Q: What do you get if you multiply by the number of wildly incorrect Arya Stark theories which thirsty Game of Thrones fans floated during Season 6, and then subtract the number of Cersei’s dead children?
A: 8.89 million, which happens to be both the precise amount of people who watched the Season 6 finale “The Winds of Winter” on HBO this weekend, and the total number of hits on the recipe page.
In a breathless epic of an episode which saw and move toward , while trouble appeared to be , the series hit a record high for live viewership. “The Winds of Winter” soared past the previous peak of 8.11 million set by the Season 5 finale “Mother’s Mercy.”
Cersei Lannister would probably be pleased to know that more people witnessed her tragedy-tinged triumph over the High Sparrow and her gruesome vengeance on Septon Unella than watched her previous humiliation at the very same hands.
Across the ten episodes, Season 6 averaged 7.69 million viewers, also a huge increase from the 6.88 million who watched Season 5. Of course, most people don’t pay for HBO and instead watch the show online for free (disgraceful behavior), which means we’ll never know how many people actually watch Game of Thrones, but multiply the figure by the number of times Bran has done something completely reckless and idiotic and you’re probably just about there.
Perhaps even more impressive than the total viewership is the fact that both “Battle of the Bastards” and “The Winds of Winter” have a perfect 10.0 score on IMDb, making them the two highest-rated episodes in the history of TV. Personally speaking, the battle of Winterfell was possibly my favorite moment in the history of Thrones, but I’m a Stark to the death.
Both episodes are totally deserving of the universal praise (even our brief trip to Dorne was entertaining, thanks to a royal smackdown from the Queen of Thorns), and you’d have to be crazier than Cersei to predict than anyone other than Lena Headey will sweep up at the Emmys next time around.
Of course, more people watch The Walking Dead, but they will be punished when the time comes. The big question now: Can Thrones smash through the 10 million barrier as the White Walkers smash through the Wall keeping the good people of Westeros alive? I guess we’ll find out next year.
Was ‘The Winds of Winter’ The Best-Ever Episode of ‘Thrones’?
You are the Princess Shireen of the House Baratheon, and you are my daughter.