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Professor claims he was suspended over 'Game of Thrones' t-shirt quote

Francis Schmidt's daughter Sophia wearing a "Game of Thrones" t-shirt he claims he was suspended over
Francis Schmidt/Google+, via Washington Post

With a show as popular as Game of Thrones, there’s certainly no shortage of merchandise for fans to snatch up. According to one New Jersey college professor, however, one piece of ‘Thrones’-inspired clothing got him suspended.

Bergen Community College art and animation professor Francis Schmidt said the offending item was a t-shirt worn by his young daughter bearing the words “I will take what is mine with fire & blood.” noted on Thursday that Schmidt posted a photo of the seven-year-old wearing the shirt on Google+ back in January.

Administrators didn’t appreciate the reference, however, and Schmidt was asked to meet with Bergen’s executive director for human resources, two other officials, and a security official about the photo, which a dean apparently took as a threat.

For the uninitiated, "Fire and Blood" is the motto for House Targaryen, which Daenerys, aka the Mother of Dragons, belongs to. In a season two episode, she invokes her house words by speaking the quote that wound up on the t-shirt after a member of a prominent group of merchants denies her request for ships.

“The professor said he asked why the photo had set off such a reaction, and that the security official said that ‘fire’ could be a kind of proxy for ‘AK-47s’,” recounts the Washington Post.

Schmidt pulled up the quote at the request of one of the administrators to clarify the context but was nonetheless notified later in the week that he was being put on leave without pay and would require clearance from a psychiatrist to return to his post. He was reinstated after eight days with back pay. The professor had previously filed a grievance with the school after being denied sabbatical late late year and claims the suspension was “payback.”

A spokesman for the school reportedly called the incident a “private personnel matter” and said the school investigates any member of the community who might present “a safety or security concern.”

As for Game of Thrones itself, season four continues Sunday at 9 p.m. with episode three, “Breaker of Chains.” As we see in the brief episode preview for this installment, the episode will cover the aftermath of the Purple Wedding, including Tyrion being taken into custody for Joffrey’s death, Sansa fleeing, and Margaery lamenting the loss of her queenship. We’ll also head back to the Wall, where Jon is dealing with the threat of wildlings, and across the Narrow Sea, where Daenerys’ army is marching on Meereen.

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