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House Of The Dragon Literally Crashed HBO With Its Release

Warner Brothers is in desperate need of a win. In the wake of an almost hilarious string of wretched decisions — i.e. slashing upcoming movies and entire animated catalogs for a tax write-off (via IGN), juggling properties across multiple streaming sites so that audiences are forced to pay more for the same (if not less) quantity of content (via CNET), publicly supporting dangerous criminal activity from celebrities so that the precious few remaining DC projects can be released — there must have been an internal memo going around to raise company spirits saying, "hey, at least we've got 'House of the Dragon' coming up! That will earn us some social favor!" 

Okay, so there probably wasn't a memo, but the point still stands: the "Game of Thrones" spinoff series was primed to win the studio, as well as the associated streaming site, some much-needed wiggle room. It was to be a narrow ledge, sure, especially after the creative team promised that the sexual content, for which the George R. R. Martin stories are notably infamous, would excise any indication of consent with the claim that assault (and other related, illicit activities) were more accurate to the wholly fictional era in which the series takes place, something the creators have spent the last month attempting to redress (via Variety). 

So, with all this in mind, it is then perhaps unsurprising to hear that "House of the Dragon" did not release in what some might call a smooth fashion. Far from it, in fact ... as the first episode finally aired, the Targaryens quite literally broke HBO, and not in a fun, internet slang kind of way. 

An HBO spokesperson is blaming Amazon's Fire TV

According to the New York Post, the site Down Detector reported at least 3,000 blackouts for HBO Max during the window of release for "House of the Dragon." This quite understandably dampened the mood for many viewers. At the same time, the HBO Max Twitter account was desperately flip-flopping between telling viewers to "try closing the app and restarting to see if this helps" while also shooting zingers into the ether like "the only thing that could tear down the House of the Dragon was itself." A brief look through the replies is all anyone needs to know that the internet did not enjoy the joke. Look, in fairness, that's just a social media manager trying to do their job; they just somehow forgot that their job requires existing within the context of the internet and that downplaying someone's frustration never ends well. 

Something else that doesn't translate well? Blaming the competition. A spokesperson for HBO released the following statement last night, which reads, "'House of the Dragon' is being successfully viewed by millions of HBO Max subscribers this evening. We're aware of a small portion of users attempting to connect via Fire TV devices that are having issues and are in the process of resolving for those impacted users." For those who aren't aware, the Fire TV is an Amazon product and, on a totally unrelated note, Warner Brothers isn't the only company releasing a massive fantasy spinoff series in the summer of 2022. Amazon's "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" is set to release on Amazon Prime Video on September 2nd, just a few sort days away. Maybe Amazon is to blame. Still, anticipate more similar barbs in the near future.