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The ‘Game of Thrones’ finale smashed every ratings record in HBO history

Published May 20th, 2019 9:03PM EDT
Game of Thrones finale
Image: HBO

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Sunday’s finale of Game of Thrones may have sparked intense debate over how one of the biggest TV shows in recent memory drew to a close — but at least it went out on top.

The numbers are in, and the official tally is that 13.6 million viewers watched the initial airing of the show, a number that grows to 19.3 million when you add in replays. What’s so epic about those numbers is that they didn’t just set a Game of Thrones record — that’s better than any episode in HBO history has ever done.

Per a Monday afternoon report from The Hollywood Reporter, the sixth and final episode of Season 8 continued the season’s trend of posting one ratings record after another for the show. For example, the season included five of the six most-watched episodes in the show’s history, and THR goes on to note that DVR and replay viewing helped propel the just-ended season to “an unheard-of” 43 million viewers through May 12 — or, an extra 10 million than watched Season 7 on average.

Meanwhile, this is as a good a time as any to remind fans of the fantasy created by George R.R. Martin isn’t completely going away now that Game of Thrones has taken its final bow.

At least three GoT-related prequel projects remain in some stage of development at HBO, which is now set to begin the hard work of crafting a post Thrones future for itself. Martin himself teased in a blog post earlier this month that he can’t say what the various prequels are about — but if you really want to know, he says picking up his recently published book Fire & Blood that details the history of Westeros would probably be a good idea.

Only one GoT pilot, which reportedly has the working title of Bloodmoon, is far along in development. And not even too “far,” at that. HBO has only ordered a pilot of it, though we do know it will star Naomi Watts and that, according to HBO, it takes place “thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones. The series chronicles the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour. From the horrifying secrets of Westeros’s history to the true origin of the White Walkers, the mysteries of the East to the Starks of legend, only one thing is for sure: It’s not the story we think we know.”

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.