After an intense, and highly anticipated battle, the new Lord of the Rings series Rings of Power has beaten House of the Dragon to the title of the best fantasy series. Fans of Westeros will have to bow down to the fans of Middle-earth, because Rings of Power has absolutely smashed viewing figures, after Amazon revealed that the new series was watched by over 25 million viewers.
For comparison, House of the Dragon‘s debut was watched by just under 10 million (which is still an enormous number) and that figure increased slightly in the second episode. That means that well over double the amount of people watched the Tolkien adaption.
It’s impossible to say exactly why Rings of Power has dominated when it comes to viewership, but it’s likely that it’s due to the lasting legacy of Lord of the Rings. The Lord of the Rings movies are some of the most successful movies ever made, and Tolkien’s novels are some of the best selling of all time. It could also be that fantasy fans are more interested in Middle-earth than Westeros after the less-than-impressive ending of the original Game of Thrones series.
It should also be noted that HBO Max, the streaming service where most of the audience watch House of the Dragon from, has less than half the amount of subscribers that of Amazon Prime. The Rings of Power series also has a bigger budget, which does come with higher expectations. So, with that in mind, things do look a little bit more even.
When it comes to the critical reception for the two competing series, Rings of Power might have had a headstart when it comes to viewership, but House of the Dragon has been slightly better received by critics and audiences alike after its first two episodes. Our reviews of House of the Dragon and Rings of Power also put them at a square-draw on four stars each, with both having their strengths and flaws.
Either way, both series will be in the race for the best fantasy series title for the long run. If the Rings of Power drops off in terms of quality, while House of the Dragon continues to impress, its audience could quickly decline and move to the other fantasy series.
Equally, a third fantasy series is an underappreciated contender. The Witcher also has a huge audience, and if The Witcher season 3 keeps up the high standards it could be an underdog in the new fight for the King of Fantasy crown.
If the idea of Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones crossover battle has tantalised you, check out our guide to the best action movies of all time.