House Of The Dragon's Second Episode Actually Gained Viewers Over The Premiere

Anticipation for the "Game of Thrones" prequel "House of the Dragon" was at an all-time high when it premiered last Sunday. Despite some viewers feeling disappointed with the rushed final season of the original series, and the odd fates of some of the characters, it appears that a whole lot of fans were willing to make the journey back to Westeros.

If you haven't watched it yet, "House of the Dragon" is set a bit less than 200 years before the birth of Daenerys Targaryen. The dragon-riding family is in power over the seven kingdoms, and at this point, they've still got a bunch of those scaly beasts to ride. King Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine) is a good man for the most part, but that doesn't always make for a strong ruler. His brother and heir Daemon (Matt Smith) is reckless, so Viserys names a new heir; his teenage daughter Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock for the first half of the season, and Emma D'Arcy after the 10-year time jump that will take place halfway through). However, the ruling class has a big issue with the idea of a woman who rules. 

The first episode did well to the tune of 10 million viewers, which is the biggest audience ever for an HBO premiere. Considering some of the more brutal moments in that episode, you might expect some viewership to drop off. Not at all. In fact, even more people tuned in to see what happened next, according to Warner Bros. Discovery (via Variety).

A triumphant return to Westeros

The second episode of "House of the Dragon" had 10.2 million viewers (combining both HBO and HBO Max as the original numbers do). Not only that but the series has been renewed for a second season. According to the report from Variety, the viewership numbers for the first episode had shot up to 20 million by Friday, and are now almost 25 million at the time of this writing. However, they also point out that the series finale for "Game of Thrones" did far better than that, with 17.9 million viewers. 

To be fair though, that was the final season of a series we'd been invested in for many years. The big news, in my opinion — as someone who hated the final season for many reasons — is that people came back at all. Social media was rife with former fans saying they wouldn't watch, and the finale is number one on so many lists of the worst series finales ever. Well, either many of the former fans did return, or there are new ones because those numbers are massive.  

It will be interesting to see if the series can keep the numbers growing, and if there will be any losses after the time jump recasts Alcock with D'Arcy, and Emily Carey, who plays her best friend, Lady Alicent Hightower, with Olivia Cooke. 

"House of the Dragon" is currently airing on HBO and streaming on HBO Max, with new episodes every Sunday.