Pre-season ratings post: further growth for Game of Thrones?

It’s time for graphs again! Similar to previous years, we expect to be publishing overnight ratings on Tuesdays, so this Tuesday before the premiere of Game of Thrones season 6 is a perfect time to start with some speculation already.

What is the state of the game at this point? Last season opened with 8 million viewers of the first airing of the episode (after rounding), and set an all-time record with the final episode and 8.11 million viewers. Below you can see the representation of the initial viewership of Game of Thrones over the seasons (click to enlarge), compared to HBO’s latest long-running and most successful dramas (as always, season runs longer – or shorter – than the 10 episodes of Thrones have been compressed).

Ratings

Given the numbers, it’s not surprising that HBO would like to keep Game of Thrones running as long as possible, while they are still looking for their next hit drama series. Boardwalk Empire and True Blood (which peaked at about 5 million first-airing viewers) aired their final seasons a good while ago.

While these overnight numbers are a good indication and reliably there every week for us to pore over, the total viewership of the show across the numerous available platforms is of course what matters much more (in case you forgot, Game of Thrones is HBO’s most viewed show ever). The latest update from last year put Thrones at around 20 million per episode in season 5. We’ll surely get more news of that sort in the course of the season.

Speculation time! How high do you think the initial viewership will be for the season opener? What new records is the season going to set? Even if we’re talking about season six already, I think the numbers can still rise above last year’s. Not the least because of Schrödinger’s Jon.

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158 Comments

  1. The premiere will be huge, at least. As will 8, 9 and 10.

    This is how I imagine it shaping up: http://prntscr.com/au7srk

    Thrones already has established social dominance, everyone who wants to know about it already does, and given that it’s subscription based on top of that, I don’t expect the numbers to suddenly go to 10 million. 3 to 4 and 4 to 5 were huge leaps as the show was still growing (red wedding, the viper/castle black).

    Those who want to watch the show legally will already be doing so, but I still do expect an increase as Jon has peaked the show’s social presence. I do think it will be more of a steady year than season 5 though, no huge dips.

  2. Thanks for posting these, as I tend to look at graphs and trends for much of the day and so enjoy exploring GoT in this way too

    Personally I do expect it to actually be higher once again, as there is a heck of a lot of fever pitch style speculation as to whether Jon Snow will be resurrected etc which won’t happen first episode if that is indeed part of the story

    Given we are entering the unknown, and spoiler territory, plus of course the much awaited flashbacks we seem to be in for, I expect the elevated ratings to remain consistent for the season with a “shallower drop-off” after the first few episodes

    Of course not having the first few episodes leaked and the ultra tight security is a substantial help too

    I also expect this to be a bloodbath of a season, and so with characters dying I expect there will be plenty of internet traffic, and on this site of course with the Curtain Calls, which would mean GoT trending on twitter so those metrics will likely be high too

  3. It could be 9 milion for premiere, maybe sligthly more. Then keep it steady or even to grow further. If this season sis as good as i think it is, we’ll see 10 million mark.

  4. And as I say EVERY YEAR… the whole overnight ratings thing is a joke. HBO deals in those numbers because the (ignorant) public and some journalists (WHO SHOULD KNOW BETTER) think they mean something. HBO doesn’t take them seriously. And no one who understands what these numbers mean should take them seriously.

    Here is what matters: overall numbers over the viewing period that HBO deems important. Is that a week? Is it a month? Is it a year? We have no idea. HBO doesn’t tell us. But that’s what matters.

    And why does it matter? Because those numbers DIRECTLY influence the budget for the show, which determines not only whether D&D can deliver more than one huge episode per season, but also the decision by HBO to invest in future ASOIAF stories.

    So, focus on the numbers that matter to HBO. And at this point, the number HBO cares about is overall across all platforms (the 20 million thingy). Will that increase? Yes. I imagine it will not just increase but go into ridiculous territory due to the free month they are offering. What will be interesting is the retention rate after the free month. That will tell us a lot about the interest in GOT and the possible future business model of HBO when it comes to the world of ASOIAF.

    So, my prediction is we will see the first four episodes reach 30 million. Is that an insane number? Yes. But a free month is a free month.

    Let me just add… I think the overnight number (since some of you think it’s worth talking about) won’t see a huge lift because the overall HBO Nielsen measured subscriber base hasn’t grown all that much.

  5. Hey guys, I imagine you are already sick of hearing about this but figured I would throw in my two cents in case it’s something you’re actively troubleshooting…

    I am also having the issue where I have to manually refresh a page to see new comments. Not only that, but I have to refresh the MAIN PAGE just to see new articles.

    I am using a fully-updated MS Edge browser, and all my plug-ins are fully up-to-date as far as I can tell.

    This has only been happening since yesterday or so and I haven’t had any similar issues on any other websites I frequent.

  6. Interesting that in season 4 and 5, there was a significant (on paper) dip. What were those episodes? Regardless of the dip, it looks like GOT has been doing great, and I suspect will continue to be so. In fact, since this season will be so new to both readers and non readers, I suspect it will generate much more interest and even go higher than it has. Looking forward to another record breaking season!

  7. As for viewership numbers

    10 million for the opening episode, will remain steady at about 8-9 million but finish strongly in the climactic episodes reaching 12 million by the finale

    The Battle for the North will be the highest rating episode to-date by the time the series ends and puts the figures into a new bracket ala the Red Wedding where you can clearly see the jump for the start of season 4

  8. I honestly don’t know. I know *so* many people who just started watching it in the last year, but are bought and sold on it. The hype’s been building online through the #Got50 campaign, too. Plus, many might join HBONOW for the free month. Who knows? It’s exciting for sure.

  9. GeekFurious:
    And as I say EVERY YEAR… the whole overnight ratings thing is a joke. HBO deals in those numbers because the (ignorant) public and some journalists (WHO SHOULD KNOW BETTER) think they mean something. HBO doesn’t take them seriously. And no one who understands what these numbers mean should take them seriously.

    Here is what matters: overall numbers over the viewing period that HBO deems important. Is that a week? Is it a month? Is it a year? We have no idea. HBO doesn’t tell us. But that’s what matters.

    And why does it matter? Because those numbers DIRECTLY influence the budget for the show, which determines not only whether D&D can deliver more than one huge episode per season, but also the decision by HBO to invest in future ASOIAF stories.

    So, focus on the numbers that matter to HBO. And at this point, the number HBO cares about is overall across all platforms (the 20 million thingy). Will that increase? Yes. I imagine it will not just increase but go into ridiculous territory due to the free month they are offering. What will be interesting is the retention rate after the free month. That will tell us a lot about the interest in GOT and the possible future business model of HBO when it comes to the world of ASOIAF.

    So, my prediction is we will see the first four episodes reach 30 million. Is that an insane number? Yes. But a free month is a free month.

    Let me just add… I think the overnight number (since some of you think it’s worth talking about) won’t see a huge lift because the overall HBO Nielsen measured subscriber base hasn’t grown all that much.

    Yeah they probably focus in terms of over the week

    After all they are a subscription network so as long as they get the subscription out of it it doesen’t bother them too much

    That said, other analytics such as internet trending feeds etc is a form of marketing to HBO as the name of the network is put out there. Plus if you want to launch a new platform product, such as HBO Now, it is often good to have a highly attractive content as the face, eg think of Netflix using House of Cards and Stan using Better call Saul (well here in Oz anyway) and of course XBox Live had Halo online which helped launch online gaming in general when Broadband was coming in

    Not to mention, if people are watching immediately on the day of release rather than waiting until later, this indicates intensity of interest, which can be as important as viewership numbers as it indicated how dedicated to their subscription people are and how recession resilient the subscription numbers are

  10. Ah yes. It wouldn’t be a ratings post without GeekFurious coming in to tell us to stop talking about the ratings. As we’ve already said many times, yes, we know the total viewers is all HBO cares about. But the overnight is the best publicly available metric we have for gauging the success of the show and comparing it to other shows. It also allows us to see a nice graph where each episode is an independent data point, so we can see a rise and fall throughout each season. So unless HBO starts releasing a total viewer number for each episode and every other show it airs, the Nielsen number will continue to be worth tracking.

    My prediction on the Neilsen ratings for the premiere? 8.75 million. And I predict that HBO will announce the total viewer count to be 23 million per episode at some point in the season.

  11. harma dogememe,

    Just going to copy and paste this into every post for the rest of the day, I guess-

    It’s your cache that is reverting. Updating your browsers to the newest versions and making sure your caches are cleared helps for some people.

    We’re moving to another new server tonight because apparently the other new one wasn’t good enough. Which is a good problem to have – turns out we have just too much traffic and everything is breaking because of it. So after tonight, things should be a lot better.Oz could explain it more technically but he can’t be in comments with all these spoilers. Sorry for all the trouble! We’re pretty focused on getting it fixed before the premiere.

  12. ash,

    For season 5, part of it is due to Memorial Day weekend. A lot of people don’t watch TV that Sunday night. I know the show aired on Memorial Day weekend in season 2 and ended caused Blackwater to have the lowest ratings of the season. After that, the show skipped that weekend in Seasons 3 and 4, but didn’t for Season 5.

    As for my prediction, I’m thinking the premiere will top 9 million. It will dip a bit after that, and the finale will probably hit 9.5 million.

  13. It’s too bad that Game of Thrones never bounced back after the Sansa rape scene. Viewers left in droves and never returned. Shame, shame.

  14. My prediction is the premiere sets the record for Game of Thrones. Episode 2 falls off a cliff from what the premiere does. But it will still be a high number. I think season 6 will settle into around the season 5 numbers. In terms of ratings, the 2-9 episodes for this show has likely peaked out between 7-8. I could see the premiere topping 10 and the finale topping 9 though.

  15. I see over 9 millions for th premiere and between 8-8,5 millions for the rest of the season. 😉

  16. No advanced screeners and very few specific leaks this year… Everybody that’s ever watched should want to tune in for the premiere! 🙂

  17. Taking into account the way last season ended with that huge cliffhanger, I have no doubt whatsoever that the premier for this upcoming season will have staggering viewership ratings.

  18. The show will certainly hit 9 million on the first ep and will gain even more on the finale.

    Apart from the massively disappointing battle ep (According to the so far reliable spoilers), this season sounds like it’s going to be pretty damn amazing.

  19. Bearded Onion,

    Yeah I certainly hope some of what that guy said is inaccurate. The balloon burst for me when I read his reports. At first I was meh. Then thinking about it more I moved from meh to…that sucks and isn’t very good. So here’s hoping he is wrong.

  20. Deesensfan,

    Deesensfan:
    Bearded Onion,

    I don’t read spoilers but sad to see you say “massively disappointing battle”!!!!

    Don’t be too worried yet, it could still be bullshit and to be honest it does sound he embellishes and lies a bit later on and some of it has to be fake, but some of the outline (one of the biggest bits he got right) really worries me.

    The battle will be very entertaining but the general tone of the battle will leave me pretty sad if the guy is correct.

  21. Deesensfan,

    I can’t speak for him.

    But everything I read made me beyond hyped.
    There are some rumors that if confirmed could mean the battle has a sadder part. But hey this is GOT!!

    But everything I heard made me very, very excited.

  22. I wonder why this battle is so disappointing but no matter how hard I try I can’t find the spoilers you are referring to. Do you have a link?

  23. Snitchholly119,

    If I’m to guess I think he speaks about that Reddit guy who said he was a extra.

    It’s peaty hard to confirm it though. There where ton of legit spoilers that Sue herself confirmed. He could have easly took those and added his own things in there.

  24. NImble Dick:
    It’s too bad that Game of Thrones never bounced back after the Sansa rape scene. Viewers left in droves and never returned. Shame, shame.

    Can you imagine how many would leave if they kept the original storyline in? So glad they changed it in the show.

  25. Mihnea,

    I trust your judgement 🙂

    Bearded Onion,

    Okay, I understand what youre saying.

    Ughhh stressful!! If JON comes back and dies again in the same season, I am done with this show! hahaha

  26. On-topic though.

    I think will break the 10 mil cap this season. Either the premiere or end.

    I’m also preparing for doomsayers around EP 5-7.

  27. Hawk,

    If they had adapted AFFC/ADWD word by word they would have basically shot themselves.

    Better to angry the book-purists, then to loose 90% of your viewership.

  28. Deesensfan,

    He means that, because in the mid-season there is always a lull in viewership, a few people always claim it’s the beginning of the end for the show; a slow but steady decline of the ratings, until perhaps the show is cancelled or at least it doesn’t hold the large viewership it once did. It has never come to pass, as of yet. Like all people who prophesize the end is nigh, they are always wrong.

    Mihnea,

    It doesn’t mean he’s dead. The leaker specifically said he didn’t know his fate.

  29. Deesensfan,

    The ratings will drop at around EP5-7, that is certain, it’s always happened. It always will.

    Remember last year after EP6? How they yelled that the show was dying?
    EP7 had the lowest ratings, they used this to ”justify” that the show is dying, they tried to connect it to Sansa’s scene.

    They where adamant that after that, the show will die. But then HH hit them right over their heads, by bouncing the ratings back up.

  30. Anyone notice that the Jon Snow with the blood on his face image is zoomed out? Where before we just saw a close up, this time it looks like he’s wearing a different fur on his shoulders than the usual long, black sheepskin….

  31. Mihnea:
    Bearded Onion,

    Might I ask what part you dislike? I’m curious.

    Anyway I don’t remember Sue confirming these.

    Basically Ramsay gets way more of the Northern army than Sansa and Jon when he should be completely despised by the North, he possibly kills Rickon, he wins yet again an other battle until LF of all people save the day with a repetitive rear cavalry charge. It basically reduces the victory to LF’s and that the Starks failed to beat the Boltons. It’s left a pretty sour taste in my mouth. 🙁 I would dismiss all this but he got the huge pile of bodies part right before the trailer revealed it

    But I’m still holding onto to the hope he only got that one huge bit right and the rest wrong and it’s certainly plausible, since he’s lied to us in that post in some parts and sounds like he’s trying leech off what Sue told us before but fucked up and got some of it wrong. There’s also the fact

    Sansa almost certainly gets to CB and not to LF since Brienne finds her (she hates LF and believes CB is safe) and she’s later seen with Davos on bear Island. So she reunites with Jon before the battle most likely.

    Also Sue said she’ll stay out of it which is pretty understandable.

    Anyway, I’m still looking forward to the season, I just hope the battle doesn’t go like it sounds like it will go in that post.

  32. Deesensfan,

    I wouldn’t really trust that article just yet, or anyone’s opinions on it.
    I would wait to until the episode airs to decide.

  33. Bearded Onion,

    Ah I see.

    Rickon dying, though wasn’t confirmed, he himself said that

    Also

    As far as I know there are only 2 houses who fight for Ramsey. The Karstarks and Umbers, while Jon/Sansa have around..what?..4-6?
    Now concerning numbers. I think it’s preaty obvious why Ramsey has more. First is that his own Bolton army is basically at full streanght.
    Second, the same is valid with the Karstarks, who left Robb before the RW, thus they didn’t lose anyway near the men the other houses lost at the RW.

    And

    I think it’s preaty clear why the Karstarks fight for Ramsey. As for the Umbers? Smalljon is no Greatjon. The first problem is clearly the wildlings, he may see Jon leading a Wildling army as a real threat.
  34. Bearded Onion,

    I think it makes total sense for GoT.

    We may get what we want in the end, but we may not like how we get there. Take Joffrey’s death for instance. It was a relieve to see him finally die, yet the Starks didn’t have anything to do with it and it was probably a less cruesome death than most wanted for him.
    Also, who knows what Ramsay has on the Umbers for them to join the Boltons. The fact that the Karstarks don’t support the Starks is due to Robb’s beheading of their Lord in S3, so that’s on Robb.
  35. harma dogememe,

    I’ve been having trouble since the server change. When I pull up the website, I only got articles posted 4/17. Kept wondering why no new stories or comments had been posted for days. I cleared all of my histories and now I only get articles posted starting 4/18. Anything new, I have to link to through twitter.

  36. Mihnea,

    I know. Nearly got a heart attack the moment I saw it. It’s covered now 🙂

    Edit: Meaning the moment I saw that I forgot to cover it…

  37. Wylie:
    Bearded Onion,

    I think it makes total sense for GoT.

    Karstark joining the Boltons makes total sense and I can sort of see Umbers joining too due to the wildling threat they hate so much, although it sounds like SmallJon is fanatical in his support for the Boltons. The problem is that the North apparently sends so little to aid the Starks, 6 to 1 odds and that’s including wildlings! I just hope Manderly’s scene means we are missing something major here since he apparently changes sides like in the books yet he’s not seen in the battle or in the spoilers! Also I’m kinda thinking maybe Jon and Sansa tell the North to stand down and prepare for winter while they grab LF’s army, that would make sense too.
  38. Mihnea,

    Yeah. Thanks though for being attentive.

    I wanna add that last year, there was a similar situation with that one guy who claimed that at Hardhome wights would jump down a cliff and get up again. How lame did that sound at the time and yet, it turned out to be a glorious episode.

  39. Bearded Onion,

    I agree with you. It was established last season that the North isn’t happy with the Boltons, so to give them that much support in there is ridiculous. I fully expect the battle to be pretty much a repeat of the one with Stannis, so I’m actually not looking forward to that episode (especially since Ramsay will be made into a better fighter and strategist than he actually is, which makes me hurl).

    Also, the 6 to 1 odds seem ridiculous. Makes it seem like Jon just marched in with some Wildlings.
  40. harma dogememe,

    Yep. I also have this problem. At first I thought – no way that there is no new articles in 2-3 days. Than I accidentally refreshed and almost could not find the last seen title.. 😀

  41. I’ll predict around 8 or 9 million viewers in the premiere because of how they left Jon.

  42. And with no leaks this year it should have higher ratings than Season 5 through the first 4 episodes.

  43. Flayed Potatoes: Ramsay will be made into a better fighter and strategist than he actually is

    But there is no “actually”. There are the books and there is the show. Of course you’ll be disappointed if you’re dogmatic about it.

  44. Predictions:
    9 mil for the premiere.
    There will be a sharp drop for Episode 6 (Memorial Day weekend, 5/29).
    Season finale will have the highest O/N viewership.

  45. Book question.

    Before the war of the five kings….
    Shouldn´t Stannis and Renly have been refered to as “prince Stannis” and “prince Renly”?

    Looking back in the books the Targ kings brothers and sisters and their children all had the title “prince/princess” (infact there is no mention of Lord Targeryen in the books) and yet Stannis and Renly in GOT are refered as “Lord” ???

    Did George slip up on this one?

  46. Interesting question. Wonder if because in our minds, King is much more powerful than Prince, when compared with King Jeffrey. The War of the 3 Princes and 1 King just wouldn’t sound right

  47. Bearded Onion: The show will certainly hit 9 million on the first ep and will gain even more on the finale.

    Apart from the massively disappointing battle ep (According to the so far reliable spoilers), this season sounds like it’s going to be pretty damn amazing.

    Some of the events within the battle does sound a bit contrived.

    I dont mind that the Karstarks and the Umbers are fighting for the Boltons. I also dont mind the part about Rickon.
    But it would seem a bit silly for Jon to attack the Boltons head on if he is outnumbered 6 to 1. Jon does have some battle experience, and he received the same education as Robb. I dont think Jon would just launch a conventional straight forward cavalry charge under these conditions.
    The idea about bodies piling up and the Northern army being surrounded, only to be saved by the Vale also sounds a bit too Hollywood.

    But we’ll see, I personally do like battles so I am willing to suspend a bit of disbelieve for the sake of entertainment, but I hope they dont push it to far.

    Bearded Onion: But I’m still holding onto to the hope he only got that one huge bit right and the rest wrong and it’s certainly plausible, since he’s lied to us in that post in some parts and sounds like he’s trying leech off what Sue told us before but fucked up and got some of it wrong. There’s also the fact

    I do think this guy might have been an extra, but I think it is debatable how much the extra’s actually knows. They might only have knowledge about their small part within the story.

    I think we will see big numbers for the premier, 9-10 million. And after that the numbers will fall again until the Battle of the Bastards.

  48. Sorry, haven’t read all the comments above, so apologies if this has been pointed out before.

    Game of Thrones is broadcast in 173 countries, more than any other TV show. The US viewership is important for US corporate hype, but HBO rake in a lot of money from HBO franchises around the world, and even public broadcaster partners who show the previous season on freeview 2-3 months before the new season.

    My feeling is that even if US viewership dipped but the international one held up, HBO would be happy to renew the series as long as they could. The problem being that the showrunners don’t want to prolong the series beyond what they see as the end of the story.

  49. The premiere episode’s summary on hbo.com.

    At Castle Black, Thorne defends his treason while Edd and Davos defend themselves. Sansa and Theon race the cold and the hounds.

  50. Wylie: But there is no “actually”. There are the books and there is the show. Of course you’ll be disappointed if you’re dogmatic about it.

    Because his character isn’t based on pre-existing material like all the rest? Lol sure. I get that changes are made, but Ramsay’s being portrayed like the Chuck Norris of Westeros with his 20 good men nonsense. Say what you will, but it’s going to be ridiculous if the big battle plays out just like the previous one.

  51. Mihnea:
    Deesensfan,

    The ratings will drop at around EP5-7, that is certain, it’s always happened. It always will.

    Remember last year after EP6? How they yelled that the show was dying?
    EP7 had the lowest ratings, they used this to ”justify” that the show is dying, they tried to connect it to Sansa’s scene.

    They where adamant that after that, the show will die. But then HH hit them right over their heads, by bouncing the ratings back up.

    Where people talked like that? I would like to read some threads for curiosity.

    I think the first episode will be massive because of you-know-who’s potential resurection (Voldemort duh). Since he is not returning in episode 1 imo and the entire season should be full of exitement it is possible that there is not a big drop after episode 1. Around memorial day there should be drop again and if the quality is good the finale 2 episodes could be one episode 1 level (I do not know if they can get higher).

  52. Geralt of Rivia:
    Flayed Potatoes,

    You can see Mormont banners among with Wildlings in the trailer. So not only them.

    The army looks ridiculously tiny and downtrodden, all things considered. They basically look like Stannis’ soldiers in the season 5 finale.

    The 6 to 1 rumored odds are ridiculous in any circumstance. Why would you even attack head-on if that is the case?
  53. The overnight number drives GeekFurious crazy like people writing loose instead of lose does to me.

    That was a huge wave last year for GOT…but obviously over all forms of viewing it’s not like people ended up not watching a couple of episodes in the middle of the season.

  54. Ghostmaker:
    The premiere episode’s summary on hbo.com.

    At Castle Black, Thorne defends his treason while Edd and Davos defend themselves. Sansa and Theon race the cold and the hounds.

    Interesting wording. “Thorne defends his treason”. He thought he was defending the NW against Jon Snow’s treason. So the show just makes him a baddie? Owen Teale has made such a great job as Alliser Thorne that I understand his point of view and see him not all bad, just another grey character. And a character much enhanced from the books.

    Yay! Edd and Davos!!

  55. Ghostmaker:
    The premiere episode’s summary on hbo.com.

    At Castle Black, Thorne defends his treason while Edd and Davos defend themselves. Sansa and Theon race the cold and the hounds.

    NW about to get rekt!

    “Hounds”

    The Hound CONFIRMED. CLEGANEBOWL CONFIRMED. 😛 jk

  56. Wylie,

    Ignore book Ramsay. I agree with you, you should ignore book Ramsay, because the two characters are not the same. Show Ramsay is being portrayed as an elite stealth ninja for crying out loud. He outsmarted and defeated twice Stannis Baratheon a man who in the show universe was hailed a great military mind. He infiltrated Stannis’ camp (somehow in deep snow miles away from Winterfell, and apparently on foot), fought off the Iron Born, infiltrated Moat Cailin, and now if these rumors about season 6 are true…I’m sorry this is ridiculous already. Truly. He’s a cartoon character. Even in a fantasy world this is not believable. Especially for someone who on top of everything I outlined is also a psychotic maniac who should not be capable of this type of rational military thought.

  57. orange:
    Wylie,

    Ignore book Ramsay. I agree with you, you should ignore book Ramsay, because the two characters are not the same. Show Ramsay is being portrayed as an elite stealth ninja for crying out loud. He outsmarted and defeated twice Stannis Baratheon a man who in the show universe was hailed a great military mind. He infiltrated Stannis’ camp (somehow in deep snow miles away from Winterfell, and apparently on foot), fought off the Iron Born, infiltrated Moat Cailin, and now if these rumors about season 6 are true…I’m sorry this is ridiculous already. Truly. He’s a cartoon character. Even in a fantasy world this is not believable. Especially for someone who on top of everything I outlined is also a psychotic maniac who should not be capable of this type of rational military thought.

    I absolutely hate show Ramsay. He’s kinda over the top in the books too but GRRM makes it pretty clear hes a loser with no true companions and is plagued with self confidence issues and is overshadowed by his father, plus it’s telegraphed he can’t fight for shit.

    I just hope Ramsay has SOMETHING go wrong for him this season before the major battle. Anything to prove to us hes a flawed character and not this super villain who gets everything he wants without fail.

    It’s a shame because D&D have been masterful with Roose, more so than Book Roose yet they neglect him so much in the show in favour for superman Ramsay.

  58. Deesensfan:
    Chinoiserie,

    So memorial day is on May 29th. Are they airing an episode on memorial day this year?

    No breaks between episodes. This season will end the latest it ever has, which is June 26th. If they skipped any weeks it would have put them into July.

  59. I imagine the 8.11 million viewers who watched 5.10 are clearing their schedules this Sunday evening…so it should be higher than that.

    9 million is quite a lot though. I think it would be hard to hit that number.

  60. Ghostmaker:
    The premiere episode’s summary on hbo.com.

    At Castle Black, Thorne defends his treason while Edd and Davos defend themselves. Sansa and Theon race the cold and the hounds.

    Well I hope The Dragon Demands is at last happy. I don’t expect it, but hope springs eternal.

  61. Bearded Onion,

    I love what they did with Show Roose.

    I actually wish he was at Bastardbowl instead of that sack of crap Ramsay, because Roose succeeding in the battle would actually make sense given his military experience and the character as a whole.
  62. Flayed Potatoes:
    Bearded Onion,

    I agree with you. It was established last season that the North isn’t happy with the Boltons, so to give them that much support in there is ridiculous. I fully expect the battle to be pretty much a repeat of the one with Stannis, so I’m actually not looking forward to that episode (especially since Ramsay will be made into a better fighter and strategist than he actually is, which makes me hurl).

    Ill repost.

    Stark, Mormont and Hornwood .. Against Bolton, Umber and Karstark?

    http://postimg.org/image/lbqzf5y13/

    Where are the Golvers, Manderlys, Cerwyn, Flints …? WHy are they making the North so “small”. Throwing some more banners up there is not costly ….

    One Eyed Crow´s tree is frozen in Brans vision:
    http://postimg.org/image/yccrbrl43/

  63. I am going to say that HBO hits 10 million. There is a big factor that has not been addressed above (that I saw). HBO is having their free preview weekend, so everyone who has cable will be able to see Ep1 of season 6 for free.

  64. Wylie:
    Flayed Potatoes,

    And how many times does GRRM ask the question how many kids Scarlett O’Hara has before people get it? That’s why I said there is no “actually”.

    Except both show and book Ramsay are portrayed as psychopaths, who shouldn’t be able to display much rational thought and don’t have much military experience. Defend show Ramsay all you want, but there’s no denying that he’s ridiculous and unrealistic at this point (as some other users have posted before me).

  65. US TV “first showing” viewership figures… Old-fashioned figures for old-fashioned boardroom stiffs.

    I don’t even have a TV set. All “TV” I watch is online on my laptop or tablet. Last year, we got GoT simultaneusly to the US viewing (4 am Monday morning here), this year we’ll get it “approximately” 24 hours later (approximately 4 am Tuesday morning?) Probably, because of leaks, HBO has rolled back the international release, and is giving translators/subtitlers just 24 hours to get their stuff done, hopefully paying them a premium. I wouldn’t know, I watch GoT with subtitles turned off. A bit confusing when discussing the show with friends who watch it with subtitles and refer to people or places in the translation. 😀

  66. Flayed Potatoes:
    Bearded Onion,

    I love what they did with Show Roose.

    Roose would win the battle because he wouldn’t march outside WF and just sit inside his warm fortress while Jon and Sansa sit outside waiting until the Freys come and kill them both. :p

    I think that’s the only thing regarding Ramsay I like in the apparent spoiler, he loses because his ego demands he faces them in the field when he can just sit inside and wait them out, it’s something at least and hopefully one of Ramsay’s generals points this out to telegraph Ramsay’s stupidity.

  67. Flayed Potatoes: especially since Ramsay will be made into a better fighter and strategist than he actually is, which makes me hurl

    Better than he actually is? Was Ramsay previously established as a bad fighter so that the show now contradicts their own info? Is there some other Ramsay you refer to? Is he mayhaps from *another* medium entirely and therefore of little use to us in this particular conversation?

  68. I also think that the show is gonna gain more viewers now that words getting out that the shows coming to its conclusion. I base this off of breaking bad, the last couple seasons there was far more viewers than when the show first started. Combine that with last episodes cliffhangers, the ratings will be off the charts

  69. orange: Especially for someone who on top of everything I outlined is also a psychotic maniac who should not be capable of this type of rational military thought.

    I don’t mean to downplay Ramsay’s psychopathy and his capacity for evil, but there is nothing that suggests he’s psychotic.

  70. Flayed Potatoes,

    You’re tilting at windmills. I don’t really care much about Ramsay, I only pointed out to you that there’s no “actually” when it comes to the characters. (In the sense that the book character is the ACTUAL character and the show character is not, I should add.)

    But I have to say – though not in defense, just to be clear – that from what I know psychopaths are very good at thinking strategically. They are said to be excellent chess players.

  71. talvikorppi,

    I get having no cable box…but no TV? They make pretty great TVs pretty cheap now.

    Just mirror your phone and watch on the semi-big screen. Dark room, big screen, popcorn…this is an epic we’re talking about here!

  72. Bearded Onion,

    Roose had supplies for six months on the show, so he was ready! Even LF thought Roose would just march in the middle of that episode 9 snowstorm and face Stannis lmao.

    The only thing than can save the battle for me (if the reddit reports are true) is Jon and Sansa making the decision to force LF’s hand and get him to use the Vale knights to preserve their own Northern army. Or for them to have secretly contacted LF to arrange for his army to step in and clean up the Boltons (so that when the event does happen, it looks less like the surprise Stannis intervention from season 4, but more like something the Starks participated in – if that makes sense). It would be fun to have Sansa play LF and make him believe that he’s her only hope and she’s indebted to him, only to then have her take him down once she’s in charge of Winterfell.

    I’m really worried that because the showrunners wanted to do a massive battle, they ignored all the logical things like how dumb it would be to attack in open field when you’re outnumbered 6 to 1 (Jon and the Northern lords with all that military experience wouldn’t do that). I would have preferred a guerilla war if that was the case , especially with all the Wildlings seen in those trailers. It also makes me wonder just how many soldiers all those Northern families even sent.

  73. I wonder how many die hard book fans will refuse to watch this season (or any other seasons) until TWOW is released, so as not to “spoil” the books…..just a thought. I doubt there would be so many as to make the viewership numbers drop.

  74. Flayed Potatoes:
    Bearded Onion,

    I believe this will be the case tbh,

    Sansa knows Ramsay has a huge ego and that he would go out to face any army and not hide behind high walls. Jon and Sansa likely lure him out with a small army before crushing his forces with a massive mounted charge in a open field. After all, Manderly isn’t seen with Tormund, yet he changes side at some point.
  75. Ember,

    I hardly doubt these people will be able to avoid being spoilt. This show is huge, and when huge events occur in the show, they will be ALL over the internet/twitter/facebook etc.
    Theyre better off watching season 6

  76. Ember:
    I wonder how many die hard book fans will refuse to watch this season (or any other seasons) until TWOW is released, so as not to “spoil” the books…..just a thought. I doubt there would be so many as to make the viewership numbers drop.

    The show forces their hand, they either get spoiled by some fool on social media or they watch a brilliantly crafted show, oh those poor sods. 🙁

    There’s nowhere to hide these days from spoilers.

  77. Bearded Onion,

    I hope so.

    It would explain that cavalry charge in the first trailer with a blurry Jon lol. Somehow, I can’t imagine him not riding a horse into this battle 😛
  78. Mr Fixit,

    That’s why I love Ramsey.

    I really hate how Martin made him. He’s ugly, he’s dumb…etc. I think this is a caricature.

    Ramsey isn’t dumb in the show. He is rash and quick to anger, true but I’m very glad he isn’t a complete idiot like in the books.
    To be completely honest, I like he’s character much more then I liked Joffrey.
    Most of this is thanks to the writing and the way Iwan acts him.

  79. Ember,

    It’s kind of impossible to ignore spoilers, especially on social media. Even people who were just checking Yahoo Mail got spoiled because of their article headlines. I know some who don’t even watch the show, but they’ve still heard about Jon’s death or the RW because it was everywhere on the internet lmao.

    Honestly, I’d say just watch. At least you’ll get confirmation about the major theories we all guessed anyway. Technically, not much will be spoiled anyway imo.

  80. Mihnea:
    Mr Fixit,

    That’s why I love Ramsey.

    I really hate how Martin made him. He’s ugly, he’s dumb…etc. I think this is a caricature.

    Ramsey isn’t dumb in the show. He is rash and quick to anger, true but I’m very glad he isn’t a complete idiot like in the books.
    To be completely honest, I like he’s character much more then I liked Joffrey.
    Most of this is thanks to the writing and the way Iwan acts him.

    Ramsay wasn’t dumb in the books at all, he outsmarted everyone in WF in Book 2 and did some clever tricks with Moat Callin. Roose even admits hes quite cunning.

    I hate Book Ramsay because his shirtless moment is when he single handily infiltrates winterfell and goes all agent 47 on everyone by posing as his mentally challenged servant. He also escapes all punishment in the books too and GRRM isn’t much better in that regard. BUT we do see Roose bully and man handle him, which kinda shows Ramsay in a pathetic light.

    I hope we see Roose do this to Ramsay after Sansa’s breakout. Iwan’s recent interview kinda has me hopeful.
    .

  81. Bearded Onion,

    I agree with the second part.

    I love those scenes where Roose puts Ramsey in his place. I love it when he puts a bit of dissapointment in there.

    Ramsey in those moments looks like a little 5-year old boy that’s sad because he didn’t make his father proud.
    Those are my favourite scenes with Ramsey. I do hope we get couple more, before he breaks and kills Roose!

    (NOT spoilers, only my speculation!)

  82. rhymeswithweak:
    talvikorppi,

    I get having no cable box…but no TV? They make pretty great TVs pretty cheap now.

    Just mirror your phone and watch on the semi-big screen. Dark room, big screen, popcorn…this is an epic we’re talking about here!

    When my 32-year-old tube TV gave up the ghost, I realised I watch so little TV that it isn’t worth 300-400 euro to buy a reasonably modern new TV. I only watch GoT, Deutschland83, Shetland, Trapped (the Icelandic drama that gives you vitamin D deficiency), incidental stuff. Some sports. Even when I had that TV, weeks, months would go without me turning it on. I do my watching on my lappy and tabby. I know a bigscreen TV or home theatre would BOOM SWOOSH blow my mind but it’s not that important to me.
    I also quite like radio. I follow many major sports tournaments through online radio. TMS (a cricket thing) is a legend, and Radio Rolland Garros, Radio Wimbledon and AO Radio are great. All come to me through my laptop/tablet. Why would I need a physical TV/radio appliance?

  83. Flayed Potatoes,

    Flayed Potatoes: Because his character isn’t based on pre-existing material like all the rest? Lol sure. I get that changes are made, but Ramsay’s being portrayed like the Chuck Norris of Westeros with his 20 good men nonsense. Say what you will, but it’s going to be ridiculous if the big battle plays out just like the previous one.

    It was ridiculous what he was able to do in ACOK. And that was cut from the show. So please don’t speak that the show made him more capable.

  84. orange,

    In the books he takes Lady Hornwoods land by locking her away and starving her to death, he survives being killed by Stark men by disguising himslef as Reek, he tricks Theon into trusting him, he then made a plan to fake Bran and Rickon’s deaths, he kills Rodrik Cassell and at the end he kills the Iron Born and captures Theon.

    Book purists don’t see this because of their usual hypocrisy.

  85. Bearded Onion: He’s kinda over the top in the books too but GRRM makes it pretty clear hes a lose

    He did not.

    Ramsay’s ACOK plot is implausible and way more scheming than anything in the show.

  86. With anything over 8 million, I will be completely thrilled. Yes, it could be 9 or even a ridiculously large 10, but we shouldn’t expect that. Even the post-Red Wedding craze only bumped the premiere up about 1 million over the finale from the previous season.

  87. In the interview that Iwan Rheon gave to EW, he said that we’re going to see a different side to Ramsay this year. My guess about what that means is:

    I don’t think that Ramsay is just going to sit in Winterfell all season until the battle, and that the only thing of consequence that we’ll see him do before Episode 9 is kill Walda and his father. Instead, we’ll see Ramsay acting more as a politician in the lead-up to the battle. He’ll put on a charm offensive to try and get the Northern Lords to fight for him rather than the Starks, while Sansa does the same for her side. I think their storylines will have a lot of parallels this year as they work at cross purposes against one another, trying to win over the same group of people.

    While Sansa tries to draw upon the Northern Lord’s resentment of the Boltons and longstanding loyalty to her family, I think Ramsay appeal to the Northern Lords that they need to band together in common cause as “Northmen” in order to take care of the wildlings who have come south of the Wall, and in doing so bring “justice” to the oathbreaker and traitor who is leading them – i.e. Jon Snow. While Sansa and Davos are on Bear Island talking with the Mormonts, the Hornwoods, and potentially the Cerwyns and the Manderlys, Ramsay will be meeting with the Karstarks (who hate the Starks because of what Robb did to Rickard) and the Umbers (who despise the wildlings more than any other Northern house). He’ll eventually win rhwm over, and the Umbers will cement their pledge to fight for him by turning over Rickon in heartbreaking twist (perhaps as the end of Episode 8 – right before the battle).

    Flayed Potatoes,

    Out of all the things in that leaked alleged summary, the thing I trust least is

    the reports of the Starks being outnumbered “6 to 1”. I don’t doubt that the Stark forces will be outnumbered, but people are generally pretty bad at guessing relative numbers. Unless he heard an actual piece of dialogue referencing that disparity, I’m skeptical of his eyeball test. The armies could be digitally augmented in post-production.

    Ghostmaker,

    That’s a much better summary than the one HBO released earlier. And it confirms Edd’s involvement!

    Ember,

    A number so small as to be rendered statistically insignificant, though if you visit certain forums on the Internet, you may be temporarily tricked into thinking that there are more of them then there actually are.

    I’ll guess approximately 9 million viewers – a new series high – for the Live+SD viewership of the premiere, though I’m fancifully hoping for 10 million or more. Across all platforms, I think viewership will reach 22-23 million. Numbers will dip in the middle of the year as they always do, then rise again for the finale 😉

  88. Flayed Potatoes: Except both show and book Ramsay are portrayed as psychopaths, who shouldn’t be able to display much rational thought and don’t have much military experience

    Psychopaths are more intelligent than normal people.

  89. I’m going to predict a modest growth to 8.5 million for the premiere episode. I think cordcutters (HBO Now isn’t included in Nielsen, right?) will prevent a larger spike from all the Jon-shenanigans that people talk about.

  90. I was thinking last year that they reached a high point as far as viewership, but I believe the hype over Jon Snow’s fate could drive the premier rating to a record high. I’ll take a wild guess and say the premier will garner 8.7 million viewers for the live episode.

  91. Flayed Potatoes,

    This battle needs to be different from Stannis. D&D understands that and battle will be different. Not just the outcome because I can’t imagine Boltons winning this battle.

    It really seems suicidal from them unles they want to lure them out. If not. You would think that they would try to gather more men and then attack. Or lure them out to where they can make up for their disadvantage in soldiers. They¨re fighting against them in front of Winterfell and on the battlefield. Wildlings advantage or usefullnes is gone. They’re not made for battle on open battlefield.

  92. Since Game of Thrones is now at an all time height i am guessing that the premiere will have at least 12 million viewers. Plus there werent any episode leaks this time which means that HBO wont lose any potential viewers.

  93. Jared:
    In the interview that Iwan Rheon gave to EW, he said that we’re going to see a different side to Ramsay this year. My guess about what that means is:

    Ember,
    A number so small as to be rendered statistically insignificant, though if you visit certain forums on the Internet, you may be temporarily tricked into thinking that there are more of them then there actually are.

    Ooo, I didn’t think about Snow being referenced as the Oathbreaker because his oath ends at his death: it’s in the oath. His enemies, however, might stretch the truth and claim that he is, hence the title. But I really hope it is also about Brienne the Oathkeeper.

    I know that this is anecdotal evidence. I don’t talk to that many GoT fans offline, and I know one who is stopping this season to avoid spoilers. He’s the nicest guy ever and harbors no ill feelings, but he would rather read it first. I doubt there are many on here who would say the same because almost everyone here is just as into the show as the books – or almost so. We are just a small, obsessive subset of the viewers.

  94. mau:
    orange,

    In the books he takes Lady Hornwoods land by locking her away and starving her to death, he survives being killed by Stark men by disguising himslef as Reek, he tricks Theon into trusting him, he then made a plan to fake Bran and Rickon’s deaths, he kills Rodrik Cassell and at the end he kills the Iron Born and captures Theon.

    Book purists don’t see this because of their usual hypocrisy.

    Huh? I don’t understand your last line/slander at all. Of course Book-Ramsay did these things. Are you saying that because Book-Ramsay did these things, that the 20-good-men nonsense was not nonsense, or was somehow consistent with the books? That’s not even a remotely logical argument.

    And frankly you should be banned for repeatedly making such divisive, unprompted insults, but that’ll never happen. And how would I collect on our bet when TWOW is released later this year?

  95. This is just a guessing game, how do you compare hype? 🙂 My friends aren’t as excited for this season as in the past, there’s a fatigue… but we are not representative for general viewership :). Honestly, maybe comparing the number of accesses for sites like Watchers on the Wall, Westeros and others, to previous years, might show the level of interest…. Hell, the overall numbers might even go down if more people switched to the online platform.

  96. The main thing I see here is if GoT really zaps in a new record and Vinyl bombs next season (it may already have) and Westworld crashes… HBO really aint to nothing.
    I think Time Warner is going to look hard at HBO’s plans for the show.

  97. Big broken records for GoT may put HBO in a quandary if 2nd season of Vinyl busts, and if Westworld lays an egg.

  98. harma dogememe,

    I also am up to date with my browser and plugins and this morning I was still getting “new frey cast” on the home page and refreshing did nothing. I finally went to a different platform and got the “new” home page, but I like using my Mac:( I’m sure it’s just a glitch of some sort, but it’s quite frustrating…my two cents worth. Love this site and not sure what’s happening.

  99. Deesensfan,
    “If JON comes back and dies again in the same season, I am done with this show!”

    Sure seems it would be bad storytelling, but it’s the only thing I can make sense of…..and Kit saying he’s not coming back, is done with the show. Tbh I can’t envision Jon Snow (in the same form) being end game anymore. Although he never got to accomplish all his goals, he had his moments to shine and died a hero. As for why he comes back to life again just for a short time? Maybe he gets to be the WW looking dude that could broker some kind of peace. That way, Kit doesn’t need to play the part anymore. That said, hope I’m wrong.

  100. I wonder how many die hard book fans will refuse to watch this season (or any other seasons) until TWOW is released, so as not to “spoil” the books…..just a thought. I doubt there would be so many as to make the viewership numbers drop.

    My guess for how many hardcore book purists won’t watch the show to avoid spoiling the books? Probably in the neighborhood between 5,000 to 10,000 or so. A statistically insignificant number.

    And unless they also completely disconnect from the world (no internet, no TV, no venturing out in public, etc.) they’re going to get spoiled anyway. I fully expect trolls to go to “book-only” places *cough*Westeros.org*cough* solely to reveal spoilers from the TV show. And even if they somehow manage to avoid spoilers online, it’s going to be discussed on the news, and references to it will be dropped in pop culture and everyday casual conversations. GoT is simply too massive to escape now.

    Just remember that something like 95% (if not more) of GoT’s audience has not read the books. Of the 5% that have read the book, the majority enjoy both mediums for what they are (I suspect most of the posters of WotW are in this group). The so-called “book purists” are only a tiny (probably something like 0.5%, if even that) — albeit extremely vocal — section of GoT’s fandom, and this fact upsets them to no end.

    And when you read the rants and ravings of book purists (and this will inevitably happen as GoT S6 spoils more and more of aSoIaF), please keep this truism in mind … book fundamentalists understand the point of the story about as well as religion fundamentalists understand the point of their holy texts.

    Oh, and as for the initial overnight numbers for S6E1? My guess is it’ll clear 9 million. Depending on how good the rest of S6 is, and how positive the buzz of S6 is, the finale could be between 9.5 and 10 million.

  101. Josh L.: My guess for how many hardcore book purists won’t watch the show to avoid spoiling the books?Probably in the neighborhood between 5,000 to 10,000 or so.A statistically insignificant number.

    And unless they also completely disconnect from the world (no internet, no TV, no venturing out in public, etc.) they’re going to get spoiled anyway.I fully expect trolls to go to “book-only” places *cough*Westeros.org*cough* solely to reveal spoilers from the TV show.And even if they somehow manage to avoid spoilers online, it’s going to be discussed on the news, and references to it will be dropped in pop culture and everyday casual conversations.GoT is simply too massive to escape now.

    Agreed. I live in Asia, and GoT airs live for me on Monday morning when I am at work. For practical reasons, I cannot view it until after dinner Monday night, around twelve hours after it was released. I pretty much have to avoid the internet at lunch or any time before dinner. There is no way I could go years unspoiled without cutting off the internet entirely until several weeks after the season aired, and then avoiding all geek sites of any sort until the books were were released, precisely because people will randomly drop GoT-spoilers as a matter of the normal course of discussion once they are no longer spoilers. It would be a hopeless and pointless endeavor.

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