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Pirates raided Game of Thrones' Season 8 debut episode 55 million times in 24 hours

By Brian Silliman
Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy on Game of Thrones

The Greyjoys seem to be at it again. The premiere of Game of Thrones' final season shattered ratings records with 17.4 million viewers tuning in, but as usual, the pirates had their way with illegal viewing of the show.

The Verge (using statistics from the MUSO analytics firm) reports that the premiere of Season 8, titled "Winterfell", had about 55 million pirated views. These occured in different ways — illegal streaming, downloads, torrents, and possibly magical portal balls. All of that happened in just 24 hours, too. 

When the stats were broken down further, it was discovered that most illegal views of the episode happened in the form of unofficial streaming. Those figures rest somewhere around 76 percent, while actual downloads come in second, with 12 percent. The old chestnut of torrents (still a thing) took a little over 10 percent. Just as HBO's ratings are still coming in from their multiple streaming services (and from viewers who didn't watch it on the first night, seven hells!), the piracy numbers are very likely to go up right alongside. 

The numbers confirm that India had the most pirated views, likely because it is very hard to access the show there. China only shows a censored version of it (the episode was probably only 4 minutes long), so piracy was big there as well. Other than those two countries, the United States was the biggest offender, a country that has access to the show (and to HBO) like no other. The numbers claim that 4 million illegal views came from the U.S., and that's not taking into account the huge number of people who share HBO Go passwords.  

Enthusiasm for the premiere was huge, and now the table has been set. Excitement is only going to get higher as the blood starts spilling, and it is likely that the ratings will top themselves each week that the final season goes forward. At the same time, sadly, this likely won't be the last we'll hear of illegal streaming of the show. We'd continue the Greyjoy pirate metaphor, but seriously, if they were involved they'd screw it up and end up killing each other. They're horrible. 

Did you enjoy the premiere? Did you dislike it? If it's a case of the latter, then Jon Snow himself doesn't care. You'd be better off calling the Game of Thrones hotline, or even getting into spells and witchcraft with Melisandre. In any case, raid the comments section with your dragon-fire-scorching-hot takes.