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Game Of Thrones scores record TV audience of 19.3 million

Final episode of Game of Thrones watched by more than 19m US viewers, beating Sopranos' mark

LOS ANGELESMore than 19 million US viewers watched the series finale of Game Of Thrones - a record audience for HBO, the cable channel said on Monday.

It said Sunday night's 19.3 million live television audience and viewers on its HBO GO and HBO NOW apps exceeded the previous high for the fantasy series - 18.4 million, for the penultimate episode a week ago.

The finale was also the most-watched single telecast ever on HBO, surpassing the previous record set by crime drama The Sopranos in 2002, HBO said.

Mixed reviews and a stray water bottle marked the end of Game Of Thrones.

The finale proved as divisive as Season 8 itself, with the hard-fought Iron Throne melted down by the dragon Drogon and the saga ending in what some called an anti-climax.

But British actor Isaac Hempstead Wright said on Monday he was thrilled at how the show had transformed his character, Bran Stark, from a 10-year-old boy in a wheelchair to the man finally chosen as the ruler of Westeros.

"Bran becoming king is a victory for the still and considered people of this world, who too often get sidelined by the commotion of those who are louder and more reactionary," Hempstead Wright, 20, wrote in a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter.

USA Today's Kelly Lawler called the finale "a disaster ending that fans didn't deserve", adding that it was "hacky" and "cliched".

Britain's Radio Times was kinder, with blogger Huw Fullerton writing there were "some bits I liked, one or two I loved, an awful lot that leaves me scratching my head... (but) it ended better than I expected given the last two episodes".

Over 1.2 million fans worldwide had signed a Change.org petition by Monday, calling for a remake of season 8.

Unwanted headlines were also made when eagle-eyed fans spotted another modern prop that made its way on camera - a plastic water bottle seen partly hidden behind the boot of character Samwell Tarly.

This followed jokes over the sighting of a stray paper coffee cup during episode 4.

The feature documentary, Game Of Thrones: The Last Watch, premieres on May 27 at 9am on HBO GO and HBO (StarHub TV Ch 601/Singtel TV Ch 420), with a repeat telecast at 10pm.

It delves deep into the mud and blood to reveal the tears and triumphs involved in the challenge of bringing the fantasy world of Westeros to life. - REUTERS

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