Almost 10 million viewers in the United States watched the long-awaited first episode House of the Dragon — the first spin-off to Game of Thronesmaking it HBO’s most successful series launch, according to WarnerMedia.

With its unique blend of fantasy, violence, medieval politics and dragons, the original Game of Thrones became a global phenomenon that captivated audiences and won awards, but its 2019 finale was panned by fans and critics.

Installed years earlier in the same location Game of Thrones George R.R. Martin’s Universe of Fantasy Books, House of the Dragon reflects the glory days of the ancestors of popular Game of Thrones characters such as Daenerys Targaryen.

It is based on his book, Fire and blood.

Princess Rhaenyra of the House of the Dragon. Photo: DStv.com

The show’s Sunday night premiere drew 9.98 million viewers in the United States on the HBO platform, making it “the largest audience for any new original series in HBO history,” television owner WarnerMedia said in a statement late Monday.

It was also the “biggest launch ever for a series on HBO Max,” its streaming platform, in the United States, Latin America, and Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the US entertainment giant said.

READ ALSO: Where to watch “Dragon House” in South Africa

The platform had an “unprecedented level” of simultaneous streams, he added.

The series has nine episodes and features Paddy Considine as the kindly King Viserys and Matt Smith as his ambitious brother, the Daemon Prince.

Game of Thrones ran for eight seasons from 2011 to 2019, and other spin-offs are in development.

Rings of power

The popularity of the HBO show will probably be measured against The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Poweradapted from Amazon Prime Video.

Rings of power takes place 4,000 years before the film trilogy and the original books, in the fictional “Second Age,” a historical period described in less detail in Tolkien’s writings.

Amazon Prime bought the rights for $250 million (4.2 billion rand) nearly five years ago.

He spent more than $1 billion (16.9 billion rand) on five seasons of the show – each 10 hours long.

The first season starts on September 2.

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