Game of Thrones lures in record viewing figures despite uneven seventh season
Season seven of Game of Thrones, which finished on Sunday night, has seen the critical mass begin to turn against what was previously an unstoppable juggernaut.
As the show's leading powers battle for their seat on the Iron Throne, viewers have been subjected to preposterous plot devices and wonky storylines, with critics calling DB Weiss and David Benioff's project "creatively bankrupt".
That hasn't stopped, however, viewers tuning in in their millions. Record-breaking numbers, in fact. Game of Thrones has long smashed records for HBO, the cable network it is broadcast on in its native US: it beat The Sopranos as the network's most-watched series ever in 2015, after crossing the 18.2 million viewers-per-episode mark.
But that's small fry in comparison to the average 31 million viewers per episode that season seven has witnessed, an 24 per cent increase on 2016's ratings.
The finale offered another broken record, with 16.5 million viewers watching the episode live and streaming on the night of broadcast alone. That's a 13 per cent increase from the 10.7 million who had watched episode five live, and 8.9 million more viewers (36 per cent) on 2016's final.
This was Game of Thrones' penultimate season, before season eight airs next year. If the ratings continue on this trajectory, people are set to continue watching – even if the show is running out of ideas.