With a doctor's freedom at stake, a Turkish court as asked a committee of experts to take up the question of whether Gollum from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings is good or evil.
Bilgin Ciftci faces up to two years in prison on charges that he insulted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by comparing the politician to Gollum in a series of photos posted on Twitter.
In Turkey, insulting the president is considered a crime punishable by up to four years in prison. In the past year alone, more than 250 people have been investigated for allegedly insulting the head of state. Ciftci's series of juxtaposed images of Gollum and Erdogan went viral in October, drawing the all-seeing eye of the state, which apparently hates not only sneaky little hobbitses, but that meme as well.
Defense attorney Hicran Danisman told The Associated Press this week that she was forced to insist that "Gollum is not a bad character" after a freedom of expression argument went "nowhere." To that end, the case has even drawn the attention of director Peter Jackson and his Hobbit and Lord of the Rings co-writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, who point out that the photos Ciftci used aren't actually of Gollum but of his "very loveable" alter ego Smeagol.
“If the images below are in fact the ones forming the basis of this Turkish lawsuit, we can state categorically: None of them feature the character known as Gollum," they wrote in a joint statement. "All of them are images of the character called Smeagol.”
“Smeagol is a joyful, sweet character. Smeagol does not lie, deceive, or attempt to manipulate others," Jackson, Walsh and Boyens continue. "He is not evil, conniving, or malicious — these personality traits belong to Gollum, who should never be confused with Smeagol. Smeagol would never dream of wielding power over those weaker than himself. He is not a bully. In fact he’s very loveable. This is why audiences all over the world have warmed to his character.”
The trial has been adjourned until Feb. 23. In the meantime, a committee that includes psychologists and film experts is expected to assess Gollum's character.
— A.Kadir Yildirim (@akyildirim) October 15, 2015