HBO
James Hibberd
April 03, 2012 AT 03:09 PM EDT

The second season premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones delivered series-high ratings Sunday night.

Thrones returned to 3.9 million viewers. That’s up a massive 74 percent from its series debut last year. It also greatly improves upon the show’s previous all-time high, which was just over 3 million viewers. Including all three Sunday airings, the show delivered 6.3 million viewers. The numbers mean a third season renewal is pretty much guaranteed (and also dissolves any concerns that last season’s killing of popular characters would result in a dip).

Despite airing on a network with fewer subscribers than its basic cable rivals, HBO’s Thrones stomped the season 2 premiere of AMC’s The Killing (1.8 million) and the latest episode of Mad Men (2.9 million).

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‘Game of Thrones’ showrunners talk season 2

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