Last night’s season 7 premiere of Game of Thrones hit an all time high for the series, giving the show its strongest ratings to date. After an extra long wait between seasons, the penultimate chapter of Game of Thrones finally hit HBO last night. Given how popular the show has always been around the world, it’s no surprise the series continually posts strong numbers. Still, its ability to consistently gain more and more viewers each season makes one wonder why the network would ever agree to let the series go off the air.

Hopefully, some of the momentum behind the series will help set-up one of the spinoffs HBO has planned. Until then, there’s a lot more story to get through. From the Hound’s journey of redemption to Daenerys coming home, last night’s episode delivered a lot of emotion and set up plenty of action to come. And given the lengthy build-up to the new season, it’s really not shocking that so many tuned in. What is remarkable, however, is the ratings the show posted.

EW is reporting that ‘Dragonstone‘ garnered 16.1 million viewers across all of HBO’s distribution platforms. Not only is that the show’s biggest number to date, but it’s up 50% from last season’s 10.7M.

Lena Headey Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 1 Game of Thrones Season 7 Premiere Ratings Up 50 Percent from Season 6

On top of the viewers, the premiere of Game of Thrones was the most-tweeted about in the show’s history. In particular, Arya received a lot of positive attention thanks to her scene-stealing vengeance in the cold open. Likely, a slight boost was even due to Ed Sheeran’s cameo.

What’s more impressive is that the numbers aren’t from the usual spring premiere, but come right in the middle of the summer. Though viewing habits have changed over the years, that’s still the weakest time for television performance. In all likelihood, part of the uptick was due to services like HBO Go and HBO Now that allow people to stream the show live instead of waiting until the next day. Along with free trials for the services, it’s likely many fans signed up just to check out the first episode of season 7.

With only 6 more episodes to go this season, hopefully Game of Thrones can hold onto the sizable audience it pulled in for the premiere. Considering the first season averaged around 3M viewers, it’s likely we won’t be seeing much of a drop-off before the show is over. And with more dragons and ice zombies on their way, it seems safe to assume Game of Thrones will go out with a bang.

NEXT: What Does The Hound’s Prophecy Mean?

Source: EW

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