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House of the Dragon Proves That HBO Viewers Are Still Fired Up About Game of Thrones

The new George R.R. Martin adaptation enjoyed a record-breaking debut.

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A dragon skull looms behind a row of candles, with two Targaryens in front of it.
Photo: Ollie Upton/HBO

Does it feel like there are dragons everywhere you look today? That’s because probably most everyone you know tuned in to House of the Dragon last night, which brought in “the largest audience for any new original series in the history of HBO,” according to a press release from the network.

The total number of viewers? A tidy 9.986 million “across linear and HBO Max platforms in the U.S. Sunday night,” so when you factor in the streamer’s international markets and the fact that people will also be watching today and throughout the week, that is... well, it’s a crap-ton of eyeballs eager to see what’s going on in the Westeros-set prequel.


For a visual aid, please enjoy this video shared by the official House of the Dragon Twitter account (hat-tip Uproxx) that shows what looks like nearly an entire high-rise apartment all glued to the show at the same time.


HBO Max has gotten some bad ink lately for curtailing its catalog, not to mention scrapping some high-profile in-progress projects, but given the numbers you can expect nothing but full support from the company for House of the Dragon. Even Game of Thrones, which ended its run in 2019, “just wrapped its strongest week on HBO Max to date, capping off a seven-week stretch of week-over-week growth in engagement leading up to the premiere of House of the Dragon,” according to the release. That’s strong evidence that even people who watched (or re-watched, gods help them) Thrones season eight still had enough fan spirit to check out the new series.

Will this revived Game of Thrones fever be able to sustain itself across the debut season of House of the Dragon? We had some mixed feelings about the premiere, but we’ll still be tuning in to see what those stinky (apparently) dragons and their slippery humans get up to next. New episodes arrive Sunday nights on HBO and HBO Max through October 23.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.