GoT finale shatters ratings records
The Game of Thrones finale has smashed ratings records for Foxtel as the most watched episode of the series.
More than a million Australians tuned into "The Iron Throne" yesterday, with Foxtel recording the largest ever overnight audience in subscription TV history.
Despite mixed reviews from critics and fans, a combined audience of 1.547 million watched season 8, episode 6 across the day yesterday.
Breaking that down, 1.076 million watched across all airings on the set top box, marking an increase of 21 per cent on the season 7 finale, while 471,000 tuned in to stream live or on demand on both Foxtel GO and Foxtel Now.
Individually, these numbers were also record-breaking figures for the streaming service.
The numbers are expected to grow with delayed viewing.
The second most watched episode of the season was episode 3, 'The Long Night', which held the record of 1.011 million.
The first episode of the final season reached an overnight linear audience across all airings of 962,000 viewers, an increase of 17 per cent on the season 7 premiere in 2017.
The season 7 debut drew in 820,000 viewers, which was at the time the highest ratings ever for a series in the history of subscription television in Australia, and an increase of 13 per cent on season 6's launch in 2016.
The Game of Thrones season 8 audience has been the most engaged ever, with the show pulling in a cumulative average audience of 1.413 million viewers per episode across episodes 1-4.
Foxtel is the only TV broadcaster that owns the rights to screen HBO's fantasy epic.
Overseas, the finale also drew record-breaking numbers, with 19.3 million viewers on all of HBO's platforms.
Its success was despite a wave of negative reactions from fans over the course of the final season, with a Change.org petition going viral demanding the entire eighth series be re-written.
It described GoT creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff as "woefully incompetent writers when they have no source material."
Sophie Turner, who played Sansa Stark, said the petition was "disrespectful".
"All of these petitions and things like that - I think it's disrespectful to the crew, and the writers, and the filmmakers who have worked tirelessly over 10 years, and for 11 months shooting the last season," she said.
"Like 50-something night shoots. So many people worked so, so hard on it, and for people to just rubbish it because it's not what they want to see is just disrespectful."
Kit Harington, who fans know as Jon Snow, was furious at critics, telling them to "go f**k themselves", after fans were unhappy with the abrupt death of a fan favourite and an unusual choice for ruler.
"Whatever critic spends half an hour writing about this season and makes their judgment on it, in my head they can go f**k themselves," he told Esquire.
"Because I know how much work was put into this."
Harington later apologised, saying he didn't intend to "sound mean about critics", but added that the show meant too much to him for him to allow it to be bashed online.