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Game of Thrones' 69-minute season six finale was its most-watched episode ever

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Helen Sloan / HBO

8.9 million people watched the Game of Thrones season six finale live on HBO on Sunday night. That's a wild number, topping the show's previous record of 8.1 million set by the season five finale.

That number doesn't even include on-demand or streaming data, nor audiences who watched encore broadcasts the next day. Last week, HBO told USA Today that the average weekly viewer total for season six was 23.3 million — about 15 percent higher than it was for season five.

23.3 million people watch Game of Thrones every week

As it stands, the only show that regularly trounces Game of Thrones is AMC's The Walking Dead — last year's season finale brought in 14.1 million live viewers. The most notable difference between the two is that Game of Thrones airs on premium cable, and its zombies are not as well-done or self-aware.

The series' ratings have been on a steady climb since its first season, and the very first episode brought in 2.2 million viewers. The only notable dip came in the middle of season five, immediately after the show's most notorious episode — Sansa Stark's involuntary wedding to Ramsay Bolton, which included a rape scene.

He's dead now, so the sky is the limit (just kidding, there are dragons so nothing is the limit).


Learning the Game of Thrones theme song on a futuristic keyboard