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Rings Of Power's Showrunners Address The Competition With HBO's House Of The Dragon

By now you've no doubt heard there's a new chapter in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth saga in the world because, well, the chatter surrounding Amazon's streaming epic "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" has been pretty relentless. Much has understandably been made of the head-spinning sum Amazon Studios paid for the rights to bring "The Rings of Power" to the masses, as well the studio's surprising decision to place the tentpole property in the hands of largely untested showrunners Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne (per The Wall Street Journal). And yes, launching a Tolkien-inspired streaming series in the age of toxic fandom obviously came with its own set of issues.  

It remains to be seen just how much review bombing has contributed to the streaming epic's less-than-fresh audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, but critics continue to praise "The Rings of Power" as a bold, and beautifully photographed exploration of worlds and histories barely touched upon in past adaptations of Tolkien's works. And according to recent viewership numbers, things are clearly looking up for "The Rings of Power" as the series has just bested its primary streaming competitor, HBO's "Game of Thrones" prequel "House of the Dragon," in the ratings race (via Variety).

McKay, Payne, and Amazon Studios bosses are likely feeling a certain level of vindication with that victory, but you'd likely never guess it by how "The Rings of Power" showrunners have been addressing the competition.

Rings of Power showrunners are not interested in a competition with House of the Dragon

The competition between Amazon's "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" and HBO's "House of the Dragon" has been the talk of Tinseltown since the moment the cable titan announced it would premiere its first "Game of Thrones" spinoff mere weeks ahead of the "Lord of the Rings" prequel. Comparisons between the series are understandable, as is the perceived competition between them being touted by many entertainment outlets. Both shows are, after all, high-priced fantasy epics earning most of their views in the streaming realm.  

Even still, the shows are dramatically different in terms of both tone and scope. And despite that recent ratings win, according to comments made by Patrick McKay, the competition with "House of the Dragon" is largely non-existent. McKay is, however, well aware of how that competition is playing out in the press, telling The Hollywood Reporter, "It dominates the narrative about how ["The Rings of Power" is] received." McKay went on to claim "House of the Dragon" had no impact on how he and J.D. Payne went about creating their series: "But it was not at all part of the narrative in how our show was conceived."

As rightly noted by THR, McKay and Payne had, in fact, been working on "The Rings of Power" for literal years prior to HBO announcing the premiere of "House of the Dragon," so they really couldn't have known the shows would be airing at the same time. And in the interest of putting the competition narrative to bed once and for all, McKay gracefully added, "Hopefully, we're competing against ourselves."