HBO’s House of the Dragon Season 2 premiere is off to a concerning start, with fewer viewers than the original debut

HBO’s House of the Dragon Season 2 premiere had fewer viewers than the first season’s debut, but fans are still excited for what’s to come.

House of the Dragon, Season 2, premiere, HBO, Game of Thrones

Could the dragons over at HBO be blowing smoke after a successful first season of the Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon? Steel yourself for discourse within the fantasy action community because House of the Dragon Season 2 debuted with 7.8 million viewers on Sunday night. While that number is more than admirable, it’s less than the first season’s 9-9.5 million viewers. While the dropoff is concerning, there’s no need to light the pyres and blow the horns.

Looking at House of the Dragon‘s first season, we find 29 million viewers tuning in per episode across all platforms. The total was HBO’s highest since Game of Thrones ended to mixed reactions, with many swearing off the franchise after a lackluster finale. However, Game of Thrones gave up the throne when The Last of Us clocked 30 million viewers throughout its first season.

What could cause the numbers to drop for House of the Dragon? Plenty of things. People could be busy. Marketing might catch fewer eyes than HBO would hope for, or some viewers could be waiting to take the sophomore season’s temperature through word of mouth. Getting anyone to sit down at a specific time and place today is an uphill battle for most networks, even HBO. Back in my day, if you didn’t watch a show as it was airing, you were sh*t out of luck and would need to wait for home release or reruns. Today, you can catch an episode of your favorite show online whenever you please, within reason. House of the Dragon fans could wait for a more convenient time to watch or tune in once the season ends. A positive sign for House of the Dragon Season 2 is that many Max subscribers binged the first season before the newest episode’s premiere.

Let’s be clear: 7.8 million views is a good number. The drama stems from House of the Dragon being a Game of Thrones prequel, so any dip in viewership could become sensationalized. As The Hollywood Reporter points out, True Detective: Night Country averaged about 13 million viewers per episode for its entire season, while the sophomore season of The White Lotus pulled 10.1 million viewers. Meanwhile, the final season of Succession banked 8.7 million viewers. That’s only 900,000 more than House of the Dragon‘s single-night total. In other words, House of the Dragon still breathes fire, though it might need to up its game to stay on top.

To check out our thoughts about House of the Dragon Season 2, you can read Alex Maidy’s review. Did you check out HBO’s House of the Dragon Season 2 premiere? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. He started with Ink & Pixel, a column celebrating the magic and evolution of animation, before launching the companion YouTube series Animation Movies Revisited. He's also the host of the Talking Comics Podcast, a personality-driven audio show focusing on comic books, film, music, and more. You'll rarely catch him without headphones on his head and pancakes on his breath.