The longest-ever episode of the HBO series delivered a series record 17.8 million viewers, including replays and streaming. The episode was devoted solely to the heavily anticipated Battle of Winterfell, which pitted the forces of the Night King against Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen and their marshaled troops.
The 17.8 million viewers surpasses the 17.4 million first-night viewers for the season premiere on April 14.
The episode’s on-air debut drew 12.02 million people, the second-largest audience ever for an initial airing of Game of Thrones, behind only the season seven finale (12.07 million).
The first two episodes of the final season have averaged 16.65 million viewers, including replays and streaming, on the night they aired. Following the premiere’s then-record 17.4 million, the second episode on April 21 averaged 15.9 million for its first night.
In all three episodes so far, the TV audience for the initial airing made up about two-thirds of the first-night total.
After a week of additional replays and delayed viewing, the season eight premiere grew to 27.7 million viewers, and HBO says 38 million have now viewed the premiere.
Game of Thrones is HBO’s most-watched series ever and currently the biggest scripted series on TV by a wide margin. Season seven of the show averaged 32.8 million viewers across all platforms, the cabler says.