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Apparently the rampant Internet chatter and YouTube videos suggesting that fans were planning to tune out of Game of Thrones following the tragic events of The Red Wedding were for naught, as the overnight ratings for the HBO drama’s season three finale were up 28% over last year’s finale. In fact, Thrones has seen ratings increases throughout the season.
The finale saw 5.4 million viewers, just off the season’s records high of 5.5 million. Moreover, the show averaged 13.6 million viewers across all platforms (including HBOGO and On Demand viewership), making the third season of Game of Thrones the second highest rated season of any HBO show (behind only the fifth season of The Sopranos).
Game of Thrones' steady increase in viewership is particularly interesting, as serialized dramas often lose viewers as the show progresses, often due to the complex storylines that require viewers to watch every episode. Thrones has managed to avoid the drama slump and carve out an ever increasing niche in the pop culture sphere, as witnessed by the massive social media response to the season’s penultimate episode, which saw several characters meet a rather bloody end. The show has seen its rating grow in millions over the course of the past three years, with the first season finale bringing in 3.04 million viewers, the second season finale bringing in 4.20 million viewers, and the third rising to 5.4 million.
Notoriously expensive to produce, largely due to its large cast and long production schedule (with episodes shot in as many as five separate countries), the continually rising ratings will help secure the show's future. Thrones is set to return to the HBO schedule in the early spring of 2014 for season four.