‘Game Of Thrones’ Battle of Winterfell lands all-time series, HBO viewership high

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains details of the third episode of Game of Thrones’ Season 8 that aired April 28.

UPDATED, 8:34 AM: The linear numbers for "Games of Thrones‘" hand-to-hand- and sword-to-sword-filled “The Long Night” episode Sunday scored the second best numbers for the series on HBO ever. With HBOGo and HBO Now numbers added in, the third episode of the Emmy-winning series’ eighth and final season is now the most-watched GoT and most-watched HBO series in the history of the WarnerMedia-owned outlet.

Topping the previous record of the Season 8 “Winterfell” opener of April 14,“The Long Night” snagged 17.8 million viewers over all platforms and with two linear airings. That bested the “Winterfell” episode by 3% in gross audience — a win is still a win not matter how close.

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PREVIOUSLY, 7:52 AM: We don’t know yet who will sit on the Iron Throne, but the third episode of the final season of "Game of Thrones" gave us the battle of all small-screen battles and near-record viewership result for HBO.

Clocking in at 82 minutes, the Miguel Sapochnik-directed “The Long Night” is the longest episode so far of the David Benioff and D.B. Weiss executive produced blockbuster series based on George R.R. Martin’s writings. With a sweeping body count and the killing of the much-feared Night King (Vladimir Furdik) by Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) in the final minutes, the much-anticipated episode is also the second most watched "GoT" ever, at least for now.

The long and bloody “The Long Night” snared 12.02 million viewers on April 28, HBO said.

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The draw of “The Long Night” is just a mere 55,000 sets of eyeballs less than which tuned in for the all-time "GoT" viewership high of the Season 7 finale. That August 27, 2017 episode, “The Dragon and The Wolf,” drew 12.07 million linear viewers.

The 5.28 rating among adults 18-49 that “The Long Night” snagged is the second best demo result "GoT" has had. No surprise, the top 18-49 result, so far, remains that Season 7 ender. “The Dragon and The Wolf” roped in a 5.70 rating among the key demo.

Squarely the top non-season finale "GoT" so far among linear viewers, the overall numbers could see an interesting uptick once HBO releases HBOGo and HBO NOW figures later today.

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Of course, with the battle for Winterfell literally the culmination of one of the major plots of the entire series, it will be very interesting to see how many fans actually went digital as opposed to watching the darkly filmed drama of warfare against the Army of the Dead in real time.

Turning back to linear viewership for a sec, the third episode of the final season of "GoT" rose 16.7% from Easter Sunday’s “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.”Season-to-season, “The Long Night” was up a kingslaying 30% in its audience from the July 30, 2017 “The Queen’s Justice” third episode of Season 7.

“The Long Night” was first episode of the eighth and last season of "GoT" to be penned by Benioff and Weiss this year. They wrote the final three episodes of "Game of Thrones," including the series finale May 19. Benioff and Weiss are also directing that series ender.