House Of The Dragon increased misery and viewership

Paddy Considine and Milly Alcock

Paddy Considine and Milly Alcock
Photo: Ollie Upton (HBO)

The Game Of Thrones prequel series, House Of The Dragon, already started from an advantage. A spin-off of HBO’s most popular series, House Of The Dragon debuted with a staggering 10 million viewers. That’s a lot of people considering everyone was so mad at Game Of Thrones last season that some fans hoped HBO would finance a remake of the six-episode season. It worked for Justice League, right?

It turns out it doesn’t matter because people will continue watching this stuff even if the last one sucked. Per Variety’s tabulations, viewership numbers have increased significantly across the five weeks the shows have been on the air. According to Variety, the series averages 29 million viewers per episode, meaning that the more miserable every character on the show becomes, the more people watch the thing.

Of course, these numbers are a little suspect because they combine Nielsen data and HBO’s numbers. Nielsen reports that 2.5 million people watched the show on HBO alone, a 4% increase from last week. They call that the incest bump. Perhaps it started appealing to people as soon as audiences discovered that Rhaenyra Targaryen would marry her cousin or her uncle. Or maybe people thought the first two episodes were a little slow.

Interestingly, 25 million viewers became the goal for these fantasy shows. After HBO bumped its total viewership from 10 million on the first day to 25 million in the first week, Amazon claimed that Lord Of The Rings brought in 25 million viewers on its first day. It’s as if the goalpost moved, and we cannot verify whether these numbers are even real because it’s all proprietary.

That’s all to say, let’s take this with a grain of salt as “no specific Episode 5 total-viewer tally across all platforms has been disclosed by HBO and HBO max,” Variety writes. In conclusion: Lots of people are watching fantasy shows, but we don’t know how many.

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