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How high will the ratings go for “Game of Throne’s” season 6 premiere on Sunday? That’s a question that reverberates far beyond Westeros....

‘Game of Thrones’ Ratings: How Epic Will Season 6 Premiere Audience Be?

How high will the ratings go for “Game of Throne’s” season 6 premiere on Sunday? That’s a question that reverberates far beyond Westeros.

Once a little-known fantasy book adaptation, HBO’s fantasy epic initially premiered in 2011 to just 2.8 million total viewers. The audience grew by a million for the first season’s finale. That’s a pretty good increase, until you consider that by the Season 5 finale, the overall audience number was just shy of 10.5 million.

Like the HBO fantasy series, that’s epic.

Will “GoT” hit a new peak on Sunday? Hard to tell.

Despite marking the (apparent) death of fan-favorite Jon Snow (Kit Harington), the season 5 closer, with 10.426 million total viewers, was not the series’ most-watched episode. That honor goes to the fifth season’s premiere, which grabbed 10.461 million overall audience members after seven days of delayed viewing.

With 50 episodes in the can, “GoT” averages 6.6 million per episode, though that may underestimate the show’s total impact. TheWrap averaged each season and crunched those changes to show the steady  growth. (Season-over-season increases are in parentheses.)

Season 1: 3.330 million total viewers
Season 2: 4.898 million (+47.1 percent)
Season 3: 6.442 million (+31.5 percent)
Season 4: 8.978 million (+39.4 percent)
Season 5: 9.513 million (+6 percent)

As one can see, Season 2 had the biggest growth versus its predecessor, but the smaller starting point helps. Season 4 saw a large jump itself, and Season 5 may end up being a plateau point. We’ll see how Season 6 did in a few months, but expect Sunday’s premiere to reset all the records.

Check out how every single episode faired per Nielsen’s Live + 7 Day metric at the bottom of this post, all listed in total viewers.

HBO looks at its key drama’s viewership a little differently. Here’s how the pay-TV channel wants us to report “Game of Thrones” ratings:

Season 1: 9.3 million total viewers
Season 2: 11.6 million
Season 3: 14.4 million
Season 4: 19.1 million
Season 5: 20.2 million

Why the massive discrepancies? HBO is going by what it calls “gross audience,” counting all access points that go through a subscription — so, linear, DVR, HBO On Demand, HBO Go and HBO Now. Plus, the Time Warner premium cable network carries out those measurements to about a full month after a season ends.