For over a year, Game of Thrones fans have been awaiting the seventh season of HBO’s sprawling epic. Winter finally came Sunday.

Sunday morning, the hashtags and sporting “The Night King” —  were already trending on Twitter. The tweetstorm continued as fans counted the hours till the 9 p.m. release. And the characters were happy to join in.

Here’s a look at how the show engaged with its energetic fan base as the buzz peaked right up to the big premiere.

The official Game of Thrones account started off the day:

The main account added content as the day progressed, and fans took to Twitter using the hashtags to share their own tweets and . Among the participants: Grumpy Cat.

Some national brands also worked it into their advertising, adding to the hype.

Another company that jumped into the action was Four Loko, capitalizing on the older fan demographic by rolling out adult beverages inspired by the show.

But it wasn’t just the famous. Other fans were putting their cognitive surplus to good use.

HBO also took to Snapchat to engage the audience in real time. With a Game-of-Thrones-themed filter, fans were able to use the platform to make themselves the Night King. And several shared those snaps on Twitter.

How much did all of this Twitter hype play into the show’s popularity? Though HBO did not release specific analytics, Twitter statistics revealed a spike in traffic, tweets, and followers.

Before (4 p.m.): 5.81 million followers

After (Midnight): 5.84 million followers

At the time of the show, about 249,000 #GOT7 tweets in the United States were trending, including several from characters themselves, according to Twitter.

It also outpaced Google searches for “Wimbledon,” the other big weekend event.

And all of that online attention had a tangible impact. By the end of the episode, an estimated 10.1 million watched the Game of Thrones Season 7 premiere, up from 7.9 million from last season.

After the airing, fans were eager to tweet their excitement and knowledge to reveal their extreme fandom. Several tweeted spoilers about the highlights from the episode. Such excitement reveals the well-established community built around the brand, willing to share their enthusiasm for a fantasy world of George R.R. Martin.


For those of you wanting to see how some fans shared their spoilers on Twitter:

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