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House Of The Dragon Snatches The Spotlight From The Rings Of Power Release

All is fair in love, war, and streaming, apparently. "Game of Thrones" and "The Lord of the Rings" are two of the most popular and lucrative fantasy series of all time, and both franchises have been making headlines lately. As soon as it became clear that prequel shows "House of the Dragon" and "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" were going to be released around the same time, fans predicted a fierce rivalry — but things are really heating up right now.

Doubling down on the optimistic message that made Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" movie trilogy so popular, "The Rings of Power" challenges the nihilism evident in "House of the Dragon." But if we know anything about those tricky Targaryens, it's that they are not fans of losing. "House of the Dragon" has refused to let the new Tolkien-based series eclipse it, resorting to a strategy that nobody saw coming. Read on to find out how the HBO show has snatched the spotlight from its fantasy rival.

In the game of streaming, you win or you die

The first two episodes of "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" were released on Amazon Prime Video on September 1, 2022. How did HBO respond to this? In a move that nobody saw coming, the network decided to make the first episode of "House of the Dragon" available to watch on YouTube. Uploaded to the official HBO Max YouTube channel the very next day, Episode 1 of the "Game of Thrones" prequel series is now free to watch, and many people are taking advantage — the video racked up tens of thousands of views within its first view hours online.

Only someone as naïve as Ned Stark would believe that this was a pure coincidence. Uploading the series premiere of "House of the Dragon" to a free-for-all platform like YouTube is a major contrast to the usual gatekeeping seen from HBO. Typically, episodes are heavily guarded to get viewers to pay for the content, using tactics that have been described as "elaborately sneaky" by The Washington Post. But with so many streaming platforms now in the mix, even HBO has to fight tooth and nail to remain relevant. And with "House of the Dragon" losing an important member of its creative team, the game is truly afoot.