stories, because they had a falling out. Both writers have chapters in their fan fictions in which they both wrote (or killed) off the avatars in their stories based off the other writer's personalities and vice-versa. Also, Raven's account and her first story were created before Tara had even started her account, meaning that the troll author would have had to have come up with the idea of Tara (since she is mentioned in the first chapter of I'm Not Okay) while writing a different story in a different style in order to pull off the trolling.
This would be a lot, even for a troll. And if Tara was a troll, she could easily be a very determined and persistent troll to manage those two accounts. Or it could have been a well organized group of people who decided to put My Immortal together. The possibilities are endless.
For unknown reasons, many people have come forward and claimed themselves to have written and/or co-written My Immortal. Some have taken it further by stating that they are or created the persona of Tara Gilesbie and admitted that they were trolling and writing the stories for laughs. Some have even gone to disturbingly great extremes to claim that they not only were Tara, but were continuing the legacy of My Immortal by writing new stories similar to the fashion of the original story by posting such stories on fanfiction.net (although some have subsequently been deleted). Whether these people are lying or telling the truth is another mystery, because anyone could have easily created an account and claimed My Immortal as their own. The fact that some of these people have decided to come forward after all these years between now and 2007 is suspicious enough, but it is all up for debate and up to the reader/reviewer to determine the authenticity of the story in their own mind. This is what makes My Immortal one of the most mysterious pieces of work the internet has ever seen.
Forbiden Fruit: The Tempation of Edward Cullen[edit | edit source]
It has often been speculated that Tara was also the author of the notorious badfic Forbiden Fruit: The Tempation of Edward Cullen. This Twilight fanfiction, notable as one of the few works that makes the original series look well written, was published by an author going by the name of BeckyMack666. Her full profile shows a very similar array of tastes to Tara, including a love of MCR. Furthermore, a close analysis of the text reveals a great deal of similarities with My Immortal. Both feature female OC gothic vampires with absurdly long names; compare Ebony Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way with Atlantiana Rebekah Loren, who both cry tears of blood and wear gothic clothing described in ridiculous amounts of detail. Unusual euphemisms are used to describe the male genitalia, like "man-carrot" and "throbbing lavender man-fruit thing" which appear very similar to the original "boy's thingy" and the complex conflict between goths and preps is explored. Most damningly, a specific line of Forbiden Fruit seems to be directly referencing Tara's original work. In Chapter 7, a highly out-of-character Bella Swan storms in and catches the protagonist, Atlantiana performing fellatio on Edward Callan as she screams, "WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR DOING YOU EVIL RODENT PEOPLE?!!!!!", followed by the line "It was Bella Swan!!" It does seem to clearly hearken back the infamous chapter in My Immortal in which the character, Albert Dumblydore catches Ebony and Draco having sex in the Forbidden Forest.
There is therefore a case to be made that both works share the same author, especially since Tara had indeed stated that she had moved onto the Twilight fandom. However it is also highly possible that Forbiden Fruit is the work of a troll heavily inspired by My Immortal, or that it is simply by coincidence that the two works resemble each other so much.
Indeed, both works differ radically in two main aspects in the presentation of the main character, tone and language. Tara's writing essentially depicts Ebony as a self-important character that does whatever she likes, while BeckyMack666 writes Atlantiana as more of a self-justifying character, constantly and consistently trying to make herself the "good guy" (regardless of her actual behaviour). Likewise, Tara depicts sex in an IKEA-like manner, while BeckyMack666 gets a lot more graphic, and lets her character be raped to score pity points, something Tara would never do. Finally, although both stories are extremely random, Forbiden Fruit is more willing to be extravagant, creating such characters as Snoofles the talking panda, when nothing of the sort is seen in My Immortal.