'Game of Thrones' season debut breaks HBO rating records

Brenda Watkins
April 16, 2019

The final season premiere of Game of Thrones marked royal ratings for HBO (NYSE:T) last night, drawing 17.4M viewers across platforms in one-night numbers.

Back nearly two years after Season 7 premiered, Sunday's "Winterfell" Season 8 debut snared 17.4 million viewers for the premium cabler on-air and HBO Go and HBO Now.

The two shows share something else in common - frequent Always Sunny director Matt Shakman also directed two episodes of Game of Thrones Season 7, "The Spoils of War" and "Eastwatch". In comparison to the season-seven premiere, the streaming audience almost doubled.

Following Season 8's first episode, the internet freaked out over Bran Stark (Isaac Hemsptead Wright), who was caught creeping on multiple characters and giving major side eye to Jaime Lannister, who showed up near the end of the premiere.

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McElhenney confirmed the Game of Thrones cameo via Instagram after the episode aired, with the caption "Don't blink", and his location set as Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. Season 8 is sure to burn that record right up.

The first time we saw this type of imagery was in the Game of Thrones pilot and became synonymous with the White Walkers.

The 42-year-old actor confirmed in an Instagram post Sunday he appeared in the highly-anticipated episode of the HBO series. That places the leak at only four hours ahead of the premiere, and spoilers were pretty avoidable for fans as long as they weren't all over social media in the final hours before the episode.

Another viewer said the premiere was "well done", especially those reunions. Bran Stark might not be in on the battlefront action, but he *might* know more than Jon Snow when it comes to the Night King's agenda.

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