Last Sunday, Game of Thrones returned for its seventh, penultimate season after the longest wait for a new season in the show’s history. Not surprisingly, fans across the world welcomed Westeros back onto their screens with open arms. The premiere, “Dragonstone,” which features Daenerys Targaryen’s much anticipated arrival in Westeros, quickly became HBO’s most watched premiere ever. Additionally, “Dragonstone,” broke previous Thrones viewership records with a stunning 10.1 million views on the night of the premiere alone. As the season continues, we can expect more high viewership numbers, given the show’s rabid fan-base. Game of Thrones continues to be one of HBO’s most lucrative and popular shows.
Unfortunately, HBO’s main website couldn’t take the heat. During the premiere of Game of Thrones, HBO’s website went down, greeting visitors with an error message. Additionally, HBO Now, a subscription service which has provided internet streaming of HBO content since 2015, suffered from delays as it became over-crowded with ardent fans eager to see White Walkers. HBO Go, another HBO subscription service, also suffered from issues of over-demand, especially outside of the United States. This isn’t an unusual trend– HBO and its affiliate services have struggled before during past premieres and especially epic episodes. Feisty fans were eager to express their displeasure, taking to the internet to complain about their inability to see the premiere. For those who are frustrated, at least this year was an improvement from past seasons, where HBO Now suffered far more devastating crashes during Game of Thrones episodes– most memorably “The Battle of the Bastards.”
With another episode coming this Sunday, Game of Thrones looks like it will continue to break records for viewership, especially with the trailers promising so many exciting moments to come. Hopefully, HBO will prepare their servers for the masses, and everyone will be able to watch episodes live to their heart’s content.