Meaghan Kirby
Updated Sep 07, 2017 @ 4:42 pm

It shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that, like most of the world, we’re obsessed with Game of Thrones — and honestly, with good reason. Season 7 of the HBO hit saw record audiences — the season finale “The Dragon and the Wolf” had the most with 16.5 million total viewers — but it also brought the Game of Thrones piracy to a serious new level.

For the past few years, Game of Thrones has been the most pirated series in the world, but much like Season 7 upped the stakes, the piracy has increased faster than Gendry sprinting back to Eastwatch.

Game of Thrones Season 7 was pirated 1 billion times — yes, you’re reading this right, A BILLION TIMES.

game of thrones
Credit: HBO

According to piracy tracking website TorrentFreak, which used a report from piracy monitoring company MUSO, the piracy views for the seventh season of the HBO hit series dwarfed the legal views by more than four times. While HBO has reported an average of 32 million views for each of the seven episodes of the season, MUSO found that each episode had been pirated at least 116 million times, with the sixth episode “Beyond The Wall” coming in at the most pirated at 184 million views. The report also revealed how people are pirating the series, with 85 percent of people viewing the episode on illegal streaming websites, with torrenting and downloads making up most of the remaining 15 percent.

While the number is certainly staggering — I mean, we *are* talking a billion here — it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise after HBO’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad summer of hacks and leaks. Just weeks after the premium cable channel had a severe security breach, the fourth and sixth episode of GoT were accidentally leaked — Episode 4 by distribution company India Star, and Episode 6 by HBO Spain and HBO Nordic — in events unrelated to the original data breach. The Season 7 leaks are only the latest in a long-standing series of episode leaks Game of Thrones has faced in recent years, despite numerous attempts to crack down on the phenomenon.

Hopefully, the final season of the hit series finally sees the show become leak free (knock on wood) but if not, hey, congrats on breaking so many records. Honestly D & D, maybe it’s time to take the Arya Stark approach.