Forks, WA. Population as of 2010: 3,532.1 Why is this small town now a tourist attraction? It is the setting of The Twilight Saga. In 2009, Cynthia Willis-Chun travelled there to immerse herself in the Twilight experience. She visited Forks, Port Angeles and the Quiluete Reservation.
In Port Angeles, she visited Bella Italia. Bella Italia is the restaurant where Edward and Bella had their first date.2 In Forks, she found that the tourist sites had to be policed which limited the visitor’s experience of immersing themselves in the series. For example, at the hospital, there is a parking space belonging to Dr. Cullen that fans can take pictures by. They cannot go into the hospital unless they have a medical emergency.
At the Quiluete Reservation, she met a Quiluete storyteller and was told that some members of the tribe were displeased with Meyer’s representation of the Quiluetes as shape-shifters who take the forms of wolves because it was felt that Native Americans were being portrayed as savages and animalistic. When Stephenie Meyer’s did the research on the legends of the tribe, she took artistic license over the legends in order to fit them into her story and how much she took is unclear. Meyer’s herself stated during a question and answer session that once she realized that people were going to read the books she became concerned about whether or not the residents of Forks and La Push would find the liberties amusing or irritating. Cynthia also stated that the only reference to Twilight she found at La Push was a fireworks stand called “Black’s Fireworks” in reference to Jacob Black.
A few miles outside of La Push, she came upon “Jacob Black’s” house. A motorcycle was parked out front and a large photo of Taylor Lautner (Jacob) was in the window. She and other tourists were allowed to walk across the lawn and pet the owners’ dog. Which she says is in stark contrast to Forks where tourists aren’t allowed to really immerse themselves in the narrative.
She did take a Twilight tour in 2009 and found that many fans had an encyclopedic knowledge of the books. One of the questions asked on the tour was “What is the significance of Russell Road?” Russell Road is where Bella bought the motorcycles from the Marks family. The tour also had musical cues woven into the tour. For example, “Bad Boys” by Inner Circle (the theme from Cops) played when they pulled up to the Forks Police Department. The tour given by the Forks Chamber of Commerce is no longer given but they will give you a “Twilight Map” with places marked to visit on your own.3
I couldn’t find the website for the book and movie tour that was once offered but I did find a site with photos. Enjoy!
Please join us for a discussion 10/9/2012@7pmE/12UTC
Source: Click, Melissa, Aubrey, Jennifer and Morawitz-Behm Elizabeth (2010) Bitten By Twilight: Youth Culture, Media and the Vampire Franchise. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.