How HBO Is Responding To Leak Of House Of The Dragon Season 1 Finale

Emma D'Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen in the finale of House of the Dragon.
(Image credit: HBO)

House of the Dragon is easily one of the biggest shows on the 2022 TV schedule this year. It’s been watched by millions, and with the finale coming out tomorrow, the anticipation is high. However, like its predecessor Game of Thrones, the episode was leaked, and HBO has responded as and provided insight into how it's dealing with it.

Deadline published an article that confirmed the leak happened early on Friday, October 21. In the same article an HBO spokesperson said: 

We are aware that the tenth episode of House of the Dragon has been posted on illegal torrent sites. It appears to have originated from a distribution partner in the EMEA region. HBO is aggressively monitoring and pulling these copies from the internet. We’re disappointed that this unlawful action has disrupted the viewing experience for loyal fans of the show, who will get to see a pristine version of the episode when it premieres Sunday on HBO and HBO Max, where it will stream exclusively in 4K.

As the statement said, the leak happened in Europe, the Middle East or Africa. HBO is also “aggressively monitoring” the situation and taking the episode down as it is found. HBO's response makes a lot of sense considering how anticipated this episode is, especially since it will be the big culmination of everything that’s happened in Season 1. 

This is not the first time HBO has had to deal with leaks. Back in 2019, the Season 8 premiere was leaked a few hours before it was supposed to air. This leak came hours before the show returned from over a year off the air. However, despite the lead, the premiere was the most-watched and highest-rated episode in Thrones history. It brought in 17.4 million people, which was up from the 16.9 million who tuned in for the Season 7 finale. 

During Game of Thrones' later seasons, leaks got so bad HBO would not release advanced screenings to the press. However, episodes still found their way onto illegal sites and legitimate ones. While episodes showed up around the internet by way of external sources, back in Season 6 HBO was the one who prematurely released the episode. Season 6, Episode 5 ended up getting released by HBO Nordic a whole day before it was supposed to. 

As for HOTD, it’s not shocking the episode was leaked. Game of Throne's history of leaks is one reason for this. However, other shows and movies that are watched by millions have such a magnifying glass on them, information, and in this case episodes, occasionally get out before it’s supposed to. 

Over the last nine weeks, House of the Dragon has been the talk of the internet. The first episode brought in nearly 10 million viewers, breaking an HBO record. Also, if you look at social media after any episode airs you are bound to see a swell of fan reactions to whatever happened in the episode. From King Viserys’ final moments to the intense love for the devious Daemon Targaryen, the show's viewers are passionate and loud. I’d assume the reactions to whatever happens in the finale will be just as intense, if not more so, as the posts about the first nine episodes. 

You can watch the highly anticipated finale of the Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon on its scheduled air date: Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO or with an HBO Max subscription

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She has written for national publications as well as daily and alt-weekly newspapers in Spokane, Washington, Syracuse, New York and Charleston, South Carolina. She graduated with her master’s degree in arts journalism and communications from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Since joining the CB team she has covered numerous TV shows and movies -- including her personal favorite shows Ted Lasso and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She also has followed and consistently written about everything from Taylor Swift to Fire Country, and she's enjoyed every second of it.