House of the Dragon Has a Fiery Debut

'Game of Thrones' prequel has biggest HBO debut ever, briefly crashes HBO Max
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 23, 2022 2:02 AM CDT
House of the Dragon Has Biggest HBO Debut Ever
This image released by HBO Max shows Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen in a scene from "House of the Dragon," a prequel to "Game of Thrones," premiering on Sunday.   (HBO Max via AP)

Almost 10 million viewers were on hand for the Sunday night premiere of House of the Dragon on HBO, the largest audience the network has ever seen for a new series debut. The Game of Thrones prequel, however, did not match the 17.9 million who tuned in to the season premiere of the original show's final season in 2019, or the 19.8 million who watched the series finale, a record high for GoT. Even so, the massive Dragon debut crashed the HBO Max streaming platform briefly for some viewers, the Wall Street Journal reports.

But how was it? The premiere of the series, which takes a look at the rise and fall of House Targaryen centuries before the events of GoT, has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 82% (88% if you're looking at the audience score). At the Verge, Charles Pulliam-Moore was not impressed: "House of the Dragon falls into the trap of retreading ground that’s beyond familiar and mistakenly assuming that its connections to a larger franchise are enough to make it interesting," he writes, plus the wigs "range from passable to laughable in terms of believability." But at Deadline, Dominic Patten disagrees: "Besides being bawdy and fire spewing, HBO’s House of the Dragon is no Game of Thrones," and that's a good thing, he writes: The show "succeeds best by monopolizing the more modest narrative." (A Game of Thrones sequel is also in the works.)

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