HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ Draws 5.4 Million for Third-Season Finale

Game of thrones

Show caps its highest-rated season to date by growing nearly 30% above last year's closer

One week after a vocal minority of “Game of Thrones” fans vowed to bail on the series after its especially violent “red wedding” episode, the epic fantasy show drew its second-largest audience to date for its third-season finale Sunday night.

Nielsen estimates that 5.4 million tuned in Sunday for the first telecast of the season-ender, up 3% from last week’s 5.22 million and behind only the show’s May 5 episode, which drew 5.5 million — this despite facing the NBA Finals on ABC. Among all current HBO series, only “True Blood” has drawn a larger audience than “Game of Thrones,” peaking at 5.53 million in August 2011.

REVIEW: “Game of Thrones” Season Three Finale

A second airing Sunday drew about 900,000 viewers, for a cume total of 6.3 million viewers.

This year’s finale of “Game of Thrones” surged 28% over last year’s 4.2 million.

According to Nielsen data supplied by HBO last week, this season of “Thrones” has averaged 13.6 million viewers when you add in encores, DVR playback and viewing done via the HBO Go streaming app. The only season of an HBO series to draw a larger cumulative audience per episode was the 2004 season of “The Sopranos,” which drew 14.4 million.

For the season, “Game of Thrones” averaged 4.97 million viewers for its 9 p.m. Sunday telecast — a gain of 30% from its second-season average (3.8 million) and nearly double its rookie-season average of 2.52 million.

Demographic data wasn’t available Monday, but Sunday’s season finale was expected to be on par with the 2.9 that “Thrones” earned on May 5. “True Blood” has eclipsed a 3 demo rating on three occasions.

HBO has renewed “Game of Thrones,” which is based on “A Song of Ice and Fire,” a series of fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin, for a fourth season of 10 episodes.

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  1. Gaz says:

    The season finally was one of the best end of seasons I have seen in along time. Jamie is back and can’t wait to see what happens .. Bravo GOT

  2. Sergey says:

    The finally sucked, they didn’t follow throught with the third book. Its almost like being cheated, everyone waited for two Lanestors to die and it never happened.

    • Ninja says:

      It’s because the third season on tv is only based on half of book 3 btw! Guess if you knew that, you wouldn’t have spoiled it…

  3. sam says:

    I’m sorry but any Game of thrones fan wouldn’t have ”bailed” because of a violent episode its the critics and reviewers who are assuming this, it would be ridiculous to think a fan of 3 years would be put off by one violent episode when nearly every episode features a death or disturbing moment they know what they are in for and roll with it because it is what entertains them otherwise they wouldn’t have turned on the television.

  4. Brandon Brown says:

    I’ll wager that “vocal minority” of viewers who threatened to stop watching weren’t first readers of the novels.

  5. The Kingslayer says:

    It’s time GOT was given an Emmy for best drama.

  6. The finale was great but what in the world was in that box the Greyjoys opened?

    • Sharon McDonnell says:

      Didn’t you hear Theon’s father tell his daughter that Theon would not be fathering any children? He doesn’t need fingers and toes to father children, does he?

  7. Another number, which I am sure they can’t track – is the amount of people that find the show streaming online outside of HBO sources. You could easily probably add another million to this figure. And if HBO is smart, they will make sure this series is renewed for many more seasons. It blows True Blood away.

  8. EK says:

    Cume total probably includes some repeat viewers from the first airing. And DVR timeshifting is also a factor, especially considering NBA competition. So the real number of eventual viewers is hard to gauge.

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