“Game of Thrones” just keeps getting bigger. Not only has HBO’s fantasy series surpassed “True Blood” as the cable network’s second most-watched show of all time, but last night’s season finale also set a new record for piracy. Less than 24 hours after the season 3 finale ended, well over a million people have already downloaded “Mhysa.”
According to numbers from TorrentFreak, as many as 171,572 people were active sharing a single torrent of the season 3 finale “Mhysa.” Of those, 128,572 were sharing a complete file of the episode, while 42,886 people were still downloading it. Adding up all the numbers across five files for “Mhysa” showed that at a single moment, roughly 608,000 people were either sharing or downloading the “Game of Thrones” season finale.
TorrentFreak estimates that more than a million people have already downloaded the episode and expects that number to surpass 5 million by the end of the week. Those numbers beat out the “Game of Thrones” season 3 premiere as the most downloaded episode of the show, and it makes “Game of Thrones” the most torrented show of 2013, just as it was for 2012.
Interestingly enough, the country with the most downloads wasn’t America, but Australia. Because Australia gets episodes of “Game of Thrones” behind the United States, it seems Australian fans have been resorting to less-than-legal tactics to obtain their favorite fantasy series at the same time as the rest of the world.
“Game of Thrones” isn’t popular just with pirates, either. Entertainment Weekly reports that the season 3 finale “Mhysa” raked in 5.4 million viewers for its 9 p.m. premiere, narrowly missing the series' record-high ratings of 5.5 million viewers. Later viewings of “Mhysa” boosted Sunday night’s numbers to approximately 6.3 million — a 28 percent increase over the season 2 finale.
All told, each episode of “Game of Thrones” season 3 averages 13.6 million viewers across multiple screenings in the week. Those numbers beat out “True Blood’s” average of 13 million viewers in 2010, making “Game of Thrones” the second most popular show in HBO’s history. Season five of “The Sopranos” still stands as the most-watched season of any HBO show with an average of 14.4 million viewers in 2004.
Unfortunately for fans, this year’s 10-episode season is over, and while “Game of Thrones” set up plenty of potential future plotlines for Jon Snow, Stannis Baratheon and Daenerys Targaryen, viewers still have to wait nine more months for “Game of Thrones” season 4. Of course, they can just pick up the second half of George R.R. Martin’s “A Storm of Swords” to find out what happens next.
Eric Brown is an IBTimes political reporter who eats far too much pizza. He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and currently resides in Brooklyn.