With Game of Thrones’ penultimate season off to its official start, the atmosphere of hype and excitement around HBO’s celebrated fantasy series is at its peak – and HBO has the ratings to prove it. Entertainment Weekly reported that the show’s Season 7 Episode 1 attracted 16.1 million viewers across all platforms, with the numbers including repeats, streaming, and DVR.
This is not only an impressive 50% increase from last season’s opening episode, but is the largest overnight audience the show has ever seen. Twitter also claimed that the premiere was the most-tweeted episode of all time, with the episode motivating fans to send out 2.4 million tweets.
Titled “Dragonstone”, the impressive premiere (which even included a controversial Ed Sheeran cameo) set all the board pieces for this season’s intricate political game. Jon Snow clashed with Sansa as the two struggled to decide how to move the North forwards from the carnage of Season 6 caused by Ramsay Bolton, while Queen Cersei Lannister was eager to form a strategy to gain firmer control over the Seven Kingdoms (with brother Jamie acting a little more hesitant).
Arya, after commanding the season’s opening sequence by exterminating the entirety of House Frey, announced she was trekking south to kill the Queen. The episode ended with a dramatic flair as Daenerys finally made it to Westeros. After landing at her home of Dragonstone and ripping Stannis Baratheon’s old banners away from the walls, the Dragon Queen swiftly began preparations to launch her attack on the Iron Throne.
Season 7’s first episode was lauded by critics, with its score on Rotten Tomatoes currently at 95%. The Rotten Tomatoes score for last season’s premiere sits at 89%. With only 12 episodes away from the end of Game of Thrones, the show doesn’t appear to be slowing down in momentum at all – rather, it seems like it’s just getting started.
New episodes of Game of Thrones Season 7 air every Sunday at 9pm EST on HBO.