A day before HBO was set to air the highly-anticipated premiere of the new season of Game of Thrones, the first four episodes from said season leaked online. Of course, the prompted a huge dilemma among the show's ardent fans. On one hand, the weekly anticipation is part of the fun of the show – and who wants to blast through the next four weeks' worth of episodes in four hours? On the other hand, well, everyone does. Duh.
According to TorrentFreak, the episodes were downloaded more than 100,000 times in just the first few hours of availability. Now, that number is well over a million.
But according to numbers, this leak didn't stop Game of Thrones from having its biggest opening ever.
Deadline has the ratings, and Game of Thrones' Sunday night premiere crushed it. It garnered 7.99 live viewers – a series best. It beats the previous record, which was 7.1 million viewers during last season's finale.
"Of Sunday night’s Season 5 premiere crowd, 5.32 million fell into the 18-49 demographic, and 2.64 million came from the 18-34 crowd, while 5.25 million fell into the older 25-54 age bracket," says Deadline.
Leak or no leak, Game of Thrones is more popular than ever.
“Sadly, it seems the leaked four episodes of the upcoming season of Game of Thrones originated from within a group approved by HBO to receive them. We’re actively assessing how this breach occurred,” said HBO following the leak.
And now that the episodes are out there in the wild, GoT fans will face a quandary for the next few weeks. Download, for instant gratification? Or wait it out, for maximum gratification. One thing is for sure – beware the internet, for it's dark, and full of spoilers.
Image via GameofThrones, YouTube