The Game of Thrones Season 7 finale set another ratings high. Between live and same-day streams, “The Dragon and the Wolf” brought in 16.5 million viewers on Sunday night. According to linear ratings, 12.1 million viewers caught the episode live, a 36% increase over the Season 6 finale, which brought in 8.89 million viewers, and a 20% increase over the Season 7 premiere, which had 10.1 million live viewers (see “'Game of Thrones' Season 7 Premiere Sets HBO Ratings Record”). The combined first day viewership for the Season 7 premiere was 16.1 million.

Episodes of Season 7 have been averaging 30.6 million viewers, which Variety reports is a 34% increase over the 25.7 million-viewer average for Season 6. When compared to Season 1, which averaged 2.5 million viewers per episode, the juggernaut HBO series has seen increased viewership with each season, making it a ratings unicorn in a landscape that doesn’t generally see such patterns for long-running series.

Can the series maintain this pattern in its final season? It remains to be seen, but if it follows the established pattern, the Season 8 premiere will break yet another ratings record. But it could be a long, cold winter for fans: HBO programming president Casey Bloys told Entertainment Weekly that the six-episode last season may begin airing as late as 2019.

Meanwhile, HBO is busy developing several prequel series (see "Four 'Game of Thrones' Offshoot Series In the Works" and "Fifth 'Game of Thrones' Spin-off"), but neither the cast, nor the showrunners are on board for those shows.