House Of The Dragon Breaks Another Astonishing Record

House of the Dragon's premiere is the biggest series debut in Sky Atlantic's history.

By Vic Medina | Published

HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel series, House of the Dragon, continues to defy expectations and set new viewing records on both sides of the pond, in the midst of its first season. According to a report by Deadline, the series is setting ratings records in Britain, surpassing even Game of Thrones in total viewers. The first episode, which aired August 24, became the biggest series premiere in Sky Atlantic’s 11-year history, drawing over 4 million viewers, more than the 2011 premiere of Game of Thrones. Sky Atlantic, the British television subscription service which carries HBO programming in England, announced the series ratings rival those earned by Netflix’s Stranger Things and the Disney+ Star Wars series Obi-Wan Kenobi.

The series, set 200 years before the events in Game of Thrones, is based on George R.R. Martin’s novel Fire & Blood. House of the Dragon tells the story of House Targaryen, a people whose lordship of the dragons in Westeros has given them unmatched power. However, threats from within are undermining their rule, as ambition and conflicts arise over who should sit upon the Iron Throne in the Red Keep of King’s Landing as the head of House Targaryen.

house of the dragon
Milly Alcock and a dragon in House of the Dragon

The response to House of the Dragon has been surprisingly strong, from both viewers and critics. It currently scores an impressive 85% on Rotten Tomatoes from both critics and viewers, a rare agreement in any circumstance. Even as fans are divided over shows like The Rings of Power and She-Hulk, House of the Dragon is being viewed as a worthy successor to Game of Thrones. Like its predecessor, House of the Dragon takes a grittier approach to fantasy, relying on strong character development and the story’s ever-evolving political machinations to pull viewers in.

It isn’t all good news for House of the Dragon, however. A new report from Variety states that ratings for live showings of episode three of the series saw a drastic decline in the United States, down over 28% from episode two. After the first episode drew in over nine million viewers in the United States, a series premiere record for HBO, the second episode actually drew in more viewers, rising to 10.2 million. The drop for episode three may be due to the Labor Day weekend, however, and the availability of the episode on demand through HBO Max. Ratings for British airings of episode three are not yet available.

House of the Dragon stars Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen, Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen, Rhys Ifans as Ser Otto Hightower, Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon, and Graham McTavish as Ser Harrold Westerling. The series also stars Emmy D’Arcy and Milly Alcock as older and younger versions of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, and Olivia Cooke and Emily Carey as older and younger versions of Alicent Hightower. The series has already earned a renewal from HBO for a second season, thanks in large part to the impressive ratings.