House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings series to premiere just days apart

Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen in House of the Dragon
Matt Smith in House of the Dragon (Image credit: Ollie Upton/HBO)

Move over Starks vs Lannisters, there’s a new rivalry in town — House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. The two highly anticipated 2022 TV shows from two of the biggest fantasy franchises of all time were already likely to be compared to each other, but with the announcement of House of the Dragon’s premiere date, things just got ratcheted up to 11. 

House of the Dragon has officially been given an August 21 release date on HBO and HBO Max in the US and August 22 on Sky Atlantic and Now TV in the UK. That is just 12 days before Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is set to premiere on Prime Video, September 2. So not only will people be able to make their case for which of the series are better just based on their opinions, but we could have actual data as to which one has more viewers.

House of the Dragon is a Game of Thrones prequel series. The story is set 200 years before the events of the Game of Thrones and, as the title suggests, focuses on the story of House Targaryen, Daenerys’ (Emilia Clarke) ancestors. The series stars Paddy Considine, Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Emma D’Arcy, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, Sonoya Mizuno, Fabien Frankel and Rhys Ifans. Check out the teaser trailer for House of the Dragon right here:

Premiering more than three years after the Game of Thrones series finale, we’ll see if fans are ready to head back to Westeros after the final season of the much-loved show drew lots of criticism for feeling rushed and making what felt like odd choices after they no longer had George R.R. Martin’s books to guide them. For what it’s worth, Martin has weighed in on what he’s seen from House of the Dragon so far, writing on his blog, "what I’ve seen, I have loved."

Meanwhile, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is the first time Middle Earth will be getting its own TV show. The show will also be a prequel to Peter Jackson’s beloved Lord of the Rings trilogy (though Jackson is not involved in the TV show), taking place thousands of years before those stories, but featuring familiar characters like Galadriel and Elrond. See what’s in store with its teaser trailer: 

The debut season of House of the Dragon will feature 10 episodes, while The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power will have eight. So, if we go under the assumption that one episode will debut per week for each show, there will be eight weeks where both shows will have new episodes, and the season finales will arrive on Friday, October 21, for The Rings of Power and Sunday, October 23, for House of the Dragon.

Fall TV viewing just got that much more epic. Can’t wait.

House of the Dragon date announcement poster

(Image credit: HBO)
Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.