Photo: HBO

The New York Times reports that 12.1 million people tuned in to the season finale of Game of Thrones. Hmm. I wonder why that is?

According to HBO, after counting the views on both HBO Go and HBO Now, an astonishing 16.5 million viewers tuned in to watch a hot man bone down with his aunt. Considering that the season finale was 79 minutes long, that’s impressive! Surely the accidental incest wasn’t the only reason that so many people watched this show on Sunday. It certainly wasn’t the clear and well-developed plot line featuring two Stark sisters and Mayor Carcetti aka Lord Peter Baelish (RIP). Maybe... just maybe... it was the dragons.

Even if you hate the dragons, they are still the element that makes this show both very enjoyable and, at times, very stupid. Last week a dragon, Viserion, died at the hands of the Night King, a zombie with a face like an ice luge at a bad cocktail party, who murked him out via well-thrown javelin spear to the heart. Then he stuck a sharp acrylic nail into the dead dragon’s hide and turned him icy and blue and undead. Viserion has bright blue eyes, wings full of holes, and breathes blue ice-fire. That’s all you wanted to see after last week’s episode! The dragons! What were they gonna do with the dragon!

Even if the dragons feel cheap and wack and you didn’t love the part where Daenerys breastfed them, we can all admit it freely. It was the dragons. It’s always been the dragons.