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House Of The Dragon Is Already Making History For HBO In One Key Way

Paddy Considine as King VIserys I in House of the Dragon
(Image credit: HBO)

House of the Dragon officially premiered on HBO on August 21, nearly three years after the Targaryen-centric spinoff was first reported. As the TV successor to Game of Thrones, the spinoff was sure to be a success, but there was just no saying how successful it would be after the divisive Thrones finale. Well, there was no need to wonder about the viewership, because House of the Dragon has already made history for HBO. 

The series premiere of House of the Dragon drew 9.986 million viewers on August 21 in the United States. That total of nearly 10 million makes for the largest audience for any new original series premiere in the history of HBO, which is no small deal. That total comes from those who checked out the new show via linear viewing and via an HBO Max subscription. Chief Content Officer Casey Bloys, who previously said that there was no ratings threshold that they were aiming for with the new series, had this to say about HOTD already making history: 

It was wonderful to see millions of ‘Game of Thrones’ fans return with us to Westeros last night. ‘House of the Dragon’ features an incredibly talented cast and crew who poured their heart and soul into the production, and we’re ecstatic with viewers’ positive response. We look forward to sharing with audiences what else George, Ryan, and Miguel have in store for them this season.

In his statement, Casey Bloys specifically credited Fire & Blood author/HOTD co-creator George R.R. Martin, co-creator/co-showrunner/executive producer Ryan Condal, and co-showrunner/executive producer Miguel Sapochnik, who notably directed some of the standout episodes of Game of Thrones, including “Battle of the Bastards” and “The Long Night.” 

Of course, even though the premiere did include a connection to the original series, House of the Dragon has been set up to cover unexplored ground in Westeros with its place in the timeline more than a century before Daenerys set her sights on retaking the Iron Throne for House Targaryen. Plenty of people were reliving Dany’s journey during the wait for the new show, as Game of Thrones had its strongest week of streaming on HBO Max so far, which itself followed seven weeks of growth ahead of House of the Dragon

House of the Dragon’s first episode didn’t quite reach the same heights as the last HBO episode set in Westeros, but it would have been a shocker if the new show matched the numbers for the Game of Thrones series finale that broke a viewership record for the network back in 2019. A big question is whether the series will continue to grow from the nearly 10 million viewers in Live+Same day for the premiere, or if the numbers will dip. 

For most shows, the premiere will have higher ratings than the subsequent episodes, after viewers who checked it out decided to not come back for more. That said, this is a show set in the Game of Thrones universe that we’re talking about, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the audience size continues to grow as the weeks pass. 

It’s also worth noting that the initial total is probably going to significantly grow once delayed viewership can be tallied for those who watched after the premiere night. The episode was trending at #1 for 14 hours on Twitter on August 21, so plenty of people have been talking about it, which could result in increasing interest in watching live. 

If you intend to watch live, you can find new episodes of House of the Dragon on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. In true Game of Thrones style, the premiere had its share of blood, but set itself up as a distinct show with kinds of characters who weren’t in the mix on the original series. For some more viewing options now and in the coming weeks, be sure to check out our 2022 TV premiere schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.