‘Game of Thrones’ Finale Burns Up Series Record With 19.3 Million Viewers

“The Iron Throne” was HBO’s most-watched single telecast since “The Sopranos” Season 4 premiere in 2002

Last Updated: May 20, 2019 @ 9:41 PM

(Spoiler alert: Stop reading now if you do not what to know what happened on Sunday’s “Game of Thrones” series finale episode, “The Iron Throne.”)

Sunday’s “Game of Thrones” series finale broke the show’s record for multiplatform tune-in, with the episode, titled “The Iron Throne,” drawing 19.3 million viewers. That includes linear viewing on HBO and streaming on HBO Go and HBO Now.

In addition, the 1-hour, 20-minute final episode of the show’s eighth and final season broke HBO’s most-watched single telecast record, with 13.6 million viewers for the 9 p.m. airing, according to the pay-TV channel. The previous high (13.4 million viewers) was held by “The Sopranos” Season 4 premiere, which aired on Sept. 15, 2002.

Following the “Game of Thrones” series finale, Bill Hader’s “Barry” ended its second season with an episode that scored 2.7 million viewers across HBO’s platforms, which is more than a 250% spike compared to the comedy’s Season 1 finale, which drew 774,000 viewers last year.

Last week’s “Game of Thrones” episode, “The Bells,” drew 18.4 million multiplatform viewers and held the fantasy epic’s prior series viewership record and before that, the winner was Episode 803, “The Long Night,” with 17.8 million people tuning in on the last Sunday in April.

“GoT” Season 8 is averaging 44.2 million viewers per episode in gross audience, an increase of more than 10 million viewers compared to Season 7, according to HBO.

On “The Iron Throne,” which is alternatively known as “Game of Thrones” Episode 806, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is forced to kill Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) to end her reign of terror before it can truly begin — and then Drogon melted the Iron Throne and carried off her dead body. After that, Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) is elected king by the lords and ladies of Westeros, with Sansa (Sophie Turner) taking over the North as an independent territory and Bran selecting Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) as his Hand of the King. Jon is sentenced to live out his days back with the Night’s Watch, while Arya (Maisie Williams) sails off to see what is west of Westeros. The finale ends with Jon and Tormund taking the wildlings north of The Wall.

You can see TheWrap’s interview with Turner about the finale here and our chat with Wright here.

HBO’s preferred internal numbers, which count HBO Go, HBO Now and repeats, cut off 30 days after each season finale airs. Per HBO’s own count — so yes, that month-plus-long version — the “Game of Thrones” U.S. viewership per season has been:

Season 1: 9.3 million
Season 2: 11.6 million
Season 3: 14.4 million
Season 4: 19.1 million
Season 5: 20.2 million
Season 6: 25.7 million
Season 7: 32.8 million

Below is Nielsen’s version, which counts seven days of delayed viewing per episode. This is a more typical way of looking at things, but it does not count HBO’s significant streaming additions.

Season 1:  3.3 million
Season 2:  4.9 million
Season 3:  6.4 million
Season 4:  9.0 million
Season 5:  9.5 million
Season 6:  10.6 million
Season 7:  13.7 million