They say that absence can make the heart grow fonder, with this saying ultimately proven true when it comes to HBO's hit series Game of Thrones, with the Season 7 premiere setting a new ratings record. Despite debuting in the summer months, when fewer are tuning in, the Game of Thrones Season 7 premiere became the most-watched episode in series history, with a whopping 16.1 million tuning in, which includes the premiere, repeats on HBO, DVR and streaming. 10.1 million of those viewers represent those who watched on the actual cable channel at 9 PM ET last night.
Variety reports that even the 10.1 million viewers who watched on the actual HBO cable network, was still higher than the Season 6 finale last June, which drew in 8.8 million viewers. The overall tally marks a whopping 50% increase from the Game of Thrones Season 6 finale, and not only makes it the most-watched episode in series history, but it also makes it the most-watched season premiere in HBO history as well. With this season spanning just seven episodes, instead of the traditional 10 episodes, it will be interesting to see how viewership fluctuates throughout the season.
Last season, Game of Thrones averaged a whopping 25.7 million viewers per episode, through all platforms including delayed viewing, making it the most-watched season of an HBO series in network history. Game of Thrones is also one of the few shows to grow its viewership every single season, and with this record-breaking season premiere, that trend certainly won't stop now. The first season averaged just 3.3 million viewers over all platforms, when it debuted back in 2010, and with this record-breaking premiere, it's certainly possible that the show could break its own ratings record, especially given all of the positive reactions to the Season 7 premiere.
The season premiere also set another record, becoming the show's most-tweeted episode of all time. The show registered over 2.4 million tweets were sent during the episode, with the cameo appearance from pop star Ed Sheeran representing roughly 7% of the online conversation around the premiere. Warning: SPOILERS! The premiere's opening scene, featuring Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) disguising herself as the late Walder Frey (David Bradley) to kill off the remaining soldiers who participated in the Red Wedding, was particularly popular among the fans. Among the most popular quoted lines from this episode are "Winter is here," "Winter is coming," "The North remembers," "Leave one wolf alive," "The sheep will never be safe," and "Shall we begin?"
While there is traditionally a small drop-off after the premiere, that may not happen this time around, especially with just a seven-episode season. The preview for next week's Game of Thrones episode teases that there may be an alliance formed between the new King In the North, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), which has previously been teased through set photo that surfaced during the production. The trailer also hinted that Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) may be in danger, although it wasn't seen who was attacking him. Hopefully we'll have more details as we continue the countdown towards Sunday night's episode of Game of Thrones