The new series about another epic battle for the Iron Throne drew a record-breaking audience of close to 10 million viewers. This shattered records and made it the most-watched premiere in the network’s history.
Buzzfeed News noted that “House of the Dragon” was trending on Twitter for 14 hours this weekend and topped Google Trends as well. Fans kept the momentum going when the episode aired by posting their reactions, both good and bad, to the premiere episode.
“House of the Dragon” is set 200 years before the story told in “Game of Thrones” and follows the rise and fall of House Targaryen. It details events leading up to the Targaryen war of succession, which is called the Dance of the Dragons. “Game of Thrones” fans will recognize names and events mentioned in the original series, and it’s all based on the book “Fire and Blood” by George R. R. Martin.
“It was wonderful to see millions of ‘Game of Thrones’ fans return with us to Westeros last night,” chief content officer of HBO and HBO Max Casey Bloys said in a news release, per Buzzfeed.
“‘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 R.R. Martin and showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik] have in store for them this season.”
It’s a good thing the premiere was so popular because the network sank a lot of capital into it. Per CNBC, it spent between $15 and $20 million making each episode.
Feedback on episode one has been overwhelmingly positive, even though fans were disturbed by the graphic and bloody nature of the series so far. They were especially moved by a scene depicting Queen Aemma (Sian Brooke) dying during childbirth when she’s given a c-section to get the baby out.
No one who read the book was surprised. But viewers reacted strongly to losing a main character so soon, comparing the loss to “Game of Thrones” killing off Ned Stark in season one.
Critics also used the so-called “forced birth” scene to draw comparisons to abortion bans, claiming it was a victory for the patriarchy since the queen’s husband ultimately approved the c-section which would kill his wife but could potentially save his son.
Ultimately, both the mother and child died.