Tensions came to a boil during Season 6, episode 9 of HBO’s hit series “Game of Thrones” as Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) battled it out over Winterfell. Unfortunately some fans were unable to watch due to outages on HBO Now, the network’s streaming service.
Hundreds of thousands of registered users (along with every friend, significant other, and/or co-worker they’re sharing a password with) flocked to HBO Now on Sunday to watch what may have been the most highly anticipated episode in “Game of Thrones” history. While “Battle of the Bastards” aired without issue in its normal 9 p.m. EDT time slot, HBO Now experienced major blackouts due to the sheer volume of viewers. Deadline reported that more than 15,000 people were unable to connect to the app, which provides access to HBO’s extensive library of TV shows, movies and documentaries without a cable subscription for just $14.99 a month, between the hours of 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. EDT. Frustrated users flocked to Twitter to vent while hoping HBO Now would eventually load.
The network was quick to respond to the complaints, tweeting an apology to viewers. HBO Now acknowledged the problem, suggesting that anyone affected by the outage keep a close eye on the HBO Now help Twitter account. Within a few minutes all problems were said to be resolved.
[WARNING: Spoilers Ahead]
Those unable to watch weren’t the only ones complaining. While many tuned in in the hopes that Ramsay Bolton’s violent reign would finally come to an end, Rheon — who has been playing the bastard of the Dreadfort for four long seasons — was sad to see him go. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the British actor joked about Ramsay Bolton, who was gunning for the title of warden of the North, ending up on the Iron Throne. Rheon may have been disappointed, but he explained that his character and his tyrannical ways had run their course.
“It’s been great to be involved with such an amazing show. I think it’s kind of right he goes down. Because what else is he going to do after this? He’s done so many things. It’s justified, and it’s the right thing to do. It’s the right path. He’s reached his peak. It’s nice for the audience that he goes out on this high, if you will,” Rheon said.
Although his death initially came as a surprise to him, fans were far less shocked. Dedicated “Game of Thrones” viewers spent much of the week prior to “Battle of the Bastards” buzzing about it online. Many speculated about what may happen — going off the episode title, few nondescript photos and a brief preview video. Many placed bets on who would be the next to die, favoring Cersei Lannister (Lena Heady) and Ramsay Bolton above the rest. Those able to tune in quickly learned that while the odds were not in the queen mother’s favor, she will live to see at least another episode.
It remains unclear how HBO plans to step up its streaming capacity for the Season 6 finale. The episode, titled “Winds of Winter,” will be 69 minutes long — giving fans nearly 10 extra minutes of show time — and air Sunday, June 26, at 9 p.m. EDT.