If it had to end, at least Game of Thrones went out on a high.

Ratings-wise, that is. A lot of fans aren’t happy with the ending. (Of course they’re not.) But HBO has to be absolutely thrilled. Because the finale of Game of Thrones was watched by 13.6 million viewers live on the cable network. When you factor in viewings online on platforms like HBO GO and HBO NOW, it’s already been watched by 19.2 million people. Those are all records for the show and for the network. The last Game of Thrones, “The Iron Throne,” is basically the most-watched episode of an HBO show ever.

To put things in perspective, the series finale of The Sopranos — the only other show in the network’s history to generate as much conversation, analysis, and obsession — was viewed by 13.4 million people in June 2007. And in the interim, pretty much every show and channel on television has seen major ratings losses, as cable customers have cut their cords, and people have found entertainment online. Nothing on TV is expected to do as well now as it did back then.

So for a show to outdo The Sopranos a dozen years later really means something. Namely that HBO is going to do everything in its power to deliver on those Game of Thrones prequel/spinoff shows it has promised. Those are definitely happening come hell or high water.

Gallery — The Best-Dressed Game of Thrones Characters:


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