House Of The Dragon Quickly Caught Up To The Rings Of Power's Streaming Numbers

Two major fantasy prequel series premiered recently. HBO's "House of the Dragon," based on the work of George R.R. Martin, is set almost 200 years before "Game of Thrones." Prime Video's "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power," based on the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, is set thousands of years before the Peter Jackson film trilogies "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit." 

Both shows were endlessly talked about on social media and pulled in an awful lot of viewers, so it's impossible not to compare the high fantasy show about elves and proto-hobbits and the dark fantasy take on royal politics that is only complicated by dragons. So, how did they do in terms of streaming viewership?

According to Variety, "House of the Dragon" — which launched two weeks before "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" — had numbers that rapidly rose over the first four episodes before plateauing mid-season. The Nielsen ratings for the "Game of Thrones" prequel rose each week, which began with 741 million minutes watched on HBO Max from August 22 through August 28, 2022, and included the first two episodes. (This does not include viewings on HBO itself.) "Rings of Power" started off really strong, with 1.253 billion minutes in the first four days after the premiere of the first two episodes, according to Business Insider. Its viewership dipped as the weeks went on, then grew again with the finale. 

So, the "House of the Dragon" numbers — which gave HBO the biggest premiere in its history — rose in terms of streaming numbers each week, while "Rings of Powers" started strong and dipped, then rose again in time for the finale (which is more typical for a TV series). Overall, they're still pretty much neck-and-neck.

House of the Dragon had an edge for another reason

There are other things to consider here. First off, "House of the Dragon" premiered before "Rings of Power," getting viewers hooked on one complex fantasy tale before the other. With all the TV shows and films available to watch these days, sometimes you can only concentrate on one at a time. 

That's especially true for these two shows, which require a little knowledge of the source material (or the previous shows and films) to get a full understanding of what's going on. There are also a lot of unfamiliar names and deep lore to keep track of. It would make sense to only watch one at a time — though Variety notes that 40% of "House of the Dragon" viewers also watched "The Rings of Power" (and 35% vice versa), so it seems plenty of people found room in their hearts for both complex fantasy worlds. Viewership for the original "Game of Thrones" series got a boost from "House of the Dragon" as well, which Nielsen reported at 800 million minutes watched for the week of August 22, 2022.

It's very difficult to really know who is winning and losing the numbers game these days. Nielsen can only keep track of some parts of it, and most streaming services are selective about the numbers they share. In the case of "House of the Dragon," the streaming numbers might be lower, but we also have the live TV airings to account for, whereas "The Rings of Power" is a Prime Video streaming exclusive. 

What is clear, however, is that there's plenty of demand for fantastical lands with magical beasts and creatures right now. 

"House of the Dragon" season 1 is now available in full on HBO Max, and "The Rings of Power" season 1 is also complete over on Prime Video.