HBO’s hit fantasy series “Game of Thrones” continues to break ratings records in its third season.
Episode 4, “Kissed By Fire,” attracted 4.9 million viewers Sunday for its 9 p.m. showing, setting a new high for an initial airing. That was up 4 percent from last week.
Counting Sunday’s encore, 5.9 million viewers tuned in.
In comparison, the Season 3 premiere, “Valar Dohaeris,” pulled in 4.4 million viewers during its 9 p.m. showing, totaling 6.7 million viewers after the encore.
Strong audience interest has also made “Game of Thrones” the most pirated show of 2012. More than 1 million viewers downloaded the Season 3 premiere, with a record-breaking 163,000 people sharing a single torrent at one point, according to piracy tracker TorrentFreak.
Last year, 4.3 million people downloaded the season finale.
“Game of Thrones” chronicles a treacherous clash among royal families to secure ultimate power of Westeros, a vast kingdom facing peril at every corner.
Season 3 is based on the first half of author George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” novel “A Storm of Swords.”
HBO has already renewed the series for a fourth season.
“Game of Thrones,” which is executive produced by David Benioff (“Troy,” “The Kite Runner”) and D.B. Weiss, stars Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Emilia Clarke, Michelle Fairley, Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, Kit Harington, Harry Lloyd.
The series airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.