Winter is always coming for pirates.

In TorrentFreak's annual look at the year's most pirated television shows, "Game Of Thrones" took home the "top" spot for the second year in a row.

With 5.9 million estimated BitTorrent downloads for the season 3 finale, "Game of Thrones" easily beat out competition that included "Breaking Bad" (4.2 million) and "The Walking Dead" (3.6 million). Unlike "The Walking Dead" or "Breaking Bad" however, "Game Of Thrones," "Homeland" and "Dexter" -- all shows on premium cable -- were the only shows in the top 10 where the number of estimated BitTorrent downloads exceeded the estimated number of TV viewers.

Piracy has become an increasingly useful way for companies to monitor the popularity of their shows. In September, Netflix VP of Content Acquisition Kelly Merryman told Dutch news site Tweakers that Netflix looks at what's doing well on piracy sites when deciding which series to acquire.

Even Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes sees a silver lining in the rampant piracy for "Game Of Thrones." "That's better than an Emmy," Bewkes said during an August earnings call in reference to "Game Of Thrones" being the most pirated show of 2012. “Our experience is, it all leads to more [subscribers]."

Still, not every exec or producer is touting the benefits of piracy. Earlier this month, “The Walking Dead” Executive Producer Gale Anne Hurd expressed the opposite sentiment at Variety’s Content Protection Summit.

“There’s a mistaken belief by many of my peers that piracy is somehow good, that viewers will develop a habit to pay for it,” Hurd said during a Q&A at the event. “I’m not sure they really understand other than anecdotal evidence that their ratings go up that the people who pirate are not then going to choose legal downloads or legal viewing in the future.”

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  • Jon Snow

  • "Game of Thrones" Season 4

  • "Game of Thrones" Season 4

  • "Game of Thrones" Season 4

  • Oberyn Martell

  • "Game of Thrones" Season 4

  • Jaime Lannister and Cersei Lannister

  • Arya Stark

  • "Game of Thrones" Season 4

  • Margaery Tyrell

  • "Game of Thrones" Season 4

  • "Game of Thrones" Season 4

  • "Game of Thrones" Season 4gameofthrones14_130

  • "Game of Thrones" Season 4

  • "Game of Thrones" Season 4

  • "Game of Thrones" Season 4

  • "Game of Thrones" Season 4

  • "Game of Thrones" Season 4

  • "Game of Thrones" Season 4

  • "Game of Thrones" Season 4

  • "Game of Thrones" Season 4

  • Daenerys Targaryen

  • "Game of Thrones" Season 4

  • Sansa Starks And Tyrion Lannister

  • "Game of Thrones" Season 4

  • "Game of Thrones" Season 4

  • "Game of Thrones" Season 4

  • Ygritte

    Rose Leslie as Ygritte.

  • Ygritte And Tormund

  • Tywin Lannister

  • Joffrey Baratheon

  • Daario Naharis

  • Daenerys Targaryen

    Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen.

  • Tyrion Lannister

    Peter Dinklage as Lannister

  • Jaime Lannister

    Nikolaj Coster Waldau as Jaime Lannister.

  • Melisandre

    Carice van Houten as Melisandre.

  • Varys

    Conleth Hill as Varys.

  • Brienne

    Gwendoline Christie as Brienne.

  • Jaqen H'Ghar

    Tom Wlaschiha as Jaqen H'Ghar.

  • Gendry

    Joe Dempsie as Gendry.

  • Arya Stark

    Maisie Williams as Arya Stark.

  • Cersei Lannister

    Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister.

  • Samwell Tarly

    John Bradley as Samwell Tarly.

  • Myrcella Baratheon

    Aimee Richardson as Myrcella Baratheon.

  • Davos Seaworth

    Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth.

  • 'Game of Thrones' Character Posters

    Maisie Williams as Arya Stark.

  • Grand Maester Pycelle

    Julian Glover as Grand Maester Pycelle.

  • Shae

    Sibel Kekilli as Shae.

  • Xaro Xhoan Daxos

    Nonso Anozie as Xaro Xhoan Daxos.

  • Bronn

    Jerome Flynn as Bronn.

  • Margaery Tyrell

    Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell.