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The struggle for the Iron Throne has captivated viewers in the U.K., with the launch of the final “Game of Thrones” season garnering 3.4 million viewers in overnights for Sky. That was the pay-TV service’s biggest overnight audience ever, and puts the new installment well on track to set an overall ratings record for Sky, ahead of the Season 7 launch episode, which currently holds the crown.

Sky has an output deal with HBO and is the home of “Game of Thrones” in the U.K. The hugely anticipated opener to Season 8 was simulcast live in the U.K. at 2 a.m. local time. There were 192,000 fans watching live, compared with 121,000 for Season 7.

The numbers for the simulcast jumped to 2.7 million, factoring in viewers who recorded the late-night transmission and watched ahead of Sky running its regular primetime premiere at 9 p.m. the following evening. That showing garnered an additional 698,000 viewers.

The overnight numbers are 20% up on those for the Season 7 opener launch, which went on to garner a cumulative audience of 4.97 million, the biggest ever for a show on Sky. The new curtain-raiser is expected to eclipse that as catchup viewing adds to the total. Sky subscribers can watch repeats of “Game of Thrones,” as well as recordings and on-demand.

In Germany 600,000 watched or recorded the live screening at 3 a.m. local time. A greater number then watched the scheduled premieres at 8.15 p.m. and 10.20 p.m. taking the total to 1.34 million. That number does not account for on-demand viewing with those figures yet to come in, but is a marked increase on the season 7 launch.

In the U.S. the Season 8 premiere drew 17.4 million viewers across linear and streaming, and as in the U.K., the numbers will continue to rise.