There was a great deal of excitement — and apprehension — going into the series premiere of House of the Dragon.
As a spinoff of Game of Thrones, which had one of the most polarizing final seasons ever, there were certainly concerns about whether the series would be as big as its predecessor.
House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 1 got off to a high-flying start with just under 10 million total viewers across linear and HBO Max platforms in the U.S. on Sunday.
The number makes House of the Dragon the biggest premiere for any new series in the history of the premium cabler.
“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 in a statement.
“We look forward to sharing with audiences what else George, Ryan, and Miguel have in store for them this season.”
News of the ratings will likely be a sigh of relief for executives at the cable network, especially given that the success of the series will likely be the deciding factor in whether new shows set in the universe will be produced.
There are plenty of shows planned in that universe, but none of them, except House of the Dragon, has been filmed.
One of the spinoffs, The Long Night, was scrapped after the cabler spent $30 million on a pilot.
Understandably, the cabler wants the highest-quality GOT-related content.
It was recently revealed that a Jon Snow sequel is in development, in addition to several other projects.
Based on George R.R. Martin’s book Fire & Blood, House of the Dragon tells the story of House Targaryen (a.k.a. the House that gave us the Mother of Dragons herself, Daenerys Targaryen) and take place 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones.
The cast includes Matt Smith, Paddy Considine, Emma D’Arcy, Olivia Cooke, Rhys Ifans, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, Sonoya Mizuno, and Fabien Frankel.
What are your thoughts on the numbers?
House of the Dragon continues Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.