This month marks a fantasy showdown for the ages between two massive TV shows: House of the Dragon and The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. And the former isn’t afraid to play a little dirty, as on the same day Rings of Power premieres on Prime Video, HBO has made House of the Dragon episode 1 completely free to watch via YouTube (opens in new tab).
Previously the show was only available to watch on HBO or HBO Max, but this move means you can enjoy the first hour of the epic fantasy show without needing a cable or streaming service subscription. The premier episode is a very compelling hour of television introducing the show’s main players and setting the stakes for a first season that looks set to equal Game of Thrones in its prime.
Unfortunately, the second episode has not been made available to watch via YouTube, and it’s unlikely to appear anytime soon. HBO is almost certainly using the video sharing platform as a way to market the show and convince viewers on the fence to give it a shot, presumably hoping the quality of the first episode will persuade them to sign up for a HBO Max account.
House of the Dragon episode 1 appearing on YouTube on the exact same day that the first episode of The Rings of Power hits Prime Video certainly doesn’t feel like a coincidence either. This could be HBO’s attempt to steal Amazon’s thunder, and ensure the conversation stays centred on the bloody events in Westeros rather than the new stories being told in Middle Earth.
Whatever the ultimate reason, this is great news for viewers who have yet to watch House of the Dragon. The Game of Thrones prequel has already earned strong reviews and positive fan reception just a couple of episodes into its run. So, if you’re curious what all the fuss is about this is the perfect opportunity to give the show a chance. Don’t be surprised if after watching the first chapter you’re quickly subscribing to HBO Max to watch more.