Smash hit novel-based TV series “Game of Thrones” premiered its fourth season recently, and the first episode did not just set a record rating on HBO, as it also triggered a torrent downloading spree for millions.

1M in ½ day

game of thrones | Image by Maria MorriFigures from TorrentFreak show that a mere half a day after the first torrent of the episode appeared online, the premiere has already gotten over one million downloads. At one point, the most popular torrent involved 140,000 users sharing the content at the same time.

TorrentFreak theorizes that the surge in downloads is due to the shutdown of the HBO Go service, which was not able to support the immense demand to stream the episode.

“Game of Thrones” was named by TorrentFreak as the most pirated TV show in 2013.

Record breaking

Illegal downloads aside, the GoT premiere also had its record set via legitimate channels. The Hollywood Reporter says that the first episode racked up 6.6 million viewers, which is easily the most watched episode of the show so far.

HBO has restricted the access of the episode on the premiere and barred it from Netflix.

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said that piracy “leads to more paying subs” and felt that the title of the world’s most pirated show is “better than an Emmy.”

Time Warner is the parent company of HBO, the station that airs GoT.