Good luck with that ransom—HBO’s hacked “Game of Thrones” episode was its most-watched ever

Bend the knee.
Bend the knee.
Image: Helen Sloan/HBO
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Hackers, who are holding stolen scripts from the penultimate season of Game of Thrones hostage, have been demanding the TV network HBO pay a hefty sum to keep a lid on further spoilers and other company data. Already, scripts from season’s fourth and fifth episodes have leaked before airing.

“What we got from GOT 7 not only put an end to fate of this season but also corrupts your idea and efforts to season 8,” the hackers wrote in a ransom note. HBO has so far not given into the ransom demands, though a new email released by the hackers purports to show an HBO executive offering $250,000 for revealing weaknesses in the company’s security.

Game of Thrones fans, at least, aren’t giving in to the threats.

Viewers, who are used to avoiding spoilers from the insanely popular TV show, have spurned the leaks from the HBO hack and have turned out for the show in even greater numbers. Last week’s episode, “The Spoils of War,” was the most-watched episode of Game of Thrones ever with 10.2 million live- and same-day viewers, based on Nielsen numbers. It broke the series’s previous record of 10.1 million, held by its seventh-season opener.

That’s also despite the full episode being posted online a few days early by a pay-TV provider in India, which received the episodes in advance. The episode was a particularly pivotal one; after six seasons, the dragons finally attacked in spectacular fashion.

And these numbers don’t include viewership across all platforms, including repeats and streaming and DVR, which amounted at 16.1 million for the season 7 premiere. Nor piracy. With only three installments remaining in the season, including the upcoming fifth episode on Aug. 13, we’ll see how far HBO will go to protect its secrets.