Is Gollum a good guy or a bad guy? It’s a complicated question. At times, the former Hobbit is nothing but pure venom. Other times, he’s kind, sweet and caring. Plus he can change between the two in an instant. Finally, a court of law will tell us if the former ring-bearer is good or evil.

One of the ultimate Lord of the Rings debates will soon be settled in a Turkish court. Why? A man charged with disparaging the president of Turkey is arguing his photos comparing the politician and fictional character were not insults.

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Doctor Bilgin Ciftci posted the below photos on Twitter juxtaposing Gollum with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. What’s the problem with that? In Turkey, insulting the president is an offense punishable by up to four years in prison. Ciftci was brought to court and after his defense attorney’s argument for “freedom of expression” was shot down, they made the claim about Gollum not being necessarily evil.

Paramount to their argument was the following: That the photos weren’t of the evil Gollum, but of his lovable alter-ego Smeagol. To help bolster that, and in the absence of J.R.R. Tolkien himself, the defense went to the next best thing: Lord of the Rings writers Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. Here’s their statement:

“If the images 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. 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. 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 February 23 when Gollum’s fate will be decided.

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[Comic Book Resources, Entertainment Weekly]


Contact the author at germain@io9.com.