Game of Thrones season seven finale set a ratings high for HBO by becoming the most watched episode ever in the series. The 80-minute-long final episode, titled The Dragon and the Wolf, saw a total of 12.1 million viewers tune in on Sunday, according to Entertainment Weekly. The figure is up by 13 per cent from the previous record high two weeks earlier and 36 per cent higher than the season 6 finale. The number climbs to 16.5 million if HBO’s replays and streaming area numbers are added.
This season of the fantasy drama, considered the most popular show in television, was overshadowed by leaks and a cyber attack on the network. The finale, however, was not compromised liked the two earlier episodes which were leaked online in advance from HBO’s streaming partners in India and Spain.
The reputed network had been assaulted repeatedly by multiple hacker groups in the last few weeks. Sundry hackers had targeted Home Box Office by leaking the episodes of their various shows, mainly Game of Thrones season 7’s unaired episode, demanded ransom amounts in several million dollars and hacked their social media accounts.
Later, one of the hacker groups, which calls itself ‘Mr Smith’ had approached a digital media website, Mashable, and given them information that could get the American premium cable network was in a lot of trouble, but that does not seem to have affected its ratings.
Shooting on the eighth and final season is slated to begin in October. The season is expected to consist of six episodes and will debut either in the latter half of 2018 or, some say more likely, early 2019 as the last season will entirely be shot in winter.
(With inputs from PTI)