Game of Thrones broke ratings records once again in its final season: Sunday’s third episode of season 8, “The Long Night,” delivered an incredible 17.8 million overnight viewers.

This marks a new high for the fantasy series, and for HBO, and makes the latest episode the most-watched scripted series telecast of the year. The figure exceeds the final season premiere earlier this month, which had 17.4 million. This includes two linear airings from Sunday night and streaming on HBO NOW and HBO GO.

The numbers represent only a fraction of the show’s total audience as the series is a hit around the globe and is currently very likely the world’s most popular series. Also, the show’s audience grows over time as more streaming is added. The season 8 premiere is now up to a whopping 38 million viewers.

Sunday’s episode chronicled the climactic Battle of Winterfell, a lavishly produced 82-minute siege where a collection of disparate heroes faced off against the Army of the Dead. Directed by Miguel Sapochnik, drew praise for its suspense and stunning character-driven action, yet also some controversy for often being so dark that some viewers had difficulty making out what was happening on screen (read EW’s recap). The production famously spent 55 nights (plus several more weeks inside the studio) filming the episode amid very difficult conditions in an effort to make the battle as realistic as possible.

“The Long Night” was also the most-tweeted-about episode of scripted television ever, with Twitter saying there were nearly 8 million tweets about the episode.

The episode set the stage for Sunday’s fourth episode — which is also around 80 minutes long — which shifts the action from the war against the Night King to the war for the Iron Throne. There are six episodes total in the final season, which concludes May 19.

More “The Long Night’ coverage:

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.

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