Harry Potter fans love a good mystery, and one of the biggest in the fandom has finally been answered.
Update (October 4, 2017): The publication of Under the Same Stars: The Search for My Brother and the True Story of ‘My Immortal’ has been canceled after My Immortal author Rose Christo revealed that she had faked her family members’ names on documents given to the publisher in order to protect their identities.
“I did something pretty stupid during the publication process. I didn’t want my family’s real names getting out, largely because some of the things that happened during childhood were embarrassing,” she wrote on Tumblr on Tuesday. “I wanted my brother, my grandparents, and even my parents to have privacy. So when it came time to provide documentation, I altered the photocopies to disguise their names.”
“To be clear, I still own the original, unaltered documents and can provide them on request. But I’ve already been branded a liar, so it’s too late for that.” Her full Tumblr statement is below:
Original story (September 7, 2017): A 2006 fan-fiction called My Immortal, following Harry Potter characters at Hogwarts and a new vampire student named WHAT, went viral on the internet over a decade ago after it was posted on FanFiction.net and received attention for its ridiculous writing (see Dumbledore quote above). Adding to the appeal, the identity of the author has always been a mystery — she was only known under the names XXXbloodyrists666XXX / Tara Gilesbie.
She never revealed her real identity. Until now.
Her real name is Rose Christo and she’s publishing a memoir next year called Under the Same Stars: The Search for My Brother and the True Story of ‘My Immortal’. BuzzFeed got to unveil the news Thursday morning.
Lo and behold, Rose actually has a special story to tell: She co-wrote My Immortal while in the New York foster system, during which time she was searching for her brother. Her memoir will be published by Macmillan Publishers, who vetted her to make sure her story is legit. Below is the book’s official synopsis:
In the early 2000s, Rose Christo was separated from her five-year-old brother and shuttled between foster homes in Brooklyn to the Bronx and back again. Desperate to be reunited with her sibling, she traveled the five boroughs, unable to find any trace of him, as New York State’s child care agencies failed to help her time and again.
Then, with the help of one beloved foster sister, Rose created an infamous piece of Harry Potter fanfiction titled “My Immortal,” posting it online under the pseudonym XXXbloodyrists666XXX. The “forty-four chapters and 22,000 words of hysterical, typo-laden hyperbole” went viral as the most notoriously terrible fanfic ever read by the community. For years, fans, writers, and editors researched, debated, and contested the story’s origin and its mysterious author: Was this grammatically-challenged rant actually written by a suicidal goth teenager named Tara Gilesbe living in Dubai, or was this a hoax perpetrated by a group of professional authors making fun of fanfiction?
The truth is a gripping, compelling, and surprisingly funny story of how a young girl infiltrated and used the fan fiction community to search for her brother by baiting their attention with a deliberately badly written tale, creating a 10-year mystery that garnered pop culture media attention and remained unsolved — until now.
The book sounds great and we look forward to reading it next year. In the meantime, now’s probably a good time to read (or re-read) My Immortal.