It’s an exciting time for fantasy fans: two major fantasy series —“Game of Thrones” and “The Lord of the Rings” — have new prequel television series.
HBO‘s “House of the Dragon,” the prequel to “Games of Thrones” based on George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series, premiered on Aug. 21.
Prime Video’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” premiered just 11 days later on Sept. 1.
The close release dates have many asking, “Which book-turned-fantasy-tv-series-prequel is better?”
But the creators of both shows have been adamant that they aren’t in competition with each other: Martin told The Hollywood Reporter, “It’s not a death match or anything. I wish them success. I hope they wish for our success. We don’t have to be bracketed together.”
Meanwhile, “The Rings of Power” showrunners, J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, have said they don’t feel there’s a competition between the two shows.
“The only competition is the pressure we put on ourselves, and the competition we have with ourselves for what we can put out into the world. ... And anyone else working on storytelling, we wish them well,” Payne said, according to TV Insider.
But considering they are both big-budget fantasy series based off of books, and they were released so close together, it’s difficult to not compare the two.
So in the fantasy face-off, who came out on top?
How many viewers watched the “House of the Dragon” premiere?
The premiere of HBO’s “House of the Dragon” was viewed by 9.99 million people in the United States, the largest audience for a premiere in HBO’s history, according to Variety.
How many viewers watched the “The Rings of Power” premiere?
The premiere of Amazon’s “The Rings of Power” drew in 25 million global viewers in its first 24 hours, the biggest premiere in Prime Video’s history, according to Variety.
As Variety notes, “a fair comparison is nearly impossible to draw here” because we are comparing self-reported global numbers from Amazon to HBO’s streaming data from the United States only. Until more viewership data is released, a clear winner can’t be decided.
One thing is clear though, both shows are already winning in their own right, with both breaking premiere viewership records on their respective platforms.
What did critics think of the “House of the Dragon” premiere?
The first episode of “House of the Dragon” has an 86% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 7.5/10 average critic rating.
The early Metacritic rating for the season as a whole is a 68, based on 42 critic reviews.
What did critics think of the “The Rings of Power” premiere?
The first episode of “The Rings of Power” is close behind, with an 84% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.3/10 average rating.
The early Metacritic rating for the season gave the show a Metascore of 71, based on 37 critic reviews.
“House of the Dragon” had better reviews for the premiere, but the early reviews for the shows’ seasons as a whole have “Th Rings of Power” on top.
Note: “The Rings of Power” is rated TV-14 for for flashing lights, frightening scenes, alcohol use and violence. “House of the Dragon” is rated TV-MA for violence, language and nudity.