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SYFY WIRE Game of Thrones

A year after it ended, Game of Thrones still leads TV pirating - even in the pandemic era

By Matthew Jackson
Tyrion Game of Thrones finale

Game of Thrones got famous for a lot of things over the course of its lengthy run on HBO, from sudden and shocking death scenes to compelling music and iconic performances. It also became famous throughout its time on the air for the sheer number of people pirating each season so they wouldn't have to pay for HBO. Game of Thrones frequently topped annual lists of the most-pirated TV series, which for HBO often served as just another sign of the show's dominance. Now, with the show off the air for more than a year, you might think that everyone – even the pirates — has had ample time to catch up, but according to a new report that's very much not the case.

According to a new Observer report, content analytics company Parrot Analytics recently put together some data on what people are pirating during the pandemic since, after all, it's the perfect time to stay home and binge a bunch of TV. Using piracy data as well as things like fan ratings and social media posts, Parrot came up with a list of the top 10 most-pirated TV series over the past 60 days, in an effort to get a clear picture of what quarantine piracy looks like. The result: Even now, 14 months after its series finale aired, Game of Thrones remains the king of pirated shows. 

The HBO epic fantasy series topped the list both in the U.S. and around the world, and was accompanied in the top 10 by a few more old piracy favorites. The Walking Dead came in fourth in the rankings, while Rick and Morty landed second and The Flash came in eighth. In terms of newcomers, the top 10 also included Disney+'s The Mandalorian in seventh and DC Universe's Harley Quinn in tenth. Here's the full Top 10:

  1. Game of Thrones (HBO)
  2. Rick and Morty (Adult Swim)
  3. My Hero Academia (Available on Hulu)
  4. The Walking Dead (AMC)
  5. SpongeBob SquarePants (Nickelodeon)
  6. The 100 (The CW)
  7. The Mandalorian (Disney+)
  8. The Flash (The CW)
  9. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)
  10. Harley Quinn (DC Universe)

It's not surprising that people are using all their time indoors as an excuse to grab some TV online through less-than-legal means, particularly cord-cutters who've either previously watched these shows in friends' homes or just not cared enough about them to watch before because they were too busy with other things. What is perhaps surprising, though, is Thrones' continued dominance. Even after all this time, people are still finding the series, or seeking it out again to rewatch it. With demand like this, it's not hard to imagine the HBO Max prequel series hitting the top of piracy lists in the future.