HBO’s fantasy juggernaut “Game of Thrones” comes to a close this coming weekend, and five episodes in the show has been pulling in the kind of ratings we’ll not likely see again for some time.
The series snagged its biggest audience ever for a first airing of an episode Sunday, drawing an all-in figure of 18.4 million viewers in Live+Same Day and a 5.4 rating. Streaming and replay numbers for the episode has also grown the same-night audience by 47% over the initial airing.
HBO says that the final season has averaged 43 million viewers per episode with continued streaming of past installments – that’s more than 10 million viewers ahead of season seven’s average of 32.8 million. The final season has delivered four of the five most-watched episodes in the show’s history.
The ratings talk comes as author George R.R. Martin has shot down reports that he’s finished his sixth and seventh books in the series, responding on his blog to comments made by actor Ian McElhinney which suggested the books were already done and they were waiting until the series wrapped to release them.
Talk of the series has been rampant in recent weeks as the show, once widely well regarded, has proven divisive both last season and especially this season with criticism heavily thrown at the showrunners for rushing to close off the story at the cost of character development and believable pacing. Video compilations of the actors being asked about the final season and expressing dissatisfaction are going around social media.
HBO has also released a trailer for “The Last Watch,” the two-hour documentary about the making of the final season hailing from acclaimed British filmmaker Jeanie Finlay. It premieres Sunday May 26th.