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TV Ratings: ‘House of the Dragon’ Hits Season High With Bloody Battle

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A pivotal episode of House of the Dragon drew the show’s biggest first-night audience of its season so far.

The episode, “The Red Dragon and the Gold,” portrayed the Battle at Rook’s Rest, a key moment in author George R.R. Martin’s novel Fire & Blood and the larger Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire chronology. Viewers were ready for the battle, as the episode drew 8.1 million viewers across all platforms Sunday (inclusive of the on-air HBO premiere, replays on HBO and streaming on Max). That’s a season high for the show.

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The 8.1 million viewers tops the 7.8 million who watched the season two premiere on its first night. The show’s night-one audience has slipped some this year — season one averaged better than 9 million viewers — due in part to a decline in the number of people watching via HBO’s cable channel. The show averaged 1.26 million on-air viewers for its first three episodes, down 39 percent compared to the first three installments of season one.

Streaming has made up some of that difference: The show’s all-in, first-night average is 7.5 million viewers so far this season, off by about 18 percent to 20 percent compared to season one — about half of the linear decline. HBO also says that the season opener has grown to 25 million viewers in the three weeks since it premiered, which is approaching the season one average of 29 million for HotD (HBO measures viewing of a series for 90 days after the first episode).

Warner Bros. Discovery also notes that House of the Dragon on Max had its best week of season two ahead of Sunday’s episode, suggesting some viewers used the July 4 holiday to catch up on the series.

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