'Game of Thrones' Finale Draws Record Audience

Season six ends on a high note

The finale for the sixth season of 'Game of Thrones' drew a record number of viewers. Credit: HBO

The final episode of the sixth season of Game Of Thrones drew 8.9 million viewers on Sunday night, Nielsen reports (via The New York Times).

This represents a new record for the show. The previous high water mark for viewership was held by the finale of the fifth season, which drew 8.1 million viewers. The tally will increase during the week as fans who missed the last episode frantically scramble to catch up before encountering spoilers on the internet.

USA Today reports that episodes from the latest season of Game Of Thrones averaged 23.3 million viewers. This marks a 15% increase over the fifth season. This year, the number of eyes on Sunday night premieres increased by 6%, while the overall number of TV viewers – including those who watch on-demand – rose 4%. The use of HBO Now and HBO Go went up a whopping 70%.

Despite the rise in ratings, creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss remain adamant that the arc of the show is winding down. "It's two more seasons we’re talking about," Benioff recently told Deadline. "From pretty close to the beginning, we talked about doing this in 70-75 hours, and that’s what we’ll end up with. Call it 73 for now."

"We’ve known the end for quite some time and we’re hurtling towards it," he continued. "It's not supposed to be an ongoing show, where every season it’s trying to figure out new story lines …  We’re definitely heading into the end game now."

Find out five things we learned from 'Game of Thrones' season finale.