Helen Sloan/HBO
James Hibberd
June 22, 2015 AT 12:00 PM EDT

Another season of Game of Thrones has come to a close, and it’s on track to become the most-watched season yet. 

The fifth season of HBO’s epic thriller averaged 19.1 million viewers per episode when including all forms of viewership (streaming, DVR playback, repeats). That’s currently tied with last season and will continue to rise over the coming weeks. 

We once asked Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss, who hope to cap their worldwide hit at roughly seven seasons, what their hope was for the show’s eventual legacy. 

“It would be nice if people kept watching it,” Weiss said. “The idea is to tell a unified story that’s 70-odd hours long and do that successfully. It’s something I would love for my kids to be able to appreciate someday — though it might be traumatic for them to see it.”

Benioff added that he would like for Game of Thrones to become one of those titles like 1982’s comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High, which launched an ensemble cast into stardom. 

“It would be fun if it was like Fast Times at Ridgemont High where people are still watching [Thrones] 20 years from now and going, ‘Look, that’s a young Aflie Allen,’ or ‘That’s a young Sophie Turner’ — where so many actors started such great careers,” Benioff said. “It would be really fun on a personal level to know we had a helping hand in launching them, as well as other actors who aren’t so young that we still gave a boost.”

The sixth season of the series begins production in July. Unlike previous seasons, where fans of George R.R. Martin’s novels knew most of the show’s major plot twists, the series is expected to extend into unknown story territory (unless Martin publishes his upcoming novel, The Winds of Winter, before next spring). Weiss noted there’s a silver lining in this potential reversal of the usual way the narrative of A Song of Ice and Fire is consumed by book-reading fans. 

“I’d like to think the unpredictability of the show relative to the books where sometimes the show cleaves to the books and sometimes it departs from the books creates a kind of separate-if-obviously-very-closely-related universe that can coexist,” Weiss said. “You can’t dictate people’s reactions but I hope there’s an element of surprise introduced into the show’s narrative that makes it exciting for both people who read the books and people who watch the show and haven’t read the books yet.” 

RELATED: Maisie Williams reveals her season 6 concern 

Thrones finale coverage:

— Lena Headey’s Walk of Shame body double speaks out

 ‘Game of Thrones’ star defends the show’s female violence scenes

— Game of Thrones star on that shocking death: “I’m not coming back next season”

— Game of Thrones author, producer on whether Jon Snow is really dead 

— Game of Thrones actress on her brutal Walk of Shame: “I don’t think anyone deserves that treatment”

— Gwendoline Christie on her fatal finale encounter

— Game of Thrones producers, author on the Walk of Shame scene

— Game of Thrones actor on that fatal Jaime twist: Does this mean war in season 6?

— Game of Thrones season finale deep-dive recap: Our take on “Mother’s Mercy”

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