House of the Dragon finale gives HBO best ratings since Game of Thrones ending

House of the Dragon has good ratings. This is not in issue. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the show averaged around 29 million viewers per episode in its first season; that includes both those who watched the show linearly through HBO and those who streamed it on HBO Max. That’s more viewers than any of the first six seasons of Game of Thrones got. The final two seasons of the original show were watched by a gob-smacking number of people, but if House of the Dragon continues to get good buzz, I can see it equaling or surpassing those numbers by the end. It’s certainly off to a strong start.

And it would need to, because HBO is spending a lot more on House of the Dragon out of the gate than it spent on Game of Thrones. Per Variety, the House of the Dragon season 1 finale, “The Black Queen,” was viewed by 9.3 million people the night of; that includes both linear viewings and HBO Max streaming. That handily beats the same-night numbers for the Game of Thrones season 1 finale “Fire and Blood,” which brought in 4.2 million viewers.

That said, fewer people watched the House of the Dragon season 1 finale the night of than watched the premiere (9.9 million) or Episode 2 (10.2 million, a series high), but “The Black Queen” was still the most-watched season finale HBO has had since…well, since the Game of Thrones season 8 finale, “The Iron Throne.” But “The Iron Throne” was watched by a staggering 19.8 million people the night of. At least HBO has something to shoot for.

House of the Dragon season 1 easily outpaces Game of Thrones season 1

Moving beyond “night of” viewings, in general House of the Dragon has gotten more people to watch as it’s gone on. Overall viewership rose by 5% with Episode 4, by 3% with Episode 5 and by another 3% for Episode 6. Warner Bros. Discovery declined to share information about viewership for Episodes 7-9, which almost certainly means that viewership didn’t keep going up for those installments. But they were touting the success of Episode 10, so the season ended strong.

“We’re so thrilled to see House of the Dragon catch fire with Game of Thrones fans around the world, as well as new viewers who are discovering the world of Westeros for the first time,” said HBO exec Casey Bloys. “Congrats to George, Ryan, Miguel and the whole House of the Dragon team on an incredible first season.”

Now begins the long wait for season 2. Will House of the Dragon be able to keep up this momentum when it returns in 2024 or so?

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