By James Hibberd
Updated May 17, 2011 at 06:44 PM EDT

Once again, HBO’s Game of Thrones ratings hit a season high Sunday night, climbing to 2.6 million viewers for its premiere airing.

Combined with its encore, Thrones was up to 3.3 million viewers for the night, with the show averaging 8.1 million viewers per episode across all platforms. After a somewhat middling premiere performance followed by a steady second episode, this is now the third week in a row Thrones ratings have gone up. And given the show’s storyline is picking up the pace for a dramatic second half of the season, these numbers could continue rising and turn Thrones into a bona fide hit. Intensely serialized shows like Thrones rarely climb like this, and when they do they tend to become titles that have healthy lifespans.

As Thrones ascends, Showtime’s Nurse Jackie (431,000) and United States of Tara (230,000) continue to slip — both shows hit series lows on Sunday night, with Jackie down about 40 percent and Tara off 58 percent from their averages last year.

In case you missed it, here’s this week’s Thrones recap: Episode V: The Lannisters Strike Back.

Episode Recaps


Game of Thrones

HBO's epic fantasy drama based on George R.R. Martin's novel series 'A Song of Ice and Fire.'

  • TV Show
  • 8
  • 73
  • TV-MA
  • David Benioff
  • D.B. Weiss
  • HBO
stream service