'Game of Thrones' rules the ratings

Carice van Houten in a scene from the season premiere of "Game of Thrones." (HBO)


Many are those who would rule Westeros. But they cannot compare to the throngs fascinated by watching their struggle for power.

Game of Thrones returned for its second season on Sunday with more loyal subjects than ever before. 3.86 million to be exact. That topped the previous high, last season’s finale which according to Variety drew 3.04 million in June.

To put that in perspective, its cable competitor, AMC drew 1.80 million for the second season opener of The Killing and 2.94 million for the latest episode of Mad Men on Sunday night.

If Game of Thrones continues at this pace, it will secure its place as one of HBO’s most popular series, behind True Blood and ahead of Boardwalk Empire.

How could fans not come back next week after seeing the evil boy-king Joffrey pull off the worst slaughter of young males since Herod in the Bible?

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