The ratings are in and the fourth season premiere of HBO's "Game of Thrones" broke the show's own records with 6.6 million viewers watching the live 9pm broadcast - a new series best.
That's considerably up on the 4.4 million who tuned in for the third season premiere and the 5.4 million who showed up for last year's season finale.
In previous seasons, if you including all repeats and on-demand viewings, an average episode scores around three times its live 9pm broadcast figures in total viewers. Last season it averaged 14.2 million an episode, that should jump even higher this year.
Piracy of the series also remains rampant with piracy-tracking firm Excipio detecting 1.17 million unique IP addresses accessing torrents of the season premiere within the first 15 hours of the episode going online. That's more than the third season premiere racked up in its first full 24 hour span.
The United States, Australia and Canada are by far the biggest downloaders. While the U.S. came out on top with 198,000 downloads, Australia was close behind with 187,000 downloads despite having only around 1/13th the population of the United States.
Also today, Slate has done a in-depth look back at the key second season episode "Blackwater". We've always known it was the most expensive episode of the second season, it not the series to date, now the actual price tag has been revealed to have come in at $8 million.
That's $2 million more than the standard $6 million it costs to produce a 'Thrones' episode with much of it going to building ships and castle battlements, visual effects, and more than 250 extras that needed costumes and fight training. The article also promises an even bigger battle to come at the end of the fourth season.
Finally, the producers have promised a number of 'big shock' episodes this season rather than the 'save it until episode nine' approach of the previous three seasons. With next week's second episode "The Lion and the Rose" being penned by author George R.R. Martin himself and dealing with a major event bringing many characters together, could it be one of them? Here's the promo: