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Twilight fans take obsession from book pages to the real world

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I would like to take a moment to address the new craze that is sweeping the world — at super speed, might I add. And before you ask, no, it’s not a plane, train, or even Superman. Instead, it’s a new, slightly darker kind of superhero who’s going to save the world, seemingly with his or her devastatingly good looks. Welcome to the world of vampires and werewolves, created by Stephenie Meyer in her Twilight trilogy.

If, by some chance, you don’t know the basic premise of the story (though I’m not sure how you wouldn’t, when every other Facebook bumper sticker over the summer proclaimed the creator’s love for Edward), I’ll take a moment to sum it up for you quickly. Bella, a 17-year-old girl who moves to Forks, Wash. to live with her father, falls head-over-heels in love with Edward Cullen, a vampire who is uncontrollably attracted to the scent of her blood. The catch is, though, the Edward and the rest of his family are “vegetarian” vampires, who only drink animal blood, not human blood, and thus Edward must resist the temptation to bite Bella, and instead, his desire for her blood transforms into love. You know, just your normal, run-of-the-mill high school experience.

I will admit to reading the series, and then getting my sister, friends, and even mom to read them as well. My dad decided that he had to see what the excitement was about (we may have obsessively talked about the books for a few weeks over the summer) and tried to read them as well, but couldn’t make it past the first book. They’re definitely an addicting read, don’t get me wrong, mostly because every girl who reads the books wants to be Bella or wants Edward to be real. Who wouldn’t want a boyfriend who was gorgeous beyond all belief and always said and did the right thing? Okay, so maybe explained like that it suddenly doesn’t sound so attractive, but when you’re reading the books, Edward is definitely swoon-worthy.

As much as I enjoyed the books, however, I need to say that I think the obsession has reached a new level that I never dreamed would happen. In addition to special editions of the books, the movie (which hasn’t even been released on DVD yet), multiple sets of Twilight dolls, and a perfume (with a bottle design that looks remarkably similar to Nina Ricci’s), the Twilight mania has crossed from the world of merchandise into the real world. The obsession no longer stops with products that you can buy. Now, instead of teens hoping for vacations to Myrtle Beach or NYC, there’s a new destination vacation: Forks, Wash.

What’s there to see in Forks, you might ask? Well, lots of rain and clouds, some fishing, and oh, that’s right, you can go visit “Bella’s” or “Edward’s” house. Yes, that’s right, Forks is taking complete advantage of an opportunity it was handed on a silver platter, and now even the city’s Chamber of Commerce website guides visitors to places of interest for those on both Team Edward and Team Jacob. Tourists can now stop by Bella’s house and pose for a picture with her pick-up truck (as long as they don’t bother the actual residents of the house, of course), or swing by Edward’s house and check out what Esme, his mother, has written about what the family is up to that day. And don’t forget, if you happen to be there in September, you can go to the high school and celebrate Bella’s birthday with town residents and other tourists who have gathered just for the occasion!

Yes, this is all 100 percent serious, and yes, people are actually going here and doing these things. As much as I enjoyed the books (and daydreaming about Edward), I think this whole craze has gone too far. Are people forgetting that these “artifacts” that they’re going to see aren’t even real, and not only are they not real, they’re replicas of fictional things! Why spend your time and money to go see something that was meant to be imagined in your head? I just cannot wrap my mind around going to a real city to see made-up things that the city has created just to draw in tourists — which, admittedly, is a smart move on the part of Forks, but a dumb move on the parts of the people that actually go to see it.

Twilight fans need to take a step back and enjoy the books and characters for what they are and how Meyer created them instead of trekking to a backwoods town to see other people’s visions of the people and things in a book. Seeing “Bella’s” truck or “Edward’s” house isn’t going to make them any more real. Have some imagination please, people.