Game of Thrones season five premiere sets new overnight viewership records in the US and the UK

The numbers are high!

The numbers are high!

Here is the number we have all been waiting for! Except for those cheeseboying over White Rat instead, naturally. The first hour of Game of Thrones season five was seen by 7,997,000 people. That rounds up to 8 million, but the show has not made the eight just yet. Another 0.7 million saw the 11 PM repeat, for a night total of 8.7 million. The Nielsen demographic rating itself also set a record with 4.2 (for what it is worth).

I am happy to see that there was another big increase between seasons, even if we are in season five already. The viewership increased by 17 % from the premiere of season four, and the previous record (7.20 million) has been improved by 11 %.

Game of Thrones set new records on the premiere night in the UK as well. The reported number is 1.57 million viewers, which represents a 6.7 % share of the audience, 29 % higher than last years opening.

108 responses

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    1. HBO Now worked really well too. I was expecting some issues. HBO Go didn’t work great during premieres and I sometimes waited until Monday after work to watch instead. But Now worked great.

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    2. No to brag or anything, but I called it! 😀
      I wonder how higher would the ratings have been if there weren’t any leaks.

      9.000.000 for episode 5!

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    3. Yeah, for all the whining and moaning of some book purists who claim they will quit watching the show, this really shows what a tiny proportion of the audience they really represent.

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    4. Wasn’t this the year that definitely the ratings would go down? Or was that season four? I can’t remember. It’s like an annual celebration of absolutely stupid doomsday predictions!

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    5. Wow. I’ll be interested to see at the end of the season what the total viewership will be across all platforms, including HBO Now.

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    6. Great news! Glad that the leaks don’t seem to have affected the figures too badly, though I guess if it weren’t for the leaks we would have seen 8million+ comfortably.

      Speaking of the leaks…. I’m afraid the premiere tempted me too much and I have now watched episode 2. SO WORTH IT. Superb episode, much tighter than the premiere and I think one of D&D’s most well written episodes.

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    7. Watch it, people! No discussion of leaked episodes, spoiler-coded or not! This is not the place (and time, wait for the open chat post later this week). We’ll be strict about it.

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    8. JamesL:
      davy,

      No, the shows ratings have never risen that much during the season or even in-between seasons.

      Keep in mind though, that the bigger the show gets the more people will be inclined to watch it. Every season has gotten more extra viewers then the previous if I am not mistaken. I am not sure what the growth was in season 1 and 2 but I remember the growth between 2 and 3 was even bigger. So it might be possible.

      Although I think HBO is already more then happy with the amouth of viewers they have right now.

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    9. Excellent numbers, great news for HBO and GoT. Nine million, max, could be a possibility.

      Nice to see the UK has finally joined in the GoT world fandom. There wasn’t much attention when the series started airing there.

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    10. Now TV online worked OK for me last night with no issues. The only downer is the ad breaks as GoT episodes are not created in a 3 act structure like most TV shows to cater for them, so they feel really intrusive.

      Better on the ad free Catch-up service – if one can wait to watch them!

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    11. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      I have also watched episode 2, I didn’t want to, but lets just say some of my friends don’t know when to keep their mouths shut. Nonetheless, I will be watching episode 2 again next week. I hope other people will do that too.

      Talking of which, has HBO had any announcement regarding the leaks? I hope they’ll be extra careful next season, since we’ll all be Unsullied then, just imagine how much worse would have been if the first 4 episodes of season 6 would have leaked.

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    12. RAISE A GLASS OF FUCKING DORNISH WINE!

      Great news! As one lives in NI without access to Sky Atlantic, one must find other ways to watch the show but I am very glad the viewers increased! I’m not going into prediction territory yet as I believe S5 will be the make or break season, in my opinion. But with Game of Thrones performing better in the second half of the season and if leaks are avoided, I’m feeling optimistic.

      Long may it reign!

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    13. They totally deserve it Season 5 is simply incredible so far.

      I watch them legally to support HBO, but I did see the leaks. All the episodes are literally masterful

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    14. Balerion The Cat,

      My local radio news station mentioned the HBO leaks this morning. It’s possible ABC World News broadcast (with David Muir) might even talk about it tonight; the show sometimes covers major pop culture/media news.

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    15. Better than I thought. Would be even more interesting to see HBO Now and total viewership numbers.

      I wonder if HBO Nordic are willing to release some numbers on how many watched it during the night here.

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    16. I’ve never, ever known a show like GoT. Not just in terms of just how bloody good it is, but in terms of its popularity and the fact it is just an unstoppable force of nature. Even BB or the Sopranos etc. never got this much hype or had near this much money put into it.

      This is truly the golden age of television.

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    17. Wow! Quite surprised i had expected numbers to stay about equal. We ll see how the numbers develop. I doubt the leaked eps will have much effect at all. I havent watched them but if i would i would still watch it again later and i think many think the same way. For me quality is too low (checked it) and i dont want to wait a month though 😉

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    18. Thank you for your cooperation, everyone 🙂 I appreciate it.

      I had to cut off part of your comment, dob. Really, don’t reveal plotlines. Saying it’s great is enough.

      I guess we’ll have to see if there’s a sharp uptick with episode five – that could suggest that the leak suppressed the viewership numbers.

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    19. Hear Marko Roar:
      Thank you for your cooperation, everyone I appreciate it.

      I guess we’ll have to see if there’s a sharp uptick with episode five – that could suggest that the leak suppressed the viewership numbers.

      am betting on it…..
      9mill is the goal..

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    20. Moles town bastard:
      Flora Linden,

      Got has been the biggest cable show in the uk since day 1!!!!!!

      Oh, OK, sorry about that, heh.

      I live in the US, but I read UK news websites like BBC and such, and back when GoT started airing I didn’t see much articles about the show posted in any of those sites. It was about Season 3 when news items starting featuring more prominently. So to me it seemed like not much attention was being paid in the UK until recently.

      Good that it’s done well since the beginning.

      🙂

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    21. Excellent news! I’m very pleased to see the live viewing numbers remain strong and continue to increase. Another series high! I expect it won’t be the last this season, and might be topped as soon as next week. The cumulative total of viewers across all platforms should continue to rise as well, setting the bar for HBO’s most-watched show even higher.

      As for the leaked episodes, I don’t doubt that they had a modest effect on the live viewership numbers (maybe the initial airing would have cleared 8 million if this hadn’t happened). But they clearly didn’t facilitate the sort of disastrous collapse that some of the more pessimistic voices out there were predicting. I have no proof of this, but I expect that a lot of the people who watched the premiere online before it officially aired were people who would have pirated the episode anyway. And, as is always the case on the Internet, we need to be careful to place things in their proper perspective. There are probably a significant number of less plugged-in viewers who still have no idea that the episodes are available somewhere on the web, and who wouldn’t dare try to access them if they did.

      The next few weeks will be interesting. I know that there are many well-intentioned viewers out there who have already watched the next three episodes, either to protect themselves from spoilers or because they simply couldn’t wait to see what happens next (Personally, I have not seen the leaked episodes yet. I won’t deny that I’m tempted, but I intend to abstain from them as long as possible). Among those who have seen Episodes 2-4, there may be a few who don’t feel the need to tune in for the next three weeks. But I suspect that many people will watch tune in live to watch the episode again anyway, and the fluctuation in the overall viewership numbers will be minimal.

      And even if there is a slight drop in live viewership in the next three weeks, it may not have any correlation with this unfortunate business at all. In all four previous seasons, the second episode has taken a slight dip from the premiere before rebounding to hit a new series high later in the season. I expect that trend to continue this year.

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    22. dob

      The only downside to episode 4 was that it made the first 3 look ‘uneventful’. It felt like too much good stuff all at one time, but i’m sure that after i watch the rest of the season it won’t feel like that anymore.

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    23. Yes! Hurrah!

      barry: I doubt the leaked eps will have much effect at all. I havent watched them but if i would i would still watch it again later and i think many think the same way.

      Exactly. There is NO WAY I am not watching the episodes in HD on TV, even though I have watched the leaked ones.
      Also? Each episode has some spectacular scenes – impossible to decide which is the best.

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    24. Kay,

      Practically every scene was spectacular and every actor spectacular in all 4 episodes IMO. I will absolutely watch them in HD

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    25. I have watched the first 4 episodes and I will rewatch them on HBO. My money that will go to HBO will help GOT as well. I’m mean bigger budget etc. So far this is BY FAR the best season yet. Episode one was a little bit slow, but still good. The next three are incredible. Overall this is the best season yet.

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    26. HelloThere,

      I completely agree. Also, GoT is, more than anything, a visual masterpiece. HD makes everything so much better.
      I have watched the end of Episode 2 so many times now; my favorite character makes one of his/her rare appearances and IT IS SPECTACULAR! 😉 Waiting to see that in HD!

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    27. Moles town bastard:
      Flora Linden,

      Don’t worry bout it flora the bbc would never promote a series on Sky Atlantic

      There is some stuff hidden away on chat shows, for example Sophie and Maisie were both on ‘The One Show’ last year, and Maisie has been on BBC radio programmes.

      Much more in the newspapers online and printed.

      Sky Atlantic is premium I believe so you have to pay extra above the basic Sky subscription ( which is too expensive for me ). It has a very small audience reach of 3.6 million (out of 54 million), so nearly half the people who have the channel must watch GOT!

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    28. Lovely news. I wouldn’t be surprised if the leaks effect the ratings for 502, 503 and 504 though since there’ll have been much more time for people to know they’re online. Still, watching the pirated versions and watching it on TV or HBO Now aren’t mutually exclusive. Quite a few people do both. Nothing beats seeing it all in 1080p after all and the leaks are pretty low quality in comparison.

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    29. Arya havin’ a larf?,

      Exactly! Sky Atlantic is more or less the equivalent to HBO, not every household has it, so it’s all the more impressive that the episode was watched by that many viewers. As a result, the piracy levels for GoT are insane in the UK as evidenced by it being the number 1 country in the world to download the leaked eps ha!

      It’s huge here, I think the viewer total for the live transmission doesn’t fully convey it.

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    30. Yep, just watched episode 4 and it is also excellent. I can’t decide which is best out of 2-4, they are all sensational! Easily the best piece-setting episodes of the series so far, and the merging of storylines makes for a much more focused and balanced pace that I am loving so far. The flow is smooth as silk. This is where I can really appreciate D&D’s decision to excise and combine many of the Feast/Dance storylines. Of course I would love to see every storyline and character from the books on screen but hey, I guess now I can just look forward to the books even more to get the “full” story, sort of like an extended edition!

      Just please for the love of R’hllor give me a Davos-Manderly/Greatjon scene!

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    31. I can only imagine how high it’ll be when we all reach the fifth week. Although I couldn’t help myself knowing there were the leaks, at least we can all re-watch the first four episodes with higher quality on TV and of course we would, to support the show’s viewership.

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    32. Lex,

      Again, this comes down to numbers of people. No doubt thousands and even 10’s of thousands of fans heard about the leak. However, there is no way that millions did: most of the viewers just do not have time to pay that much attention, never mind actually follow up on it.

      Moreover, the type of people who would pursue leaked episodes are going to be heavily and non-randomly drawn from the “pirate” crowd, anyway: they went from one untallied pool to another!

      The other thing to remember is: most of the viewers really like the show, but they are not so obsessed that they’d go that far out of their way for it! After all, they already are paying for it.

      Regardless, it is good to see that the continual killing off of popular characters has not hurt the show: Oberyn, Tywin and Shae were big pluses for the show. (I probably am forgetting an important death or two, too!) However, people clearly are intrigued enough by the general stories and plots (and by the cast of characters driving the stories and plots) that they not only come back, but they are joining.

      This year represents GRRM’s most ambitious story to date. If the show does it justice, then we might see yet another bump in 12 months. (I have to think that they are going to have to start getting smaller, though: this must be close saturation!)

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    33. The leaks were piss poor low quality, who in their right mind wants to watch the glorious majesty of GOT in anything other than High Def?

      These numbers reflect this, which is awesome. Despite having immediate access to the leaks, I haven’t watched them though, and I won’t. Because fuck low quality. GOT deserves to be watched only in the best possible format.

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    34. Jared:
      Personally, I have not seen the leaked episodes yet. I won’t deny that I’m tempted, but I intend to abstain from them as long as possible.

      How often do you subject yourself to unpleasant or trying experiences? You know, this type of behavior is called masochism. If you find yourself enjoying such experiences, then you really should avoid the leaked episodes. If not, well, then you know what to do ‘n where to get the stuff. You can do/have both, you can watch the pirated episodes ‘n pay HBO TV subscription or HBO streaming service. I think HBO doesn’t mind you watching pre-released stuff as long as you’re subscribed to HBO.

      Archmaester,

      So far pretty dynamic show. Protagonists move from scene to scene quite fast. Unbelievable fast.

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    35. Uknow0,

      If people are choosing not to watch the leaked episodes, that is their choice, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with making that choice.

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    36. dob,

      Episode 5 will air on May 10, which is Mother’s Day in the United States. Ratings usually are lower (at least for the initial airing) on this day, and I’d expect the trend to continue this time around, despite the leak.

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    37. I don’t know if it was a regional thing in the US, or if it was nationwide, but HBO had a free weekend for the premiere. My family and I were pleasantly surprised that we didn’t have to hook our computer up to the tv to watch through HBO Now (at least for one week!). The numbers are freaking fantastic, but I wonder if they’ll dip a bit in the US for S05E02 because of this. I’m optimistic, but it might come into play

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    38. Uknow0,

      Hey, what’s life without a little masochism? Suffering builds character! (Not necessarily good character. Just ask the Artist Formerly Known as Theon Greyjoy). 😉

      In all seriousness, the reason that I haven’t watched the leaked episodes yet has nothing to do with any kind of moral objection to leaks or piracy, or concerns about hurting the show’s viewership (even if I did watch the leaked episodes, I would still watch them again live on Sunday). It has to do with the rhythm that I’ve developed for watching Game of Thrones during each new season, which greatly contributes to my enjoyment of the show.

      I watch each new episode twice on Sunday night, separating the viewings with something light and refreshing (currently Silicon Valley, Veep, and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver). Then, over the next few days, I discuss the episode in several venues: in person with my family and friends, and online with my fellow fans – primarily the ones who frequent this particular community. In my free time I read, watch, and listen to a number of written reviews, video recaps, and podcasts from critics and fans of the show that I trust in order to get their perspective. Then, later in the week, I’ll watch the episode again, soaking it in and looking for any small details that I may have missed, or lines of dialogue that I particularly love. And of course, throughout it all, I follow Watchers on the Wall religiously. 🙂 By the time the next Sunday rolls around, I feel like I’ve done my due diligence on the previous episode and I’m ready for a new one.

      The communal experience of watching Game of Thrones is a major part of the reason why I love this show so damn much. To be sure, it would still be my favorite show on TV by a significant margin even without that added layer of discourse. But the level of conversation and hype surrounding this show makes every episode feel like an event, and I want to celebrate each installment equally. Unfortunately, the nature of the leaked episodes means that opportunities for discussion surrounding them are somewhat limited (e.g. we can’t discuss them in detail here at WOTW, and for good reason).

      I’m not condemning anyone who watched the leaked episodes already – they sound incredible, and I’m jealous in many respects. But I’m not quite ready to move on from “The Wars to Come” just yet. Spoilers aren’t a concern for me – I’m already aware of many of the plot elements that happen in the first four episodes because I’m a fiend for filming and casting news during the offseason. But once the season actually begins, I want to savor every moment of anticipation and discussion during these next 10 weeks and enjoy what few surprises remain (performances, character beats, visuals, etc). Because before we know it, the season will be over, and it will be a long, dark wait for the next one. If I can help it, I’d rather not cut that ride short – even temporarily.

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    39. Ser Matt the Sullen:
      The leaks were piss poor low quality, who in their right mind wants to watch the glorious majesty of GOT in anything other than High Def?

      This! Some people asked me why I refuse to watch the leaked eps online… and all I say is that GoT is more like a film and to truly do it justice I watch it like I’m in the cinema. HD TV, Headphones, no lights (Like a theatre) are what I use. Forget shitty quality, buffering videos, I want to GoT in all its glory.

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    40. Bloody hell, reading some of the comments on here has somehow managed to get me even more hyped for this season! So glad to hear that the episodes get better and better, and that episode 4 is among people’s favorites ever. Bring on the rest of the season!! Whoop!

      I don’t normally get this excitable, but I just can’t help myself when it comes to GoT.

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    41. Chimeny:
      Bloody hell, reading some of the comments on here has somehow managed to get me even more hyped for this season! So glad to hear that the episodes get better and better,and that episode 4 is among people’s favorites ever. Bring on the rest of the season!! Whoop!

      I don’t normally get this excitable, but I just can’t help myself when it comes to GoT.

      ramins music is better than ever. beginning of
      ep2!!!!….

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    42. dob,

      No way are 1 million people who otherwise would be watching pirated the leaked episode. The numbers will be in the 10’s of thousands.

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    43. WeirwoodTreeHugger:
      Great news! Seems all the predictions that the show will fail as it diverges from the books because even unsullied will detect the hackery of D&D was pure bs.As I knew it was.

      I don’t think the show has any chance of financially failing (unless it goes well past 7 seasons) and I doubt D&D “ruin” it (I am more skeptical than most of many of the changes but they are talented men in their own right)….

      …but if it were true, S5E1 ratings would not be an indication of that in any way. It would show up more in the ratings of Season 6 and 7 than anywhere.

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    44. dob,

      Funnily enough I’m listening to the episode 2 end credit music (But I have no idea what happens in the episode though) and I can’t stop hitting the replay button. Ramin is a genius, so I’m looking forward to hearing this piece at the start of ep 2.

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    45. Great to hear, the show seems to add a million between seasons

      Perhaps this suggests their strategy of releasing Blu Rays and DVD’s in the build-up rather than at Christmas (somewhat irritatingly) does make a difference

      Another issue is that there is so much piracy, think Australia gets like 4 million an episode which was about 1/5 of our population lol

      Point is, half the challenge is not so much getting “new” viewers as such it’s about converting as many unofficial viewers into official ones which is why the strong performance of HBO Now in streaming the show is encouraging as well

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    46. On the creative side, the more “mainstream” it gets I wonder if the more “dumbed down” it gets and focuses on shock violence and nudity

      It was good when it delved into Machiavellian politics (Tyrion vs Cersei in S2 for example, the scene where he outs Pycelle as the spy is still my favourite)

      Then there’s the spiritual/religious/occult aspect which seems to have been totally driven out, don’t seem to have covered that since the comet and Quaithe/Pyat Pree in season 2. I don’t count Bran at BR’s cave with fireball throwing CoTF,

      Instead we seem to have Lancel acting like a brainwashed nut and I hope that’s not how they are portraying the Sparrows, they totally took the mystery out of Joffreys poisoning, and they are just blurting it out now ala Lysa with “Jons wine”

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    47. Darthnixa:
      I’m not quitting the show to spite you or HBO. I’m quitting because I don’t like it anymore.
      Jeb,

      But you’ll still come to a website to read about the show and comment. 🙂

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    48. Maybe I’m missing something but… this leak thing won’t hurt HBO that much, right?
      I mean, yea some drops from numbers expected but that channel does not air commercial after all

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    49. Jared:
      Uknow0,

      Hey, what’s life without a little masochism? Suffering builds character! (Not necessarily good character. Just ask the Artist Formerly Known as Theon Greyjoy).

      In all seriousness, the reason that I haven’t watched the leaked episodes yet has nothing to do with any kind of moral objection to leaks or piracy, or concerns about hurting the show’s viewership (even if I did watch the leaked episodes, I would still watch them again live on Sunday). It has to do with the rhythm that I’ve developed for watching Game of Thrones during each new season, which greatly contributes to my enjoyment of the show.

      I watch each new episode twice on Sunday night, separating the viewings with something light and refreshing (currently Silicon Valley, Veep, and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver). Then, over the next few days, I discuss the episode in several venues: in person with my family and friends, and online with my fellow fans – primarily the ones who frequent this particular community. In my free time I read, watch, and listen to a number of written reviews, video recaps, and podcasts from critics and fans of the show that I trust in order to get their perspective. Then, later in the week, I’ll watch the episode again, soaking it in and looking for any small details that I may have missed, or lines of dialogue that I particularly love. And of course, throughout it all, I follow Watchers on the Wall religiously. By the time the next Sunday rolls around, I feel like I’ve done my due diligence on the previous episode and I’m ready for a new one.

      The communal experience of watching Game of Thrones is a major part of the reason why I love this show so damn much. To be sure, it would still be my favorite show on TV by a significant margin even without that added layer of discourse. But the level of conversation and hype surrounding this show makes every episode feel like an event, and I want to celebrate each installment equally. Unfortunately, the nature of the leaked episodes means that opportunities for discussion surrounding them are somewhat limited (e.g. we can’t discuss them in detail here at WOTW, and for good reason).

      I’m not condemning anyone who watched the leaked episodes already – they sound incredible, and I’m jealous in many respects. But I’m not quite ready to move on from “The Wars to Come” just yet. Spoilers aren’t a concern for me – I’m already aware of many of the plot elements that happen in the first four episodes because I’m a fiend for filming and casting news during the offseason. But once the season actually begins, I want to savor every moment of anticipation and discussion during these next 10 weeks and enjoy what few surprises remain (performances, character beats, visuals, etc). Because before we know it, the season will be over, and it will be a long, dark wait for the next one. If I can help it, I’d rather not cut that ride short – even temporarily.

      Signed.

      Maybe separate posts for those who have watched the leaked posts would be a good idea. I know I have been spoiled already and I fear venturing into the comments.

      PS: Can you recommend me a good podcast? Now that Dinos and Byron are out I’m not sure what to listen too

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    50. Ghost’s Lunch:
      On the creative side, the more “mainstream” it gets I wonder if the more “dumbed down” it gets and focuses on shock violence and nudity

      It was good when it delved into Machiavellian politics (Tyrion vs Cersei in S2 for example, the scene where he outs Pycelle as the spy is still my favourite)

      Then there’s the spiritual/religious/occult aspect which seems to have been totally driven out, don’t seem to have covered that since the comet and Quaithe/Pyat Pree in season 2. I don’t count Bran at BR’s cave with fireball throwing CoTF,

      Instead we seem to have Lancel acting like a brainwashed nut and I hope that’s not how they are portraying the Sparrows, they totally took the mystery out of Joffreys poisoning, and they are just blurting it out now ala Lysa with “Jons wine”

      Excellent points. I love the show as I love the books, but this are the reasons why they are nothing more than (great) entertainment. Specially the tv show.

      And there’s nothing wrong with it, but I miss a liiitle more depth. Of course I understand that with so many millions on the line HBO goes the “safer” route

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    51. Instead we seem to have Lancel acting like a brainwashed nut and I hope that’s not how they are portraying the Sparrows, they totally took the mystery out of Joffreys poisoning, and they are just blurting it out now ala Lysa with “Jons wine”

      To me in the books The Sparrows were brain washed nuts.

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    52. Ghost’s Lunch,

      I’m sure once we hear the High Sparrow’s dialogue with Cersei, everything will come into focus for viewers on what they are all about. The misery the war brought to the land, how whole villages were massacred and refugee’s filling up KL and other areas, and that most of the sparrows were former soldiers, attempting to make up for the wrongs of the war. This made for a great analogy in the books about the costs of war and is relevant even today.

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    53. dob,

      Well in my opinion it has been increasing, episode 2 was better than 1, and 3 was even better in my opinion, it has probably my favorite scene with Jon of the entire series, and of course, episode 4 did beat the shit out of the first 3, that episode was insane.

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    54. Pau,

      Actually, Game of Thrones has a lot more depth than the books. quantity doesn’t automatically mean depth. The show is pure quality compared to the books that are more of a mess. The characters are a mess in books. They are cliche and unrealistical. Also too much magic watered down the depth of the series. The show has the perfect portion of magic to make the whole thing interesting but yet keep it deep and realistic. The show has found the balance, while the books are like a train off rail.

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    55. Ghost’s Lunch: Instead we seem to have Lancel acting like a brainwashed nut and I hope that’s not how they are portraying the Sparrows”

      It would be inaccurate to portray them otherwise. They are religious fanatics, and all religious fanatics are “brainwashed nuts.” Both the readers and the viewers would take umbrage if the show tried to show them being something more than that: people that are more than that are not religious fanatics. Indeed, the themes of this story are fundamentally opposite of those that many religious people have: GRRM revels in making people realize that their moralities are contradictory and inconsistent, and religious fanatics hate that concept.

      Ghost’s Lunch: they totally took the mystery out of Joffreys poisoning, and they are just blurting it out now ala Lysa with “Jons wine”

      But these things are not supposed to be mysteries for the audience. They are not mysteries to be solved by the characters or in any way integral to the plots or stories. In the books, the other characters “know” that Tyrion (and probably Sansa) killed Joffery. The other characters “know” that Jon Arryn just got sick and died. However, the truths about Joffrey’s and Jon Arryn’s poisonings are integral to the development of Littlefinger, both in the minds of the audience and in the minds of Sansa Stark. That in turn will be integral to story and plot. So, it’s very important that the readers and viewers know these things.

      Indeed, if anything, then this further’s one of the true mysteries: just what the hell is Littlefinger doing? Characters openly speculate about this, which means that GRRM wants us to wonder about it. The audience now knows that Littlefinger has set all of this into motion. However, we really do not know to what end. What exactly does he hope to gain from this? What is his end goal? Oh, I’m sure that what he told Ros in season 1 is true: but I’m equally sure that it’s not all of the truth, or it’s an ironic truth.

      As for the “mystery” of Robert’s death, there never is one. None of the characters question how Robert died: it’s not like there is some ongoing investigation. Moreover, it was made clear to the audience at the time why Robert died, both in terms of mechanism and cause: Varys pretty much tells Ned (and us) what happened. Again, the “mystery” (or lack of it) is not part of the story or the plot. The what is: i.e., the lengths to which Cersei will go to get her way. And, of course, it’s vital for Lancel’s character development this season, so the audience has to be reminded of it.

      Thrones is not Mystery Theater. The important character development creating the story does not come from protagonists solving major mysteries about events; instead, it comes from working out what makes other people tick and what they themselves should do when faced with nothing but morally gray options.

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    56. You will be queen: Maybe I’m missing something but… this leak thing won’t hurt HBO that much, right?
      I mean, yea some drops from numbers expected but that channel does not air commercial after all

      The drop in numbers will not be noticeable: the number of people who are going to watch the “leaked” versions will be much less than the usual week-to-week flux induced by competition with other shows (particularly sporting events) and normal “life” activities.

      Doctor Who went through this a couple of years ago. Because of a mixup involving the shipment of Season 6’s DVD’s and BR’s, a lot of people got the season series a week before the season finale! Doctor Who fans bemoaned the inevitable huge drop in ratings because “everyone” was going to watch it early. However, the show got the usual “season finale” high ratings.

      And, remember, that was Doctor Who, which is the only TV show where all viewers are committed fans who follow every bit of information religiously on the Internet and elsewhere; Thrones is just another TV show that people like, right? [/sarcasm] (But, seriously, Doctor Who fans, like Thrones fans, feel that way…..)

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    57. I know that this question is unrelated in regards to the topic, but I wondered when we can normally expect the titles of the last few episodes and the soundtrack?

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    58. Koempel,

      The soundtrack is released after the season finishes in June. The episode titles I have no idea. Maybe they’re too spoilery so they won’t be released until the episodes air.

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    59. HelloThere: no…

      I don’t know that I would go quite as far as
      king of gods, at least for four of the five books (write all the ill you want about Crows and I’ll probably point out some flaws you missed), but the TV series is much better relative to other TV series than the novels are relative to other books. Let’s face it, the TV series is getting the top critical marks and awards, whereas the books have never (and will never) get nominated for any of the major book awards. (And, no, the Hugos don’t count: those are comparable to the MTV awards in literary circles.) The fact that fantasy is not taken seriously as a literary form is only part of it: although GRRM does develop characters well compared to other fantasy writers, he does not develop them well relative to what you see in books nominated for Bookers or Pulitzers. The TV show, on the other hand, develops characters as well as any major series on TV. Yes, it has swords and sorcery: but it really is about politics and political tools (which include swords, sorcery and dragons, but also religion, manipulation, strategies, long-term tactics, etc.)

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    60. The leaks are not going to hurt the viewership numbers – in fact, on balance, they will actually help the numbers. Why? Because a lot more people will hear about the leaks than will actually take the time to find them, download them, and watch them. And what they are all hearing is “OMG, these eps are awesome!” That only builds hype for the the TV airing. And, as stated by others, the quality of the leaks leaves something to be desired, so most who watch the leaks will watch the show when it airs to see it in full glory. And whoever is going to pirate the show will do that anyway and never count towards the total at all.

      As a case study, I would mention the Brazilian film “Tropa de Elite” which leaked online several weeks before its cinematic release. It became the most-watched pirated Brazilian film ever and a lot of people thought it would lose out terribly at the box office. Instead, it because the biggest Brazilian box-office hit ever. The leak just built the hype way up and a lot of people who watched the pirate copy when to the cinema to see it again, anyways.

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    61. I won’t add anything too new to what has already been said, but my take on it is….

      Raise your hands…..how many of you did not download the pirated episodes yet you have already watched 501 repeatedly? Either you saved it on the DVR or it is showing through the week on HBO. Yeah, what I thought. I didn’t download anything, didn’t feel the need with a full HBO subscription….yet, I have watched 501 three times.

      That is why a person would download yet also watch the real deal when it came out. One wouldn’t stop the other regardless of the dire predictions. Game of Thrones rocks every one’s socks off and I am thrilled that the viewership is rising steadily all the time.

      The only thing I feel after watching a new episode is “over already?”. Keep up the great work D & D and HBO. I am Sullied, but that never stopped me from loving a well made piece…..aka….Lord of the Rings which I had probably read a dozen times before the first film was ever released. Did PJ take liberties over the canon content of JRRT? You bet. Did I care? Not a jot.

      Last thought is that I also strongly believe that the Sullied who say they aren’t going to watch the show (like my brother), just can’t help themselves and do it anyway so they can have something to bitch about (like my brother).

      Peace Out

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    62. @HelloThere That’s because you have no arguments but dont worry it’s a recurring thing with all book purists not just you .

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    63. Jared:

      The communal experience of watching Game of Thrones is a major part of the reason why I love this show so damn much. To be sure, it would still be my favorite show on TV by a significant margin even without that added layer of discourse. But the level of conversation and hype surrounding this show makes every episode feel like an event, and I want to celebrate each installment equally. Unfortunately, the nature of the leaked episodes means that opportunities for discussion surrounding them are somewhat limited (e.g. we can’t discuss them in detail here at WOTW, and for good reason).

      Fandom is all about a communal experience. (Btw, the term ‘fandom’ comes from ‘dominion of fanatics’.) Fandom is not just a sum of fans ‘n potential consumers, it is, as you had hinted, first ‘n above all a (noisy) community of fans. Fans marked by common interests, feelings, empathy, camaraderie. I suppose GoT fandom is about ‘fanatically’ devotedness to the fantasy world of GoT and GRRM’s books (not to HBO), it is about support ‘n cooperation in show- ‘n books-related researches, it is about sharing of emotions (happiness, saddens, sorrow, huff, concerns), making predictions, exchanging thoughts ‘n all kinds of information. That’s way, in my opinion, detailed discussion about the leaked stuff/spoilers should not came under censure. Your opinion is different.

      First of all, you’re not pleased that the episodes had been leaked, secondly, for you, the censorship at this site probably is welcomed. Cos you are afraid that the leaked stuff ‘n detailed debate on the leaks will ‘kill off’ the vibe surrounding the show, and the ‘dead’ vibe deprives you of excitement ‘n surplus enjoyment (the latter emerges when/if satisfaction of present enjoyment is suppressed ‘n postponed for the future). Don’t worry. Just 4 episodes had been leaked, so you can ramp up the hype for the rest of them. I’m sure the ramping will prolong your excitement. And the pleasure ofc.

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    64. Wimsey: I don’t know that I would go quite as far as
      king of gods, he does not develop them well relative to what you see in books nominated for Bookers or Pulitzers.The TV show, on the other hand, develops characters as well as any major series on TV.

      Agree, but you are making a straw man argument here. The key thing here is that the TV show doesn’t develop characters as good as the books nominated for bookers or pulitzers either. So yeah, no, King of Gods, no…

      And the show doesn’t develop characters as in depth as the book either…obviously, as it has much less space to do it. You can argue that with the space it does, it does better tan the books. Maybe. But you really can’t say it develops more. Specially because we have read the books and the characters are already developed there, and where in our heads when we saw the show. D&D didn’t really develop any characters (well, Ross), the characters were ALREADY developed. Don’t forget that.

      PS: Regarding winning awards…well, tv shows don’t have awards like bookers or the pulitzer, but got doesn’t even win the ultimate prize at the Emmies or the Golden Globes. At least the books won all the prizes they could realistically win

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    65. Pau,

      Regarding awards, one could argue that it is nigh on impossible to compare book awards and TV show awards. This is because awards for books tend to come in genres, whereas TV awards are more diverse. The novels wouldn’t stand a chance in the book equivalent of the Emmys because a) they’re the wrong genre, and b) they’re no where near good enough. It’s therefore futile to compare award wins, although I think if you try to look at awards each have won/lost and the actual award titles they would be similar.

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    66. davy,

      That won’t happen. Remember- premieres usually pull in loads of people, and then the later episodes drop slightly in viewership. GOT is slowly approaching the absolute maximum first-airing viewership numbers it can get, so reaching 10 before the season finale is very unlikely. That said, I definitely think the show will pass 9 million this season. Especially with the hype for the finale.

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