Game of Thrones ratings review: Season five edition

The end of a Game of Thrones season is also the time to look back at the show ratings and at some pretty graphs. Well, the latter is quite subjective. Anyway, here goes – comparative initial viewership of HBO shows across their first five seasons (where available):

Ratings graph

As always, season runs longer (or shorter) than 10 episodes have been scaled for the ease of comparison. Click to enlarge.

First things first: a new record was set by the season finale. For the first time since S2, the final episode drew the most immediate interest. The high-water mark now stands at 8.11 million. This also means that Thrones has passed anoher million mark (the season premiere already came terribly close to that).

This season saw more fluctuations than ever before. There was both the biggest absolute episode-to-episode drop in the history of the show (1.19 million, between 501 and 502) as well as the biggest absolute episode-to-episode jump  (1.60 million, between 507 and 508) this year! Crazy.

Were the numbers higher than last year? Well, individual episodes definitely reached higher than season four’s more steady run, but if you want to play around with these numbers, the average initial viewership is comparable between the seasons. Last year’s stands at 6.85 million, while season five just edged that with 6.88 million.

What can we expect next year? Will there be a big premiere bump given the number of cliffhangers and fateful events in this year’s finale? The show is likely reaching its plateau, but can still surprise us. For one, the total viewership across platforms, i.e. the bottom line that really matters, is on the rise and set to break the previous S4 record of 19 million per episode. We will keep an eye on that number in the weeks to come.

90 responses

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    1. I honestly thought last year would be the shows high point, it is pretty amazing this year did better on average.

      I think GoT will maintain great ratings throughout its run but no way does it go up next year to beat this years average.

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    2. Looks like the Sansa/Ramsay wedding night resulted in a nose-dive for the ratings. I hope Benioff and Weiss’s HBO masters are happy.

      Everything they have the HBO executives gave them. They would do well to remember that.

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    3. I think Season 4 and 5 represent the peak of GoTs popularity. I honestly don’t see ratings rising any more. I don’t expect a huge drop next year, but there probably will be a decrease in the number of viewers.

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    4. The series still gaining viewers after 5 seasons is nothing short than amazing. GoT truly proven than it transends regular televison ( it’s HBO after all). It bothers me that a mediocre fantasy series like the Hobbit is making billions of dollars in theatres, while something as epic and expansive as Game of Thrones is trapped on the small screen.

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    5. KrakenDaughter,

      Well, besides the books The Hobbit’s first cross-media venture was a cartoon.

      I am 100% confident GoT will make it to the big screen in a “Twilight, Hunger Games, Fast N Furious” type franchise…

      Just probably not in our lifetimes…

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    6. KrakenDaughter:
      bothers me that a mediocre fantasy series like the Hobbit is making billions of dollars in theatres, while something as epic and expansive as Game of Thrones is trapped on the small screen.

      I don’t think of it as trapped on the small screen. If it were made into movies, it would be massively edited. We would have fewer characters and far less time to tell the story. The only plus to movies is possibly more money for large action scenes.

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    7. GOT’s rating are really impressive. I watched Boardwalk Empire but didn’t follow it online. I’m surprised the ratings steadily fell each year but they kept it going for 5 seasons. It was a good show. True Blood was fun but turned into total shit. I’ll miss Eric this summer. 😉

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    8. Also, this chart doesn’t even give GoT the true justice is deserves.

      Put a chart up there showing Homeland numbers, Penny Dreadful, Black Sails, Outlander and some other premium cable dramas.

      Game of Thrones blows them out of the water.

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    9. This is amazing. I would imagine a record breaking premiere next year, considering the way the finale played out. And if they keep Jon alive, I think we will see some good numbers next year. If they don’t, I sense a slight decrease, but nothing too drastic.

      And what is the big f^&%ing deal with the Sansa wedding night. Jesus! I cannot get over the ridiculous complaining about it. It unbelievable. Its a fookin fantasy show with dragons and zombies for Gods sake. There is all kinds of violence. And honestly, the show is a heavy parallel of real life, especially historic real life. And this stuff happened.
      UGH I cant hear about it any more

      Rant over.

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    10. Pretty sure total viewership will be the highest this season. It’s crack on screen, you just can’t turn away. Anyone else in denial over this season being over and that we have 40 weeks to wait until next time? I’m showing withdrawal symptoms already.

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    11. I hope Benioff and Weiss’s HBO masters are happy.

      Yes, god forbid they keep making HBO millions and millions of dollars and providing HBO is biggest ever hit…*roll*

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    12. MaesterofMasonry,

      The secret is in pacing yourself. Slowly rewatch the season, but don’t binge-watch just yet as that would only amplify the effects of your admittedly understandable addiction. Save the binge for early next year when you prepare for Season 6. In the meantime, read (or reread) the books. And last but not least, hang out with a bunch of fellow junkies at this fine virtual establishment. Nothing soothes the soul like group therapy!

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    13. Deesensfan:
      And what is the big f^&%ing deal with the Sansa wedding night. Jesus! I cannot get over the ridiculous complaining about it. It unbelievable. Its a fookin fantasy show with dragons and zombies for Gods sake. There is all kinds of violence. And honestly, the show is a heavy parallel of real life, especially historic real life. And this stuff happened.
      UGH I cant hear about it any more

      Rant over.

      Amen! Preach it! I am buying you a virtual adult beverage of your choice! Enough from the hypersensitives already! If Stannis really is dead (he’s not) then I swear fealty to you!

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    14. carcin,

      Yes, god forbid they keep making HBO millions and millions of dollars and providing HBO is biggest ever hit…*roll*

      Is there anyway for someone interested with some internet research skills to calculate how much GoT makes HBO?

      They would have to count subscriptions that were “likely” gained by the customer wanting to watch GoT, DVD sales, merchandise and probably some other things. Plus all the buzz on social media GoT generates for HBO keeping them head and shoulders above every other premium cable channel.

      I am sure it’s HBO biggest cash cow, why else do they continue to up the budget season to season?

      And it’s funny because we all knew these budget increases would have to happen as the fantasy elements basically became bigger and bigger and much more prominent.

      There is no doubt D&D will ask for, and definitely get a bigger budget this year, but as long as HBO keeps pulling in bank, they will keep investing more dollars into this show.

      Geez, HBO is going to be the biggest budget TV show of all time but only because its commercial and financial success for HBO warrants it.

      Will there ever be a show like this again?

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    15. Mr Fixit,

      I think you are pretty foolish to think so. Any story moving toward an epic conclusion will grow more and more popular. I really don’t understand people like you who think that GoT is just some regular show and that the interest in the story and the characters will dwindle over the years. It’s a story that had an end game in mind from the beginning. Obviously the last season will be the most watched. I guarantee the show hits 10 millions on the series finale.

      I don’t find anything surprising about the increase in viewers. It makes sense. Well done GoT’ cast and crew! 🙂

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    16. Deesensfan,

      I don’t think people were as pissed about that scene as it seemed, including the people who complained about it the most. Hyperbole and repetition are mainstays in internet culture, but things also fade from consciousness very quickly. That’s why everyone tuned right back in the next week (despite the holiday-related ratings drop during the episode’s first airing) and will continue to. Because it’s a damn good show despite some objectionable material and plot stumbles.

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    17. Zalos:

      I really don’t understand people like you who think that GoT is just some regular show and that the interest in the story and the characters will dwindle over the years.

      I said that? Truly?

      Well, I never!

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    18. Deesensfan,

      They’ll get over it. Eventually.

      So will Stannis fans who insist his character was assassinated, especially after the exact same thing happens to him in the books.

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    19. Deesensfan:

      Well, I still here people say “Great season with exception to the Sansa Rape” really? So stabbing and poison and burning and decapitating was okay with you?
      Ugh.

      Meh, don’t pay any attention to it. While I have no doubt that there are those who genuinely hate that bit (which is a perfectly valid opinion to have), if I know anything about human psychology, I’d say that the majority are simply in the defensive mode there. We’ve all been in situations with our peers — especially when young — where we said and often even convinced ourselves of the things we didn’t really believe so that we could feel more secure in belonging to a group.

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    20. Mr Fixit,
      Yeah that is a valid point.

      I mean don’t get me wrong I didn’t sit there and cheer ramsay on, I was horrified for Sansa (thankfully they didn’t show us anything cause Sophie is an angel!)
      But it is a show, and the complaints are getting ridiculous.

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    21. Deesensfan,

      Sure, it was horrible. But it was also tastefully done; nothing exploitative about it at all. It also helps that the scene is preceded by an eerily beautiful sequence: the wedding that looks straight out of a dark fairytale. I really believe that those last 10-ish minutes of 5×06 are among the best and most powerful moments of the entire season. A pity that so many seem to disagree and are intent on judging the scene based on completely meta en vogue concerns relating to the wider social justice movement.

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    22. Hmm, I find it likely the overall viewership across all platforms will keep growing (no idea about how much).

      But I’m not sure about the live numbers. These last two seasons may have attracted the most people live to the TV showing on average as people will keep shifting to HBO Now and the more casual viewers will most likely watch it later than the premiere. Thus I’d presume these live numbers will keep being in more-or-less the same 6-8 million bracket, depending on how many of the viewers turn in for the first showing and how many will wait.

      And btw. those live numbers are absolutely amazing for a premium cable TV show. And that’s just a fraction of the worldwide viewership.

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    23. Now that rise is what I’m talking about!

      It may be unlikely, but still possible, that the next two season will somewhat raise even more on average, at least by a little.

      I still hope for a motion picture for a series finale.

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    24. Deesensfan,

      Aye, it was really disturbing. It wasn’t even that explicit but I still had a hard time watching. You just knew it was terrible by Sansa’s screams and Theon’s look of horror, and not by gratuitous violence and nudity. Very well shot and acted by all involved, despite the disturbing and controversial nature of the scene.

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    25. I’m delighted that I can watch this story unfold in the comfort of my home rather than go to a theater and deal with rude people.

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    26. I can understand people thinking there’s no way the numbers can improve yet again. I’ve been in that seat every year. I’m not so sure this time though. I continue to see chatter on unrelated boards and people I visit with personally that are still just getting on board and watching the earlier seasons. I don’t believe that the number of those people is outmatched by the people that claim they’re going to quit watching after enjoying the show for most of five seasons.

      There’s also the fact that the series is moving ever closer to the climax. Some shit has already started to hit the fan and it won’t be long before the full bombardment. All the stuff that’s mostly been just talked about is on it’s way. The Night’s King has the largest army the world has ever seen… Jon may become something magical and legendary to even things out between he and the Night’s King… Daenerys’ dragons will be twice as big next season… One has to think that eventually she will also somehow gain control of that massive khalasar we saw in the finale – perhaps becoming Khal Daenerys herself. More warging and mystical stuff with Bran back in the picture… There should be a lot of really cool stuff ahead to really keep that interest high.

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    27. The Dragon Demands: Looks like the Sansa/Ramsay wedding night resulted in a nose-dive for the ratings. I hope Benioff and Weiss’s HBO masters are happy.

      No, it looks like the ratings nose-dived because Americans were enjoying Memorial Day weekend, and not because they were distraught and obsessing over the terrible, horrible injustice done to poor, dear Sansa. Also, I bet Benioff and Weiss are indeed happy with the ratings for Ep. 7, because I would have expected far less Americans to be watching GoT on a Sunday night in the middle of Memorial Day weekend, and a far worse number.

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    28. The Dragon Demands:
      Looks like the Sansa/Ramsay wedding night resulted in a nose-dive for the ratings. I hope Benioff and Weiss’s HBO masters are happy.

      Everything they have the HBO executives gave them.They would do well to remember that.

      Ratings soared after that episode aired, so I guess the HBO masters are very, very happy indeed.

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    29. Clob,

      That’s hilarious. 🙂 In a disturbing way. I actually think the count is higher, because did they manage to count everyone at Hardhome and Daznak’s?

      There is a much higher number tallied by these folk (and they didn’t count Sansa and Theon).

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    30. Mr Fixit:
      Deesensfan,

      Sure, it was horrible. But it was also tastefully done; nothing exploitative about it at all. Italso helps that the scene is preceded by an eerily beautiful sequence: the wedding that looks straight out of a dark fairytale. I really believe that those last 10-ish minutes of 5×06 are among the best and most powerful moments of the entire season. A pity that so many seem to disagree and are intent on judging the scene based on completely meta en vogue concerns relating to the wider social justice movement.

      I share your views completely regarding 506 — it was a disturbing scene to watch, and it was meant to be. Very well-shot and incredibly well-acted.

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    31. The Dragon Demands,

      It seems you’re implying D&D is responsible for the show’s failures, while HBO is responsible for the show’s success. Which is of course ridiculous. “They would do well” to never listen to anyone who got upset about that very well done wedding.

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    32. Kay: No, it looks like the ratings nose-dived because Americans were enjoying Memorial Day weekend, and not because they were distraught and obsessing over the terrible, horrible injustice done to poor, dear Sansa. Also, I bet Benioff and Weiss are indeed happy with the ratings for Ep. 7, because I would have expected far less Americans to be watching GoT on a Sunday night in the middle of Memorial Day weekend, and a far worse number.

      The Live + 7 numbers for the Memorial Day show was on par with the rest of the season. But some people don’t like math when it contradicts their opinion.

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    33. Clob:
      I can understand people thinking there’s no way the numbers can improve yet again.I’ve been in that seat every year.I’m not so sure this time though.I continue to see chatter on unrelated boards and people I visit with personally that are still just getting on board and watching the earlier seasons.I don’t believe that the number of those people is outmatched by the people that claim they’re going to quit watching after enjoying the show for most of five seasons.

      There’s also the fact that the series is moving ever closer to the climax.Some shit has already started to hit the fan and it won’t be long before the full bombardment.All the stuff that’s mostly been just talked about is on it’s way.The Night’s King has the largest army the world has ever seen…Jon may become something magical and legendary to even things out between he and the Night’s King… Daenerys’ dragons will be twice as big next season… One has to think that eventually she will also somehow gain control of that massive khalasar we saw in the finale – perhaps becoming Khal Daenerys herself.More warging and mystical stuff with Bran back in the picture…There should be a lot of really cool stuff ahead to really keep that interest high.

      I don’t know about increasing for S6, but S7 (or whenever the finale is) its almost guaranteed. No A Dream of Spring book, for sure, will draw everyone in to see how it all goes down. The last season is going to be the biggest one yet. And I expect with all the cliffhangers, I expect next season to hit the ground running and not have the set up issues this season had.

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    34. Robb Snow,

      I think some people genuinely were turned off by the show because of that one moment, as ridiculous as it sounds. I’m not just talking about The Mary Sue banning all mention of the show on its site, or Claire McKaskill. Chris Orr over at Atlantic went from saying it was the best season yet from 1-5, to basically dismissing it with barely contained contempt since Ep 6. He even didn’t care much for Hardhome and mentions rape and sexual violence on the show whenever he can. He even just wrote a separate article about it listing all the rape in the show, barely mentioning the books (he’s a reader).

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    35. Ravyn,

      I think that says more about Chris Orr and other similar writers than it does the show. He sounds like he’d fit right in over at Westeros.org (if he’s not already a member) and seems more obsessed with rape than the much maligned D&D, who adapted pretty much every rape scene in the show from the books and actually left out quite a few. The “Red Bedding” scene is also from the books, just massively toned down and with a character we already know and care about instead of Jeyne Poole who had a bit role in Season 1. Book readers should already know that though.

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    36. Mr Fixit:
      Deesensfan,

      Sure, it was horrible. But it was also tastefully done; nothing exploitative about it at all. Italso helps that the scene is preceded by an eerily beautiful sequence: the wedding that looks straight out of a dark fairytale. I really believe that those last 10-ish minutes of 5×06 are among the best and most powerful moments of the entire season. A pity that so many seem to disagree and are intent on judging the scene based on completely meta en vogue concerns relating to the wider social justice movement.

      Yeah for my part I was irritated because this confirmed they were turning Sansa simply into Jeyne Poole and obviously giving Reek arc complete supremacy over Alayne arc, and for mine I had been thinking merge the two, eg make Ramsay HtH, turn Manderly’s into Vale soldiers etc

      Now that the season is over I can see what they have done. Still think we could have perhaps had Vale vs Frey soldiers in there, depends if Vale helps northerners rebel next season.

      But between the Shireen burning, and Trant abusing girls there’s an obvious theme revolving around the “destruction of innocence”. This is why children came up all the time which represents the future, eg Karsi’s children placed behind Jon as he approached the Wall, Karsi getting mauled by child Wights and then of course Olly giving Jon the final stab and the future of the Night’s Watch

      In the case of Sansa, Ramsay made a point of making Reek watch the destruction of innocene. We go back to the final scene and what makes Reek finally flip is the fact that Myranda is saying there is nothing Sansa can do to prevent Ramsay from destroying/torturing her

      The Sansa rape scene also made sense going by the “bastard” discussion the following week. The Boltons rely on Sansa’s Stark name to keep the northerners from outright rebellion – there’s a reason they brought in the flaying of Lord Cerwyn while announcing Sansa marriage – this means Sansa brings in a lot of power into the relationship with the Boltons. Added that Ramsay was born a bastard and he has always had to prove himself.

      There’s still the lingering question of the fact that Tommens legitimacy is also in question which I suspect will come up through the Tyrells and Sparrows in S6. This means if there is a rebellion Ramsay Bolton is Ramsay Snow again as northerners won’t recognise the decree etc if KiTN re-instated. Obviously this means there’s a lot of power to Sansa in the relationship, so Ramsay resorts to psychological and sexual abuse to assert supremacy – a terrible scene like many others but one that can be considered to thematically make sense over the whole season

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    37. The Dragon Demands,

      Bullshit. It’s not like people knew what was going to happen in episode 6 when they started watching. And the major drop in episode 7 is 100% Memorial Day’s fault- IIRC the drop there is consistent percentage-wise with the drop in Blackwater which was also shown in Memorial Day.

      The rape had no effect whatsoever on the viewership. Any people that decided to tune out because of it were exchanged by people who were drawn by the controversy.

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    38. Mr Fixit:
      Deesensfan,

      Sure, it was horrible. But it was also tastefully done; nothing exploitative about it at all. Italso helps that the scene is preceded by an eerily beautiful sequence: the wedding that looks straight out of a dark fairytale. I really believe that those last 10-ish minutes of 5×06 are among the best and most powerful moments of the entire season. A pity that so many seem to disagree and are intent on judging the scene based on completely meta en vogue concerns relating to the wider social justice movement.

      And even that rings hollow, considering an outcry only seems to rise with sexual violence directed towards female main character.

      I have not seen anyone calling to boycot the show for depicting how underage girls being sold for violent molestation by Merryn Trant, or Joffrey’s treatment of prostitutes in an earlier season, but – hey – those were minor characters.

      Moreover, as many have pointed out, marital rape already happened to Dany in the very first episodes – why not quit already then?

      I can see some point in the complaint that Sansa’s arc was sacrificed in favour of Theon’s or that she has suffered enough already, but the arguments of justifying not liking the scene by some “wider social justice” movement do not make sense to me. How can the show have gone too far, when it has gone much further before, speaking of disgusting sexual violence?

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    39. jentario,

      Indeed. Also HBO backs D and D one hundred percent. They also likely know quite cynically that certain sorts of controversies can actually be good for their show word of mouth-wise.

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    40. Homplomplom: I have not seen anyone calling to boycot the show for depicting how underage girls being sold for violent molestation by Merryn Trant, or Joffrey’s treatment of prostitutes in an earlier season, but – hey – those were minor characters.

      Not to mention those who claimed that the scene would have been OK if it happened to Jeyne Pool instead of Sansa because “that character is a nobody and we know nothing about her, so that’s cool”.

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    41. The Dragon Demands: Looks like the Sansa/Ramsay wedding night resulted in a nose-dive for the ratings.

      How is that supposed to work? People get offended so they boycotted E7… only to come back in even greater numbers for the last 3 episodes?

      Not much of a boycott, is it?

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    42. Way back D&D said they were only doing seven seasons in part because they saw what happened to other series, people tend to get tired with them. TV Critics know this and I’m pretty sure most of them are trying to judge when the best moment is to turn on the show so it looks like they can navigate the pop culture waters. It’s the exact same pattern that you see in the music world: If something becomes too mainstream, then the hipsters will quickly try to abandon ship. I think that Sansa’s rape scene gave them an out to start hating on the show in the guise of social justice-style reporting (because you really shouldn’t abandon a rape victim, they aren’t broken beyond repair [something she teaches Theon in this case] and the real story of survival begins afterward).

      The trend toward critics dumping on the show started bumming me out until everyone (that I saw in any case) was blown away by Hardhome. Seeing people’s reactions to it online is amazing and a phenomenon you don’t get with current new media favourites like Orange is the New Black (not that I’m slighting that show).

      It was interesting that toward the end I saw some critics go the opposite direction and start to dismiss the critics who had been dumping on the show (NPR ran something, Sonia Saraiya wrote something for Salon). Those people pointed out that even at its worst, GoT is still captivating television. And I think the numbers prove it.

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    43. Beautifully put, Sloosh. GoT’s season-by-season Metacritic ratings have gone 80, 90, 91, 94, 91. Now, how many people really think season four was the best, and season one the worst? What these numbers actually represent is delayed recognition of the show’s place within the pop culture zeitgeist. So you can be sure next year’s result will be lower, and that this will be a reflection on the series just past, rather than the one that’s actually being reviewed.

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    44. sloosh,

      I think the show passing the books and condensing storylines gave a lot of book fans a reason to hate on the show, despite the fact that the quality was the same as the past seasons.

      It is really sad how people watch to tear things down when they get too popular. It’s as if people just can’t be happy. They want either redemption or misery.

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    45. Season 5 having a .03 Million increase from Season 4 doesn’t really tell the whole story.

      1) Memorial Day skewed Season 5 average lower. +7 day numbers showed fans eventually watched it before the next episode aired.
      2) HBO Now took away some fans from the initial airing.

      My guess is that Episode 1 of Season 6 will be the most watched episode yet. Just too much mystery surrounding Jon Snow. Then we will see a big dip mid season as fans watch it on their own schedule.

      As a little factoid, HBO has never seen a show peak as late as season 5 for any of their dramas. Of course series finales not included as those always skew everything.

      I really hope we only have about 2 more seasons. It certainly needs to end while it is still hot.

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    46. The Bastard,

      Except the quality wasn’t the same as previous seasons. The lackluster reaction to this season isn’t just coming from book readers, it is perceived as the worst season by the majority of unsullied viewers too.

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    47. Deesensfan,

      “Sophie is an angel” you earned my respect
      And about that scene there was all sorts of wrong arguments about it( in some cases childish) but one that painfully annoyed me : “they made it about theon” absolutely nonsense i mean seriously some even went further ( after mother’s mercy) and that finale scene and said that the whole arc was about theon. as i mentioned before story of people not understand sansa is very old anyway you definitely earned my respect with that bit

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    48. Ravyn:
      Robb Snow,

      I think some people genuinely were turned off by the show because of that one moment, as ridiculous as it sounds. I’m not just talking about The Mary Sue banning all mention of the show on its site, or Claire McKaskill. Chris Orr over at Atlantic went from saying it was the best season yet from 1-5, to basically dismissing it with barely contained contempt since Ep 6. He even didn’t care much for Hardhome and mentions rape and sexual violence on the show whenever he can. He even just wrote a separate article about it listing all the rape in the show, barely mentioning the books (he’s a reader).

      I’ve got one word for you (I’ve been using it a lot lately): BANDWAGONING.

      These guys say what is cool or expected or “in” at the moment. A bunch of these people like to think of themselves as progressives and are waiting with bated breath to jump on a currently controversial topic (these days it’s sexual violence; tomorrow it’ll be something completely different) to demonstrate how forward-thinking and liberal they are.

      And of course, it inevitably leads to silly incongruities: at mid-season they think the show is bloody fantastic and then they change their minds a full 180 because of an episode or two — or more accurately, because of several scenes in those one or two episodes.

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    49. JamesL:

      Except the quality wasn’t the same as previous seasons. The lackluster reaction to this season isn’t just coming from book readers, it is perceived as the worst season by the majority of unsullied viewers too.

      And the metric you use to establish this incontrovertible truth is…? Ratings? IMDb scores? Metacritic? Something else?

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    50. JamesL:
      The Bastard,

      Except the quality wasn’t the same as previous seasons. The lackluster reaction to this season isn’t just coming from book readers, it is perceived as the worst season by the majority of unsullied viewers too.

      Haters gonna hate.

      I did a marathon of the first 4 seasons before this season started. I also just finished episodes 1-5 of season 5 for a re-watch. There is no change in quality. The actors are still top notch. The cinematography has improved slightly. The writing is still character driven and on point. The show has gotten a bigger special effects budget and their battle scenes are much more epic. That is about it.

      I think what happens is that people just remember all of the great points of the previous seasons and then expect future seasons to be nothing but memorable scenes. And yet if you actually watch the previous seasons again, they have the same highs and lows as season 5 does. There are some slow spots and some amazing spots.

      Sort of reminds me how people compared the Christopher Nolan Batman Trilogy to the Tim Burton movies. I have seen a vocal fanbase talk about how great the Burton movies were compared to the Nolan ones. This works in ones own mind. But if you actually watch the Tim Burton movies now, they aren’t even close to what is being made today for comic book movies.

      Sometimes the mind plays trick with nostalgia. And it certainly does that with a longer running series like GoT. Go back and watch Season 1. Arya and Joffrey near the river is some of the worst of the series. The Hounds makeup in episode one looks horrible. They didn’t even have the budget to show Rob Stark in battle.

      The show has improved. Too bad people just want to bring good things down instead of appreciating what is truly the best television show in history.

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    51. Mr Fixit,

      Man you spoke my heart i can’t describe the brilliance of those finale sequences sansa is my top favorite and her arc along with jon and cersei were the best this season

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    52. JamesL,

      “Except the quality wasn’t the same as previous seasons”

      http://graphtv.kevinformatics.com/tt0944947

      Based on this Season 5 wasn’t rated any lower than the previous seasons

      No mater how hard some of here try the fact is season 5 has never suffered the critical backlash that they seem to want to believe it did. It had a controversial episode 6 but even that episode wasn’t rated any lower than Season 2 episode 2 “The Night Lands” on imdb

      season 5 episodes have not really been rated any lower than the other Seasons and season 3 had way more low rated episodes than season 5 did.

      P.S If you want to know what a Hated season looks like
      Take a look at season 2 of Heroes lol

      http://graphtv.kevinformatics.com/tt0813715

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    53. The Bastard: Haters gonna hate.
      Arya and Joffrey near the river is some of the worst of the series.

      Really? I rewatched the whole thing before season 5 and still love that scene. For me virtually any scene with Shae in is the worst of the series (closely followed by Robb & Talisa), but I know that’s very subjective.

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    54. rex,

      IMDB doesn’t mean anything, the standards get lower every year. Look at some of the great episodes from the past ratings- A Golden Crown- 8.5(would certainly be 9+ if aired today), The Pointy End- 8.2, Baelor- 9.0, Fire and Blood- 8.8, Blackwater- 9.2, Kissed by Fire- 8.2, Second Sons- 8.2, all these episodes would rate far higher if aired today. Now compare those great episodes to some of the episode ratings this season – House of Black and White- 8.5, High Sparrow- 8.6, Sons of the Harpy- 8.6, Kill the Boy- 8.6. obliviously the standards for ratings are getting lower and IMDB continues to become more fanboy oriented. Despite what IMDB ratings may imply the consensus from viewers, reader or nonreader alike, was that this season was the worst. That doen’t mean it was bad, it just wasn’t as good as previous years.

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    55. As a person who’s very much in the D&D apologist camp, I have to agree with JamesL. IMDB ratings are good for comparing episodes within a given season, but there has clearly been grade inflation as the seasons have progressed. I never thought it realistic to expect that the standards the show set in its first two seasons would be maintained in the middle part of its run (hopefully the climax will be another matter). And so they haven’t been – but they’ve come closer than I dared hope, and I’m more than satisfied with that.

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    56. No one should take IMDb scores as gospel; I myself don’t particularly care for them. I am only interested in James’ metric by which he ascertained that there’s a consensus that Season 5 is GoT’s worst season. I hope there is more to go on than ‘he said, she said’, courtesy of Internet. For example, I’ve heard many say that Season 2 is still their least favourite. Is there a reliable system we can use to determine which camp prevails?

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    57. JamesL,

      “IMDB doesn’t mean anything”

      Ok than here are other user and critics reviews from other sites

      (Episode 1 The Wars to Come)

      Rottentomates Critics score = 100
      TV.com user score = 8.4
      AV. club user score = B+

      (Episode 2 The House of Black and White)

      Rottentomates Critics score = 96
      TV.com user score = 8.5
      AV. club user score = B+

      (Episode 3 High Sparrow)

      Rottentomates Critics score = 100
      TV.com user score = 8.3
      AV. club user score = B+

      (Episode 4 Sons of the Harpy)

      Rottentomates Critics score = 100
      TV.com user score = 8.2
      AV. club user score = B+

      (Episode 5 Kill the Boy)

      Rottentomates Critics score = 100
      TV.com user score = 8.2
      AV. club user score = B+

      (Episode 6 Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken)

      Rottentomates Critics score = 58
      TV.com user score = 7.2
      AV. club user score = C+

      (Episode 7 The Gift)

      Rottentomates Critics score = 91
      TV.com user score = 8.2
      AV. club user score = B+

      (Episode 8 Hardhome)

      Rottentomates Critics score = 100
      TV.com user score = 9.6
      AV. club user score = A

      (Episode 9 The Dance of Dragons)

      Rottentomates Critics score = 88
      TV.com user score = 8.7
      AV. club user score = B+

      (Episode 10 Mother’s Mercy)

      Rottentomates Critics score = 97
      TV.com user score = 8.0
      AV. club user score = B+

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    58. Mr Fixit:
      No one should take IMDb scores as gospel; I myself don’t particularly care for them. I am only interested in James’ metric by which he ascertained that there’s a consensus that Season 5 is GoT’s worst season. I hope there is more to go on than ‘he said, she said’, courtesy of Internet. For example, I’ve heard many say that Season 2 is still their least favourite. Is there a reliable system we can use to determine which camp prevails?

      Probably not – but a poll conducted by this website might be interesting.

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    59. Mr Fixit,

      Game of thrones is the best thing in the history of TV and i can’t think of anything that can be better in future and season 5 was no exception the only problem with this season was the lack of proper screen time for dorne

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    60. JamesL,

      The past episodes ratings all went down last year sometime because a bunch of trolls bombed them with ‘1’s. Look at the breakdowns where most of those episodes show a 4 or 5 average for US viewers. That is in no way accurate.

      That said, I’m also curious to know where this supposed ‘consensus’ is coming from. I doubt you’ve talked to a majority of the 19 million domestic viewers, much less those of us overseas.

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    61. Sergei Walankov: Probably not – but a poll conducted by this website might be interesting.

      Basically in any poll ignore the 1s and 10s to eliminate vote bombing either way….

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    62. Arya Havin’ a Larf?: Basically in any poll ignore the 1s and 10sto eliminate vote bombing either way….

      That’s not true from a statistical perspective. Should the 10’s be ignored for an episode like Hardhome? Probably not.

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    63. Arya Havin’ a Larf?,

      Dropping outliers just because is bad analysis. If the 1 or 10 is an error in voting, maybe. Otherwise just do the analysis with the outliers and then without. Explain why you chose to ignore the extremes in the one where you dropped them.

      To take the example above for Hardhome: a 10 might not be an actual outlier as the volume of votes for the 10 will probably be high and closer to the mean and median. 1 for Hardhome may be an outlier for that ep. Haven’t heard of anyone complaining it was so horrible they would scrap the ep from the season yet (that would be a 1 vote IMO).

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    64. From a statistical perspective, we probably want the median rather than the mean. That way very high and low votes still count, but they don’t distort the result.

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    65. Season 5 has been my least favorite season so far. Dorne was too poorly executed and the show didn’t seem as consistent throughout the entire season and episodes when it comes to overall quality. For example the very poor execution of certain fight scenes. This season felt more like a rollercoaster this time around which left a bit of an aftertaste in my mouth. I’m not going to fault them for some of the minor cgi mishaps because I think it’s brilliant what they manage to do on a TV show budget.

      I truly hope they get their shit together for season 6 though and deliver a concistent quality as they did precious seasons. I don’t wanna see a scene anymore that reeks of sloppyness.

      With that said, I do think there will be a slight increase in viewership next year. Especially if they make HBO more and more accessible. My prediction is a small increase for the first two episodes and depending on what they bring to the table there could be a slight to a sizable drop mid-season with another huge rise of viewership for the last 2 or 3 episodes.

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    66. Rafael: Yeah. 99% of the time movie adaptations suck.

      That is hardly the case. However, movies necessarily are limited in how many protagonists they can do. The Lord of the Rings has no protagonists, so that was not tough. Harry Potter has only one protagonist, so it was possible to make good movies from those. However, Thrones has at least 5 important protagonists, and another 5 fairly important protagonists. You cannot do that on screen.

      Mr Fixit: No one should take IMDb scores as gospel; I myself don’t particularly care for them.

      IMDB scores do predict over 80% of the variance in ticket sales for subsequent films in movie series. Other people have shown correlations between IMDB and ratings shifts in TV series, too. They are not “gospel” but they do reflect audiences.

      Sergei Walankov: From a statistical perspective, we probably want the median rather than the mean. That way very high and low votes still count, but they don’t distort the result.

      This is true for most things. For example, the median of IMDB rankings probably is the most informative aspect for general audience summaries: often when people dislike something, they really dislike it.

      For ratings, the first and last episodes probably tell the story, particularly for series like this. Basically, everyone who watched the last episode saw every other episode. Thus, the myth of a big drop in viewership after the Sansa episode is falsified by the ratings to conclude the season: just about everybody that watched the premiere watched every single episode along the way. (Sorry The Dragon Demands!)

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    67. Sergei Walankov: Probably not – but a poll conducted by this website might be interesting.

      I actually played with that for the Harry Potter films years ago. As I noted above, IMDB and Box Office Mojo audience marks did great jobs of predicting how the next Harry Potter film would do. So did the rankings by Harry Potter fans on a couple of HP website. The difference? The higher the rankings on IMDB and BOM, the better the ticket sales of the next film; the higher the rankings by Harry Potter fans, the lower than ticket sales of the next film!

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    68. My take on all the Season 5 hubaloo …

      Season 4 is widely considered to be the best GoT season, yet it included these:

      The Jamie-Cersei “rape scene that wasn’t actually a rape”
      The aborted Yara “rescue” scene
      The “bug-smashing” monologue by Tyrion
      Fireballs from the Children of the Forest

      Four of the most maligned scenes in GoT’s history all happened in Season 4, yet from an overall perspective it was perhaps the best season. Why? Because one or two scenes do not a season make. It’s the whole picture, and GoT Season 4 was flipping awesome!

      The same is true of Season 5. Yes, Dorne was overall weak, and the Sansa rape scene hit a few raw nerves, but overall Season 5 was really flipping good.

      My personal ranking of the season goes like this:

      4 > 1 > 5 > 3 > 2

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    69. Josh L.: Four of the most maligned scenes in GoT’s history all happened in Season 4,

      Three of those scenes were maligned only by book fans. Jaime raping Cersei was criticized by a wider group of people and by some book fans (even though it was pretty much straight from the book). But the general audience had no problem with Tyrion’s bug-smashing monologue and there is no reason why they would not have had problems with the Children’s fireballs. (They would have had a huge problems had the Children managed to immolate the wights with torches, as everyone but fantasy fans knows that it’s actually really, really hard to get corpses burning!)

      Again, what the thousands and thousands of SoI&F fans feel and think is completely drowned out by what the millions and millions of GoT feel and think.

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    70. Christ, people are still going on over the jaime-cersei “rape”? She said “it’s not right”, how much clearer can you make it that she feels she has to pretend to object because of the situation, not because of the act. Objection doesn’t get much weaker than that.

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    71. BlackTalon: She said “it’s not right”, how much clearer can you make it that she feels she has to pretend to object because of the situation, not because of the act. Objection doesn’t get much weaker than that.

      If you are referring to the books, Cersei also strikes Jaime repeatedly trying to stop him. However, Jaime was only dimly aware of it even happening. (It is told from Jaime’s PoV, as Cersei was not yet a PoV character when it happens.)

      But this is a case where the “controversy” was a true controversy: non-fans were talking about it. The other examples are comparable to, say, Sirius Black never telling Harry that he, Remus and Harry’s dad made the Marauder’s Map in the 3rd Harry Potter film. Harry Potter fans routinely labeled this a “controversial decision” and film-after-film said that this would be the film where they would have to tell us this vital piece of information. However, it was a non-issue to non-readers: it was just another magical device.

      99 times out of 100, it will be like that: what pre-existing fans call controversial, nobody else notices because nobody else cares about differences between the books and the films/shows. However, GoT has provided more than one legitimate controversy, and as often from following the books as from not following them.

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    72. Mr Fixit:
      No one should take IMDb scores as gospel; I myself don’t particularly care for them. I am only interested in James’ metric by which he ascertained that there’s a consensus that Season 5 is GoT’s worst season. I hope there is more to go on than ‘he said, she said’, courtesy of Internet. For example, I’ve heard many say that Season 2 is still their least favourite. Is there a reliable system we can use to determine which camp prevails?

      No, there’s really not, at least in any realistic world. Every internet poll (and really, any poll) isn’t random. By definition, most of the people who vote on these things aren’t representative of the general population. Because of that, everything is skewed — and not just by the crazy fans either way but also the ones we portray as reasonable — who are also big enough fans to bother voting.

      (In another bit of not-scientific voting, I know 40 or so people who watch GoT, including some who do a podcast, and none of them vote on episodes anywhere).

      In some ways, critic reviews might actually be best, simply because they are forced to “vote” – no opt in here — but it’s clear from this season we’re not talking quality but controversy in their rankings. So, eh.

      Even amongst us crazies, I think it’s suspect to listen to a few loud people. I certainly didn’t think this season was incredibly well executed, but I would really need to go back to see if I really hated Dorne as much as “Where are my dragons?!”

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