HBO made history Sunday night when the hotly anticipated Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon premiered on HBO and HBO Max.
The premiere drew 9.986 million viewers across linear and HBO Max platforms in the U.S. Sunday night, the largest audience for any new original series in the history of HBO. The premiere also marked the largest series launch on HBO Max across the U.S., LatAm, and EMEA, driving an unprecedented level of concurrent streams on the platform.
Typically, Sunday night viewership for a HBO series will represent just 20%-40% of the show’s total gross audience
But as soon those droves of viewers tuned in to HBO Max at the same time and the app crashed for approximately 3500 users, according to reports. When the official Twitter account for HBO Max’s help desk announced that House of the Dragon was streaming, viewers were almost instantly tweeting back that they were having issues.
After the drama over the app crashing was resolved, HBO Max tweeted:
“It was wonderful to see millions of Game of Thrones fans return with us to Westeros last night. ‘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,” said Casey Bloys, Chief Content Officer, HBO & HBO Max. “We look forward to sharing with audiences what else George, Ryan, and Miguel have in store for them this season.”
House of the Dragon follows the story of the Targaryen civil war which took place about 200 years before events portrayed in Game of Thrones and is based on George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood.
House of the Dragon garnered strong critical praise for the “flat-out stunning” show (Entertainment Weekly), with The Guardian saying “House of the Dragon is designed to reward diehard fantasy fans in full measure without alienating the masses that will propel it to the top of the ratings.”
IGN declared “It’s good to be back in backstabbing Westeros,” with Chicago Sun-Times declaring the series “a spectacularly entertaining adventure” and adding it has “the gravitas and visceral gut-punch effectiveness of a series that could be with us for a very long time.” The Los Angeles Times hailed it “a new, engrossing chapter in HBO’s epic,” and The Wall Street Journal noted it’s “as captivating as any season of Game of Thrones.”
The series stars Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen, Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen, Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower, Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon, Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Velaryon, Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria, Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole, Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower, and David Horovitch as Grand Maester Mellos. Additional cast members include Milly Alcock, Bethany Antonia, Phoebe Campbell, Emily Carey, Harry Collett, Ryan Corr, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jefferson Hall, Wil Johnson, John Macmillan, Graham McTavish, Ewan Mitchell, Theo Nate, Matthew Needham, Bill Paterson, Phia Saban, Gavin Spokes, and Savannah Steyn.
Martin and Ryan Condal serve as co-creators on the series. Miguel Sapochnik and Condal are showrunners, and the pair also serve as executive producers along with Martin, Sara Hess, Jocelyn Diaz, Vince Gerardis and Ron Schmidt. Clare Kilner and Geeta Vasant Patel also direct the series. Greg Yaitanes is director and co-executive producer.
New episodes of House of the Dragon premiere Sundays at 9 pm Eastern on HBO Max.