In a perfect world, no one would need to decide whether they should watch HBO’s smash hit Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon or Prime Video’s lavish Lord of the Rings prequel, The Rings of Power. However, it is not a perfect world, and there’s no doubt in my mind that only one of these series is going to dominate the virtual water cooler talk of mass audiences. But which one will it be?
On the one hand, you have House of the Dragon, which has already gotten excellent critical reviews and a massive audience despite the widespread disappointment with Game of Thrones’ final season. On the other, you have The Rings of Power, based on the Lord of the Rings novels, which have been beloved for nearly 70 years, and the three incredibly popular and Oscar-winning film adaptations of the ‘00s. And early reviews of the series make House of the Dragon visually look like garbage in comparison, thanks to the almost-criminally expensive budget.
It seems like a pretty fair fight, but I’m going to put my gold pieces on House of the Dragon. The fact that it came to TV first gives it a genuine advantage, because it’s already dominating the conversation. It’s essentially already sitting on the throne, which puts Rings of Power on the offensive. I also think Dragon has a better chance of capturing mass audiences because it’s a medieval fantasy instead of high fantasy—it’s easier for people who don’t traditionally care for fantasy entertainment to wrap their head around the political and characters drama of House of the Dragon than Elves and Dwarves and magic rings and dark gods and what I suspect will be an incredibly sprawling epic. And, in all honestly, I also think that mass audiences will prefer the show where people fuck.
But I could be wrong! Tell me why I am in the comments! Or tell me why I’m right! Or tell me I’m wrong about my reasons but right about my pick!
Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.