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"Game of Thrones" ratings hit series high (again)

"Game of Thrones" has earned yet another jewel in its ratings crown.

Sunday's episode, "First of His Name" (read our recap here), marked a series high in viewers for the HBO drama.

An audience of 7.2 million watched the first airing at 9 p.m. ET, and that total grew to 8.6 million when including encores that night.

This marks the fourth consecutive episode of "Thrones" to climb in the ratings and the third series-high episode in a row, Entertainment Weekly reports. Overall, the program is averaging 17.8 million viewers per episode this season across all platforms -- up 24 percent from last year.

"Game of Thrones" returns with another new episode this coming weekend, titled "The Laws of Gods and Men."