Game of Thrones is famous for being the most pirated show on TV, but what about its legal ratings? As it turns out, those aren’t so bad either.

When you add up all the different forms of viewing — originals, repeats, DVR and streaming — HBO’s hit series is now up to 23 million viewers from the US alone per episode. That’s a marked increase from last year, and a new high for the series.

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As USA Today reported, the numbers increases aren’t the same in different categories: “Sunday premiere ratings are up 6%, to 7.3 million, while overall TV and on-demand viewership is up 4%. But viewing on HBO Now and HBO Go digital platforms skyrocketed 70% over last season, to about 2.5 million streams.”

The growth in streaming audience is indicative of a trend in how people watch TV overall, as well as pointing to the kind of people who watch Game of Thrones. Younger viewers are far more likely to use services like HBO Go to watch shows (or torrent them, for that matter), and it shows in the ratings.

It’s also — and I’m just guessing here — one of the reasons Game of Thrones fans are particularly adamant about not seeing spoilers. With so many people watching on catch-up, staying spoiler-free is even more important.

The ratings high is good news for Game of Thrones, which is now in its sixth season and starting to hunt around to keep the plot going. With just two seasons rumored to be left, the show might finish on a ratings high after all.

Chris Mills has loved tinkering with technology ever since he worked out how to defeat the parental controls on his parents' internet. He's blogged his way through Apple events and SpaceX launches ever since, and still keeps a bizarre fondness for the Palm Pre.