The reign of House Targaryen began with a record 9.99 million viewers tuning into House of the Dragon on HBO and HBO Max, according to Warner Bros. Discovery. The Game of Thrones spinoff, which is set 200 years before the events of the smash hit fantasy drama that ran for eight seasons and starred Emilia Clarke and Kit Harrington, recorded the biggest HBO series premiere ever with Sunday's "Heirs of the Dragons." Dragon's nearly 10-million viewership record more than doubled that of Thrones, which premiered with 4.2 million viewers exclusively on HBO in 2011.
According to Samba TV, which independently measures terrestrial smart TVs, 2.6 million people watched Dragon during the first six hours after the episode's 9 p.m. ET premiere Sunday. That gave the Game of Thrones prequel the highest premiere-day viewership across cable and streaming so far this year, outperforming Netflix's Stranger Things Season 4 same-day numbers of 1.2 million households.
A Song of Ice and Fire and Fire & Blood author George R.R. Martin co-created the series with Ryan Condal, who serves as showrunner with executive producer Miguel Sapochnik.
"It was wonderful to see millions of Game of Thrones fans return with us to Westeros last night," Casey Bloys, chief content officer of HBO and HBO Max, said in a statement. "House of the Dragon features an incredibly talented cast and crew who poured their heart and soul into the production, and we're ecstatic with viewers' positive response. We look forward to sharing with audiences what else George, Ryan and Miguel have in store for them this season."
HBO's @HouseofDragon delivered 2.6 million U.S. households tuning into the premiere episode in its initial six hours on both traditional linear TV and streaming. The @GameOfThrones spinoff generated the highest viewership for any premium cable or streaming premiere in 2022. pic.twitter.com/ewhwJ36es8— Samba TV (@samba_tv) August 22, 2022
Said Samba TV co-founder and CEO Ashwin Navin, "HBO has once again tapped into the magic of Game of Thrones with its spinoff series, House of the Dragon. Diehard GoT fans have been eagerly anticipating more from the franchise and they turned out in force for House of the Dragon, with the HBO program generating the biggest single-day premium cable or streaming viewership premiere in 2022."
After more than doubling the initial same-day viewership of Netflix's Stranger Things 4, Navin continued, "The Game of Thrones prequel recaptured the fire of HBO's original masterpiece in a big way. The next challenge, and the real opportunity for HBO in the coming weeks, is to expand viewership beyond the passionate built-in fan base. Just as Stranger Things' most recent Season 4, Volume Two drop surpassed its Volume One audience, HBO must look to innovative marketing that drives incremental audience growth to break through today's saturated content marketplace."
Starring Paddy Considine, Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Emma D'Arcy, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, Sonoya Mizuno, Fabien Frankel, and Rhys Ifans, new episodes of Game of Thrones: House of the Dragon premiere Sundays on HBO and HBO Max. See more House of the Dragon.