Roar: Game of Thrones just got its biggest ratings ever — for an episode that leaked online three days early.
The HBO fantasy hit scored 10.2 million viewers for its debut airing Sunday night at 9 p.m. of “The Spoils of War.” That number edges out the show’s previous all-time record holder, the recent season 7 premiere, “Dragonstone” (which premiered to 10.1 million episodes and has since climbed to over 30 million in repeats, streaming and DVR playback). The subsequent two episodes dipped down to about 9.2 million before surging for this week’s fourth episode.
The results are a victory for the network which has been under siege in recent weeks.
“The Spoils of War” leaked online Friday from HBO’s international partner Star India. While the episode’s script was leaked the previous Sunday night by a hacker who has infiltrated HBO and has set about releasing internal documents, emails and content.
Yet the leak might have actually helped the episode’s performance. Those who saw the pilfered low-resolution stream of “The Spoils of War” before the show aired on HBO took to social media to rave about the episode, with many pledging to watch it again in high-definition on the network.