After setting multiple records for HBO and HBO Max, House of the Dragon season 1 has topped 2022’s most-pirated TV shows list. The fantasy drama acts as a prequel to Game of Thrones, adapting George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood novel, and chronicling the downfall of House Targaryen, namely with the death of Paddy Considine’s King Viserys and plotting from the Hightower family to overthrow the Targaryens, all culminating in the war known as the Dance of the Dragons. Developed by Martin and showrunner Ryan Condal, House of the Dragon season 1 scored largely favorable reviews from critics and audiences alike, and its success is being seen in even the more unsavory corners of the Internet.
As the year comes to a close, TorrentFreak reports that House of the Dragon has topped 2022’s most-pirated TV shows list. Coming in at the top of the list, the HBO series has officially surpassed its predecessor, Game of Thrones, which was dominating the piracy charts even three years after coming to an end. In addition to overtaking the original show, House of the Dragon season 1 also came ahead of fellow fantasy drama, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, and The Boys season 3, Disney+ releases Moon Knight, Obi-Wan Kenobi, The Book of Boba Fett, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law and Andor, Netflix’s Stranger Things season 4, and Paramount+’s Halo.
Will House of the Dragon Surpass Game of Thrones’ Success?
Though Warner Bros. Discovery and HBO may not take too much pride in having a title of theirs being pirated as much as House of the Dragon was in 2022, it does nonetheless prove a promising sign for the show’s future. Even in spite of the show’s poorly received final season, Game of Thrones remained atop many pirated charts in the three years since season 8’s airing, even as recently as July, in which it was reported to have averaged over 8,500 searches per month. While the future could see Game of Thrones overtake its predecessor on the pirated charts, HBO moving forward with new seasons of House of the Dragon point towards the prequel maintaining a steady presence on illegal streaming sites.
Even in more official avenues, House of the Dragon has proven to be a worthwhile successor to Game of Thrones, with season 1 of the former sitting at a 93 percent approval rating from critics on review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes, a full three points higher than the latter’s debut season. The HBO prequel has also set multiple records in its viewership, with the House of the Dragon pilot not only seeing the largest single-day viewership for a series debut on HBO Max, but even crashing the streaming platform with many attempting to watch the show on its first night of availability. The House of the Dragon season 1 finale also saw a major haul of 9.3 million viewers across all of its platforms, the highest for any HBO show’s finale since the Game of Thrones series finale, not only indicating that audiences remain interested in the franchise, but that it could very well rival the milestones set by its predecessor.
One of the biggest advantages House of the Dragon has in its favor is Martin’s closer involvement with helping develop the show for HBO, unlike Game of Thrones, on which he only contributed to writing four episodes and gave an outline of the final two books in his Song of Fire & Ice novel series, while David Benioff and D.B. Weiss ran the show. Though House of the Dragon is still in the hands of other creatives, the positive reception to the show thus far and teases of adapting such iconic stories as the “Blood and Cheese” arc from Fire & Blood indicate they’ve learned their lessons from the lackluster response to the final two seasons of Game of Thrones and could be developing something that rivals its predecessor. Only time will tell when House of the Dragon season 2 premieres sometime in 2024.