'Game of Thrones' Season 8 Premiere Breaks Franchise Record

The season opener of the hit fantasy drama's eighth and final season also helps increase other HBO shows' views in its Sunday night lineup, including 'Barry', 'Veep' and 'Last Week Tonight'.

AceShowbiz - "Game of Thrones" season 8 is indeed the biggest season of the hit HBO series. With the massive anticipation from fans, the premiere of the final season sets a new record for the franchise record.

The episode, which aired on April 14, drew in 17.4 million viewers. It surpassed its previous record after 16.5 million people tuned in for season 7 finale. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the tally included 11.8 million viewers watching the first-run telecast. Meanwhile, the rest of number of views was brought by those who watched the first episode of season in HBO Now.

The number is expected to grow even bigger as people who didn't watch right away catch up over the next few days.

The premiere of "Game of Thrones" season 8 also helps increase other HBO shows' views in its Sunday night lineup. "Barry" was lifted to a series high with 2.2 million viewers. Meanwhile, "Veep" saw its viewers number rising to 1.5 million views. Also reaching viewerships which were not seen in over a year was "Last Week Tonight" which gathered in 1.7 million viewers.

HBO also reported that Sunday's viewing was the most tweeted about episode of "Game of Thrones" throughout its seasons with more than five million tweets and 11 million mentions over the weekend.

The season opener of "Game of Thrones" was critically acclaimed. "No time skipping, no flashbacks or flash-forwards, just straightforward storytelling mostly set in a single location: Winterfell," said Den of Greek critic Ron Hogan. The critics also applauded the series for several sentimental references to episodes of yore, long-awaited reunions, and icy introductions.

The preview of episode 2 of "Game of Thrones" sees Dany threatening to kill Jaime, who killed her father. "When I was a child, my brother would tell me a bedtime story, about the man who murdered our father. About all the things we would do to that man," Dany is seen telling Jaime. The promo also hints at the growing tension between Dany and Sansa. However, what is more important is that clock keeps ticking before the Night King and his army of the dead arrive.

"Game of Thrones" season 8 airs on Sundays at 9 P.M. on HBO.

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