Everyone knew that the Season 8 premiere of Game of Thrones would be massive. Anticipation for the final season has been off the charts, especially since the show has been gone for two years instead of just one. It’s a bona fide cultural phenomenon in a landscape where that’s increasingly rare due to audience fragmentation. And now the numbers have come in, and the HBO series set a new record for itself.
Variety reports that the Season 8 premiere, “Winterfell”, nabbed 17.4 million viewers across all platforms (linear, HBO Go, and HBO Now). To put that in perspective, the Season 7 premiere, “Dragonstone”, pulled in a massive 16.1 million viewers, which include 10.1 million from folks who had cable (aka “linear) and the remainder coming from DVR and streaming. That’s not to mention all the people who had viewing parties or watched the episode via less than legal means.
The question now becomes how will the rest of the season fare? Numbers for Season 7 dipped slightly after the premiere, but quickly rebounded and the season finale had 16.5 million viewers, making it the highest rated episode of the series to date. I think we can safely say that the series finale of Game of Thrones will crush all previous records, but by how much? There’s also the matter of the big battle episode, which almost certainly won’t be the final episode since Game of Thrones has never saved a massive battle for the finale and even if the Army of the Dead is defeated, there’s still the fallout to deal with.
We all just have to accept that for the next six weeks, Game of Thrones is going to be a cultural juggernaut, so try to watch it live or stay off the Internet because no one is staying silent.
For more on Game of Thrones, click on the links below:
- ‘Game of Thrones’ Cameos You Probably Missed in the Season 8 Premiere
- ‘Game of Thrones’: Go Behind the Scenes of Season 8, Episode 1 with an 18-Minute Video
- Watch: ‘Game of Thrones’ Showrunners Break Down the Premiere Episode
- ‘Game of Thrones’ Guide, Week 1: Every Question We Have After the Season 8 Premiere