James Hibberd
June 28, 2016 AT 04:19 PM EDT

Game of Thrones ratings exploded for the HBO drama’s sixth season finale Sunday night, hitting a new record high in the overnight numbers for the international hit series.

Sunday’s premiere was seen by 8.9 million viewers, setting a new high for the show’s 9 p.m. debut hour. The previous record was held by the season 5 finale, which had 8.1 million viewers.

Overall, Thrones is also up versus last year, averaging more than 23 million viewers per episode once all forms of viewing are counted (like repeats, streaming, DVR playback, etc). That’s 15 percent higher than season 5. Thrones is one of the very few dramas ever made that manages to grow its audience each season (AMC’s Breaking Bad was another). 

Sunday premiere episode ratings overall are up 6 percent (7.3 million). TV and on-demand viewership is up 4 percent. And viewing on HBO Now and HBO Go digital platforms shot up 70 percent over last season (2.5 million streams).

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