[Warning: The following contains spoilers for the most recent episode of Game of Thrones.]
Game of Thrones fans pretty much had two options this weekend: watch the show live alongside everyone else or avoid the internet at all costs and still risk being spoiled about those dramatic deaths in "The Long Night." And it looks like most of us chose the former, because HBO has released some initial viewership numbers, and a whopping 17.8 million viewers tuned in to watch the Battle of Winterfell unfold on Sunday evening.
That number includes both the initial airing, which garnered 12 million viewers alone, and the midnight showing, as well as the streaming count from HBOGo and HBONow users. That number marks a new gross audience high for Game of Thrones, topping the 17.4 million viewers who tuned in for the Season 8 premiere. The pay-cable network also revealed that "Winterfell," the final season premiere, has now reached more than 38 million viewers.
It looks like very few fans had to hear about Arya Stark's (Maisie Williams) jaw-dropping takedown of the Night King secondhand, thank the Lord of Light. And now that our heroes will be turning their attention to the South, as Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) hopes to finally oust Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) from the Iron Throne, we can probably expect those numbers to continue increasing as we approach the endgame.
Game of Thrones airs on Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.
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