The much anticipated premier of the fourth season of Game of Thrones aired Sunday night to a roaring social media bravado, and although parent network HBO experienced some technical difficulties with their streaming service, HBO Go, the show continues to be one of the most watched programs on air.
The episode, titled “Two Swords”, gets it’s name from the opening sequence in which Tywin Lannister crafts two Valarian Steel swords from the massive sword which used to belong to Ned Stark. The episode introduced us to a new character, Oberyn Martell (the Red Viper), showed us the increasingly uncontrollable (and massive) dragons, let us sympathize with Tyrion Lannister and Jon Snow, who still knows nothing, and finished on an immensely strong note with Arya Stark avenging a friends death in high fashion:
The premier was the most watched program on the network since the 2007 finale of The Sopranos. With a full night tally of 8.2 million viewers (including two encores), the show easily beat out the season 3 premier, which reigned in 4.4 million viewers. Showing no signs of slowing down, reports indicate that the show also broke records in piracy attempts with 1.17 million unique IP’s trying to access torrents of the show within only 15 hours of the premier. However, many fans trying to access the show legally via their HBO Go accounts found technical difficulties. Due to the overwhelming demand, HBO Go wasn’t loading and some fans took to Twitter to express their resentment and disappointment using the hashtag #HBOFail:
The Twitterverse exploded with nearly 500,000 tweets related to the show, peaking during the show’s airing. The hashtag #GameofThrones was used nearly 200,000 times, and the Game of Thrones official handle, @GameofThrones, was mentioned 17,000 times.
Overall, HBO should be happy with the reaction from the realm. Fans took to social media in full force and the #GameofThrones hashtag trended worldwide well into the night. And although the premier could have gone without the minor hiccup, one thing is certain: Winter is coming, but Spring television is here.