The Season 7 finale of Game of Thrones smashed all previous ratings records with 16.5 million viewers. That's not even counting how many people illegally downloaded or streamed the episode, which is just to point out that a lot of people watched HBO's hit series last night. It is estimated that the premier episode of Season 7 was illegally downloaded and or streamed more than 90 million times, most of which were streaming the debut episode through dodgy at best portals that more than likely froze and buffered if they worked at all. Those numbers may seem high, but this is Game of Thrones that we're talking about here.

Deadline reports that 16.5 million households either streamed the episode on HBO GO or watched it live through the traditional way, which brought the majority of the numbers in at 12.1 million viewers. This number makes it the most watched episode in Game of Thrones history with 36% increase of the finale of Season 6. The Season 6 rating put the show at 8.9 million viewers with untold amounts of illegal streaming and downloading.

This is the latest in a series of ratings records set by Season 7 of the HBO hit fantasy series. In Live+Same Day ratings, the series is up over 20% in both total viewers of the show and the key adults category of 18-49 demographic. The season premiere set the precedent with an astonishing 4.7 rating in the key adult demo and 10.1 million viewers in television viewing alone, with 16.1 million total viewers when streaming numbers were added. Episode 5 pushed the mark even higher, drawing 10.7 million viewers.

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Game of Thrones Season 7 has an average of 30.6 million viewers, which is up nearly 8 million viewers from the same point during last season. Across multiple platforms and in delayed viewing, aka slackers, the numbers get even more crazy. Without factoring in the finale, this season is still averaging 30.6 million viewers per episode, a number that represents a 34% increase compared to the same measure last season. The bottom line: a lot of people all over the world are watching Game of Thrones and the numbers are expected to get even higher when the 8th and final season premieres sometime in late 2018 or early 2019. Absence will certainly make the heart grow fonder of the hit show.

Season 7 of Game of Thrones ended last night to a record-breaking ratings night for the hit series and one can only expect the numbers to get even higher when the next season finally rolls around. Though the show has been criticized for its disregard of timelines and rushed storytelling, many fans were highly impressed with the episode and the series as a whole. Last night was also the longest episode of the series, clocking in at 80 intense minutes that left fans wanting even more. Fans will definitely have time to go back and read the books and watch the entire series over again before Season 8 shows up.