George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings have been battling over the crown of the best high fantasy story on the fringes of their respective fandoms since forever, but the competition has never been as explicit as it is now, with both HBO’s House of the Dragon and Amazon’s The Rings of Power coming out later this year and in a dangerously close time window at that.
Despite the fact that Amazon’s LOTR adaptation is one of the most ambitious television shows in history, with a whopping $650 million first season budget backing it up, Martin isn’t feeling particularly threatened by Middle-earth’s resurgence. During the recent Santa Fe Literary Festival, the celebrated creator of A Song of Ice and Fire had a chat with The Independent and revealed that he’s rooting for both shows, even though he naturally wants House of the Dragon to come out on top.
“I know a lot of articles, the minute the dates were announced, it’s: ‘Oh, the battle for fantasy supremacy. It’s Rings of Power versus House of Dragon, who will win?’ I don’t know why they always have to do that. I hope both shows succeed. I’m competitive enough. I hope we succeed more. If they win six Emmys, and I hope they do, I hope we win seven. But nonetheless, it’s good for fantasy. I love fantasy. I love science fiction. I want more shows on television.”
The Lord of the Rings was actually a huge inspiration for Martin to get into the high fantasy world. You can even see traces of that influence throughout Game of Thrones, with the author famously attributing his proclivity to kill off characters to Gandalf’s death in The Fellowship of the Ring. Now, the two juggernauts will be butting heads directly to sit on the Iron Throne, or even hold the dominion of Arda, if you will.
House of the Dragon is premiering on Aug. 21, while its big competitor The Rings of Power will make its Prime Video debut on Sep. 2.