A Mary Sue is an idealized fictional character representing the author. While many characters throughout literary history have been based off their authors, or are semi-autobiographical, a Mary Sue takes things much further. They are effectively the author's personality inserted into the canon world the fanfic is based on, and are typically perfect, well-liked, have their pick of romantic partners, and can do no wrong (regardless of what it is they actually do). More often than not, they become relied upon by other characters to save whatever dire situation they have become involved in.
It's worth to note that the definition of "Mary Sue" is highly variable and sometimes an empty accusation against characters a person doesn't like. However, in this case it's very justifiable, as Ebony Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way was all but explicitly deliberately designed as a Mary Sue.
Origin and Variants
The term "Mary Sue" actually goes all the way back to the 1970's, when fanfictions were starting to become popular, and were at the time mostly written by women. There was a Star Trek fanzine edited by Paula Smith, who one day wrote a story entitled "A Trekkie's Tale." The storyline centered around a girl named Mary Sue, who happened to be young, beautiful, and overqualified for her position with impressive skills well beyond her years. She had a relationship with Kirk and Spock, then temporarily led the Enterprise to successfully save it from some great difficulty. Paula Smith wrote "A Trekkie's Tale" to poke fun at a common trend existent in fanfics even back then: an author would often insert themselves into the story with a near perfect character. With the advent of the internet and the rise of fanfics posted online, the term became even more popular for these types of characters.
The male equivalent of such a character is sometimes called a "Gary Stu." In contrast to Mary Sues, Gary Stus tend to focus on being the wacky, edgy, "cool" character whose often immature antics are supposed to be considered humorous by the reader, when in actuality most people would consider him a sad manchild. Like Mary Sues, Gary Stus tend to have an overly high sex appeal to other characters, even if no woman in their right minds would ever adore such a man. An infamous example of a Gary Stu is Christian Weston Chandler's self-insert in his Sonichu comic.
Sometimes a fanfic author, for fear of writing a Mary Sue, will create what is known as an "Anti-Sue." This is a character who, though being a self-insert, is bad at everything, and is seen as stupid or repulsive. The problem is that such a character is still a Mary Sue, since they are still talked about and focused on by all the other characters, and their characteristics are taken to a harsh extreme. It also calls into question why other characters choose to remain around the person, or rely on the person so much, if their traits are that bad.
A lighter variant of the "Anti-Sue" is what one might call a "Perplexed Mary Sue." This is when an author, perhaps hoping to divert from the fact her character is a Mary Sue, will have the self-insert act shocked and even annoyed when other characters praise her and think highly of her. An example of this is Atlantiana Rebekah Loren, the Mary Sue of Forbidden Fruit: The Temptation of Edward Cullen; she is described as perfect and beautiful, is loved by all save the antagonists, and yet acts surprised whenever she receives praise. The problem with this tactic is that a Mary Sue is a Mary Sue, regardless of how the Mary Sue might perceive herself.
In My Immortal
- She is portrayed as an irresistible character who becomes the object of affection for several male characters: Draco falls in love with her; Vampire falls in love with her; Snap and Loopin become infatuated with her (even if in a perverted sense); Hargrid admits his love for her; and even Snaketail admits his love for her (in the midst of a fight, for absolutely no conceivable reason). Ebony even laments to Draco, "Why can’t I just be ugly or plain like all da other girls and preps here", "Why couldn't Satan have made me less beautiful?", and "I'm good at too many things! Why can't I just be normal? IT'S A FUCKING CURSE!"
- Large groups of people seem to inexplicably approve whatever Tara does. For example, everyone applauds when Draco and Tara make up because of "how sexy we looked 2gether." An even stranger example is found when Tara kills a prep who dared to ask her and Satan to leave a movie theater after having public sex. Instead of reporting the murder to the police, or screaming at the revelation of a vampire among them, the entire audience applauds.
- Of all the people at Hogwarts - Dumblydore and Harry Potter included - the only character capable of defeating Voldemort is said to be Ebony. When the time travel plotline is introduced, it is portrayed that Ebony is the only character capable of going back in time and seducing Voldemort in his school days.
Tara Gilesbie denies many times throughout the story that Ebony is a Mary Sue, even as early as the fourth chapter, suggesting that readers near the beginning of the fanfic's creation were already accusing Ebony of being such a character. However, Tara seems unable to understand what a Mary Sue is: at one point, she seems to think Mary Sue is supposed to be the character's name; at another point, she thinks a Mary Sue is supposed to be a socially accepted character, and Ebony cannot be one as she's a Satanist. She even demands the flamers stop calling Ebony a Mary Sue because they don't even know what's going to happen, as if future chapters would somehow make up for her past Sue behavior.
In any case, there are several clues throughout the story that Ebony is indeed a Mary Sue character meant to represent her author. At times, the line between reality and representation is thin, as is seen with the murder of Willow, a character based around Tara's friend Raven ("AN: Raven dis is u!"), after Tara becomes displeased with her. It doesn't help that Tara and Ebony seem to share some common traits:
- Both are goths.
- Both have a passionate dislike for preps and posers.
- Both think homosexual and bisexual guys are hot.
- Both are infatuated with MCR and similar bands/singers.
- Both enjoy the same 'goth' movies, like The Corpse Bride, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Saw, The Ring and The Grudge.
- Both think Draco Malfoy is ridiculously hot.
- Both regularly slit their wrists and talk of suicide.
- Both have an irrational hatred for critics or anyone who disagrees with them in general, and show unnecessary aggressiveness.
There are also times where it seems Tara accidentally slipped her name in for Ebony: Ebony introduces herself at one point as "ebondy dark’ness dementia TARA way (This may have been deliberate, however, as Tara had fallen out with Raven and wanted to remove the middle name based on her)"; Professor Sinatra refers to Ebony as "Tara"; Vampire calls Ebony "Tata", a clear misspelling of "Tara"; and in one scene characters cry out to Ebony "Good luck Tara!" Perhaps most notably is the instance in Chapter 33 in which Draco refers to Ebony as "TaEbony", demonstrating that the author began typing her name before remembering she's writing about a self-insert, rather than herself. These clear Freudian slips reveal beyond a doubt (as if there was any) that Ebony is indeed a Mary Sue.
- ↑ http://badwebcomicswiki.shoutwiki.com/wiki/The_Mary-Sue_Character#Definition_and_Origin
- ↑ http://badwebcomicswiki.shoutwiki.com/wiki/The_Mary-Sue_Character#The_Male_Mary-Sue_.28aka_Gary-Stu.29
- ↑ http://sonichu.com/cwcki/Christian_Weston_Chandler_(comic_character)
- ↑ http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/FanFic/ForbidenFruitTheTempationOfEdwardCullen
- ↑ Chapter 14
- ↑ Chapter 15
- ↑ Chapter 38
- ↑ Chapter 22
- ↑ Chapter 27
- ↑ Chapter 4
- ↑ Chapter 7
- ↑ Chapter 2
- ↑ Chapter 16
- ↑ Chapter 27
- ↑ Chapter 37
- ↑ Chapter 42
- ↑ Chapter 39