The premiere of the Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon is officially HBO’s most-watched series premiere ever.
The show pulled in 9.99 million viewers through HBO and HBO Max on Sunday, according to Variety. The tally includes both scheduled and streaming viewings. Those numbers mean that it’s the largest audience a show has ever pulled in on the network, including shows that aired before the streaming era on the network.
The numbers, while surprising, aren’t completely improbable considering Game of Thrones is HBO’s biggest hit of all time. Because of this fact, the network pumped millions into a marketing campaign that apparently did its job.
It’s not exactly fair to compare this premiere with the previous one in 2011, because no one really knew how big Thrones would ultimately get. The news is great for HBO, who’s on a seismic roll with another hit on its hands: Euphoria. That show is the network’s second most watched of all time (2.4 million people) and even with numbers like that it’s still 76 percent less than the monster that is House of the Dragon.
Casey Bloys, chief content officer of HBO and HBO Max, praised viewers for returning to the fictional world of Westeros.
“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.”
The show is based on Fire & Blood, a 2018 novel by Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin. It’s set 200 years before the events of the other show and it centers around House Targaryen. The show’s popular with both critics and audiences, as evidenced by its 83 percent critic score and 88 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.
In fact, so many people tried to watch the premiere that HBO Max crashed frequently during the premiere, causing some viewers to be unable to watch.
Episode one of House of the Dragon is currently available to stream on HBO Max now that the crashing issues have gone away. The first season of the show will run for ten episodes with new ones premiering weekly throughout September and October.