The night was dark and full of terrors for the Battle of Winterfell (maybe a little too dark), but that didn’t stop the latest episode of Game of Thrones from drawing one of the biggest audiences an episode of the series has ever had.
The third episode of the HBO show’s eighth and final season, titled The Long Night, brought in 17.8 million viewers across various broadcast and streaming platforms, the second-largest audience for any Game of Thrones episode’s first airing.
The 17.8 million viewers who watched the Battle of Winterfell play out was the biggest audience so far for season 8’s episodes, topping the 17.4 million viewers the season 8 premiere attracted. The Long Night was also the second most-watched live episode of the series, airing to an audience of 12.02 viewers who watched it as it aired on HBO (as opposed to online or streaming), which is just shy of the 12.07 million viewers who tuned in live for the season 7 finale.
HBO’s most-watched series of all time and the most popular scripted series on television right now, Game of Thrones has just three episodes remaining in its final season.
The Long Night was just as big on social media as it was on TV, with Twitter reporting 7.8 million tweets about the episode filling the platform before, during, and after the Battle of Winterfell. The social media service indicated that this was the most tweeted-about episode of any scripted series on TV ever, topping the previous record set just a few weeks ago by — you guessed it — the season 8 premiere of Game of Thrones.
Although the award-winning series wraps up in just a few weeks — and will likely set a few new records for its series finale, too — fans of Game of Thrones can look forward to more adventures in George R.R. Martin’s mythical, medieval world down the road. A prequel series is currently in development from Martin and screenwriter Jane Goldman, set thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones.
Three episodes remain in the final season of Game of Thrones, and HBO’s preview of episode 4 suggests that the battle with The Night King won’t be the final conflict of the series, as the survivors in Winterfell now face the armies of Cersei Lannister for control of the Iron Throne.
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