Summer is winding down, but not before the TV gods have blessed us with not one, but two new high-fantasy shows on rival streaming services. Last month, HBO returned to Westeros with the premiere of its highly-anticipated Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon. Meanwhile, the first two episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power finally hit Amazon Prime Video today, giving fans the chance to see if its half-a-billion-dollar price tag was money well spent. Comparisons between the series are unavoidable at this point. But in an effort to lure any non-subscribers over to their side of the fantasy realm, HBO has released the House of the Dragon pilot on YouTube at no extra charge.
It can’t be a coincidence that HBO did this on the day of The Rings of Power’s premiere. But since viewers are getting a free episode out of it, they can’t exactly complain. The House of the Dragon pilot set a new ratings record for HBO when it debuted on August 21. According to the network’s initial figures, 10 million viewers tuned in that night, making it their most-watched series premiere in history. The buzz surrounding the episode even caused HBO Max to crash in some parts of the world. And by August 26, HBO’s viewership estimates had ballooned to 20 million.
Being a Game of Thrones offshoot, the YouTube video is age-restricted. So as long as you’re signed in to your account, you can check out the episode in the player below.
RELATED: House of the Dragon Loses Co-Showrunner Miguel Sapochnik in Season 2
Last Friday, HBO officially renewed House of the Dragon for a second season. However, the series is losing one co-showrunner and executive producer Miguel Sapochnik, who confirmed his departure from the spinoff earlier this week. In his place, HBO has hired Game of Thrones alum Alan Taylor to serve as an executive producer and director beginning in season 2.
The next episode of House of the Dragon will air this Sunday at 9pm on HBO.
Will you be watching (or re-watching) the series’ first episode on YouTube this weekend? Let us know in the comment section below!
Recommended Reading: Fire & Blood: 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones
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