HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon is racking up huge viewing numbers. According to Variety, the show is now averaging 29 million viewers per episode in the US. This counts viewership across cable TV, HBO Max, and everywhere else people can watch HBO content.
Forbes reported that the original Game of Thrones garnered an average of 9.3 million viewers per episode in 2011 for its first season. However, it’s important to note that that was a decade ago when there was no HBO Max. George RR Martin had published some of the A Song of Ice and Fire books, but the overall fantasy series was new to many and didn’t have the cultural significance it does now thanks to the Game of Thrones show.
Game of Thrones ended its run averaging 44 million viewers per episode in its eighth and final season in 2019. The spin-off series, House of the Dragon, was never expected to perform as well as the main show. This is something previously discussed by series star Matt Smith.
Smith, who plays Daemon Targaryen in House of the Dragon, said Game of Thrones had a “cultural footprint” and became a “phenomenon”. He went on to say that it would be “impossible to replicate or recreate” that.
“All we can do is focus on the show we’re trying to make, and even though it belongs in the same world, hopefully it will evolve and become its own thing,” Smith said. “This is focused on a smaller group of people, and Thrones was immediately much broader in terms of the story. It feels more like a family drama. It’s never going to re-create the levels of success that Thrones had because it can’t… It was a totally original moment. But we’ve tried to create something that feels entertaining in a similar way, but hopefully takes on a different identity.”
House of the Dragon premiered on August 21 and is now in the midway point of its first season. The next episode, which will air on September 25, will feature a 10-year time jump, with new actors playing Rhaenyra and Alicent.
HBO has ordered a second season of House of the Dragon, but we still don’t know when it will air.
The show now competes with another high-profile fantasy series, Amazon Studios’ The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, which garnered 25 million viewers in its first few episodes.
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