The first complete episode from HBO was made available on YouTube for free on Friday. It lasted for one hour and five minutes in all of its flaming splendour. We knew there would be a collision of epic tales as soon as HBO and Prime Video revealed the premiere dates for their most eagerly awaited series in 2022. Naturally, we have no complaints, but HBO just disclosed a plan that could affect how many people watched Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power on its debut day.
HBO doesn’t really need to increase interest in the Game of Thrones prequel series: With over 20 million people willing to return to Westeros after three years away, House of the Dragon smashed network and HBO Max records by becoming their most watched title in just the first week. The new series’ enormous success led to an early renewal for Season 2.
George R.R. Martin‘s book series, House of the Dragon, is inspired in part by his works, but primarily by the Westeros mythology he invented in order to improve the storyline for A Song of Ice and Fire. The focus of the show is the Targaryen House’s protracted rule before House Baratheon assumed control of the Iron Throne, and it is around 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones. The Targaryen ruling dynasty is introduced in the first episode, “The Heirs of the Dragon,” and their conflict over who will take their place on the Iron Throne is explored.
Prequel series Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, which likewise enjoyed a successful second season, did so much earlier. In fact, showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKay have already hinted at a five-season narrative, indicating that Amazon Studios appears to be so confident in its success. The Middle-Earth series is expensive, but it’s not hard to imagine it occurring. In fact, at a cost of $500 million for the entire season and $250 million for licencing, it is the most costly television season ever made.