Weird Lord of the Rings Court Case Gets Help From Peter Jackson
Smeagol is a four-foot-tall Stoor Hobbit. It does not make any sense.
In Turkey, it’s illegal to insult a public official, and doctor Bilgin Ciftci is finding that out the hard way as he faces up to two years in prison for an image involving a Lord of the Rings character—but which character it actually is might be the key to his defense. Luckily, he’s got an expert on is side: Peter Jackson.
Jackson may be no Stephen Colbert (who is?), but his testimony, among that of others who were actually summoned to court for this in real life, may be of some assistance in sorting out what we’re seeing in this tweet:
— A.Kadir Yildirim (@akyildirim) October 15, 2015
You might think you’re seeing Turkish President President Recep Tayyip comically compared to Gollum, but you’d be mistaken! The character you’re seeing is, in fact, Smeagol—a favorable and therefore permissible comparison—as Jackson and his LotR screenwriters pointed out in a statement (via Deadline):
If the images [in question] 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.
Screenwriter Fran Walsh, who wrote a lot of Smeagol’s scenes, continued:
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.
We can see where the confusion came from in the court, as Smeagol and Gollum never seem entirely sure themselves which is which. Hopefully the argument works, because the slightly less absurdist defense of “freedom of expression” has been fruitless, according to the defense.
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