The Game of Thrones finale, which aired on Sky Atlantic last night, was watched by almost 1.7 million people, according to overnight figures.
The episode, in which a number of integral main characters met their demise, attracted 1.4 million viewers at 21:00 BST on Monday – 6.9% of the total TV audience. Another 275,000 tuned in for an earlier 02:00 BST showing, which went out at the same time as the US broadcast. Sky Atlantic said a similar number watched that screening on demand.
The 1.4 million figure is just shy of the series highest-rated episode – the premiere of season five was watched by 1.6 million viewers in April. Torrent Freak, an online publication which collates file-sharing news, also said that the episode had “set a new piracy record,” with 1.5 million downloads in eight hours.
The publication also made predictions that the number of downloads would “swell to over 10 million during the days to come,” breaking the all-time record for the number of people sharing a single file at the same time.
The final episode shocked audiences after fan favourite, Jon Snow was murdered by men of the Night’s Watch. British actor, Kit Harington has already dashed hopes of a comeback, declaring that he would not be returning to the fantasy drama next year; “I’m dead. I’m not coming back next season.”
A number of other characters also met their demise in the finale, including Stannis Baratheon – who was executed at the hands of Brienne of Tarth, just hours after his wife, Queen Selyse, hanged herself.
Sky Atlantic retained 412,000 viewers for the fan show, Thronecast which aired at 22:00 BST.