9.25 million viewers watched as Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) met for the first time. That tense first conversation certainly didn’t give any indication of the romance (or the aunt-nephew reveal) to come.
2. “Stormborn” (Season 7, Episode 2)
This seafaring episode, in which Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk) and his Iron Fleet attack nephew Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) and niece Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan) and kill two of the Sand Snakes, garnered an audience of 9.27 million.
3. “Dragonstone” (Season 7, Episode 1)
10.11 million viewers bore witness to Ed Sheeran‘s cameo in the Season 7 premiere, an installment which also saw Dany and her allies arrive in the titular former Targaryen stronghold.
4. “The Spoils of War” (Season 7, Episode 4)
As 10.17 million people watched, Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) took his shot at Dany in the Riverlands after she and her dragons attack the loot train he’s taking to King’s Landing. Luckily for her, Drogon intervened.
5. “Beyond the Wall” (Season 7, Episode 6)
This chapter of the saga, in which Jon and a brave posse of men venture beyond the wall and capture a wight to prove the White Walker threat is real, attracted 10.24 million viewers.
6. “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” (Season 8, Episode 2)
10.29 million viewers checked out this episode, in which Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) finally gets knighted, Arya (Maisie Williams) hooks up with Gendry (Joe Dempsie), and Jon reveals his birthright to Dany as Winterfell prepares to battle the dead.
7. “Eastwatch” (Season 7, Episode 5)
Dany had one of her dragons incinerate Samwell Tarly’s father and brother after they refused to bend the knee in this episode, which also saw Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) covertly meet with brother Jaime. 10.72 million people tuned in.
8. “Winterfell” (Season 8, Episode 1)
11.76 million viewers watched the Season 8 premiere, during which Dany arrives in Winterfell for the first time and gets a chilly reception from Sansa (Sophie Turner), Arya reconnects with The Hound (Rory McCann) and Gendry, and Jon learns the truth about his parents.
9. “The Dragon and the Wolf” (Season 7, Episode 7)
The Season 7 finale ranks as the HBO show’s most-watched episode so far, with 12.07 million people witnessing Jon and Dany’s negotiations with Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), Jon and Dany’s negotiations with each other (if you catch our drift), and Arya and Sansa’s revenge against Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen).
Season 7, for example, averaged more than four times the viewership than Season 1. So it should be no surprise that the nine highest-rating episodes are also the nine most recent… though you may be surprised to see the ranking doesn't follow the chronological order.