The second season premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones delivered series-high ratings Sunday night.
Thrones returned to 3.9 million viewers. That’s up a massive 74 percent from its series debut last year. It also greatly improves upon the show’s previous all-time high, which was just over 3 million viewers. Including all three Sunday airings, the show delivered 6.3 million viewers. The numbers mean a third season renewal is pretty much guaranteed (and also dissolves any concerns that last season’s killing of popular characters would result in a dip).
Despite airing on a network with fewer subscribers than its basic cable rivals, HBO’s Thrones stomped the season 2 premier of AMC’s The Killing (1.8 million) and the latest episode of Mad Men (2.9 million).
Even though, for me, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise, these numbers are astounding. I knew that the show had generated a massive buzz after last season ended (the DVD/ BluRay sales proved that) but to see that buzz translate into actual ratings is phenomenal. However, the most exciting part of all this is the fact that these numbers basically ensure a season 3 order by HBO. Storm of Swords is my favorite book in the series, and if the showrunners can pull off some specific scenes (book readers know what I’m talking about), television will never be the same.