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The Wars to Come Hits Series High Despite Piracy

The premiere of “The Wars to Come”—our written review is still forthcoming, but we’ve posted our usual video review (some minor audio and editing glitches—new workflow, new camera!—but those are brief)—has not only become the highest rated premiere episode of Game of Thrones;, but the highest rated episode, period, with nearly 8 million viewers. As Variety notes, that’s about 800,000 more than its second highest rated episode, “Mockingbird”. And across the pond, Sky Atlantic in the UK reported that their airing on Monday was also their highest rated episode ever, with 1.6 million viewers in the overnight rating.

The success of the show, and the simulcasting that covered most of the connected world (excluding, notably, the UK; but Sky Atlantic has worked some magic and will now simulcast from episode 2 and on), is certainly gratifying to HBO and the production… especially in the wake of the illegal release of the first four episodes just before the first legitimately aired, an unprecedented violation of HBO’s legal and moral rights in the control of their intellectual property. This theft—which hundreds of thousands, possibly even millions, of alleged “fans” have compounded by downloading the episodes—makes us here at Westeros particularly angry, as it’s such a slap in the face of HBO’s extraordinary efforts to reach out and support fans. The level of access they have given reviewers, media, and fan sites alike is unprecedented, and they have gone the extra mile to try and keep the fans engaged. On top of that, the global simulcasting and the launch of HBO Now have been aimed to make legitimate access available as widely as possible.

And this, it seems, is how they are repaid. For our part, we hope those responsible are tracked down and punished to the fullest extant of the law. It’s unconscionable behavior and shouldn’t be supported or approved.

In light of our views, we’ll note that Westeros.org’s forums now have a strictly policy of permanent banning anyone who discusses the pirated material or tries to tell others how to find it. We may have our (well-known) issues with various aspects of the show, but we’re absolutely in support of HBO’s and the production’s prerogatives to control access to what they create with their own blood, sweat, toil, and money.

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