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New Series Comparison: Analyzing House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power following their late Summer premieres

5 min read

| September 8, 2022

TL; DR 
  • Currently, House of the Dragon is outpacing Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power in generating commentary surrounding the programs. However, The Rings of Power has generated more Emotional Reactions and a higher Reaction Rate (passion rate).
  • House of the Dragon has seen significantly higher rates of positive Emotional Reactions such as Love and Excited. The Rings of Power has seen more negative Emotional Reactions such as Hate largely due to conversation about character portrayal and diverse casting decisions.
  • Based on early conversation surrounding both series, House of the Dragon has seen more conversation attributed to characters on the program such as Prince Daemon Targaryen, King Viserys Targaryen, and Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen

A month ago, Canvs took a look at two of the most anticipated fantasy series to possibly ever be released. The Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon was released back in late August on HBO and HBO Max, while last week saw the release of Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power on Amazon Prime Video. Despite The Rings of Power having higher levels of conversation on official trailers, we found higher engagement and excitement on Twitter surrounding House of the Dragon and predicted that it would outperform its competitor.

Now that both series have been released for at least a week, we will explore some of the early performance metrics surrounding these two fantasy series.

House of the Dragon is handily outpacing Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power following both series’ late Summer premieres

So far, it is clear that House of the Dragon has been outperforming Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power in generating higher levels of both Total Tweets in the early episodes of their respective seasons.

  • When comparing the week prior to and the week following the premiere episodes of the two series, House of the Dragon has earned over 1 million Total Tweets, 22% higher than The Rings of Power’s Total Tweet Count
  • Despite higher levels of Total Tweets directed at House of the Dragon, The Rings of Power is currently generating slightly more Emotional Reactions and an 8% higher Reaction Rate (passion rate among Tweets directed at the show)
Source: Canvs Content Page, 7 days prior to and after the release of House of the Dragon and The Rings of Power Read As: Surrounding the premiere of both House of the Dragon and The Rings of Power, House of the Dragon is currently outpacing The Rings of Power by 182K Total Tweets

While House of the Dragon has seen much more overall conversation attributed to the show prior to and following its premiere, it is clear that The Rings of Power audience is slightly more passionate in their conversations around the program. Below, we will dive into these Emotional Reactions to see what is causing the shift in Emotional Reactions between the two series.

Fan’s Emotional Reactions have varied heavily between the House of the Dragon and The Rings of Power in the first 

The largest shifts in Emotional Reactions between the two series are in Love, Hate, and Excited. House of the Dragon earned 8% and 6% higher rates of Love and Excited Emotional Reactions respectively, where The Rings of Power saw 8% more Hate Emotional Reactions.

House of the Dragon’s Emotional Reactions of Love (35% of all House of the Dragon Emotional Reactions) and Excited (12% of all House of the Dragon Emotional Reactions) were generally attributed to people enjoying the premiere episode, without mentioning specific plot points or characters that they were fans of in the premiere. Some commenters noted that the new prequel series is much better than the final season of Game of Thrones, and are remaining cautiously optimistic about the new show.

House of the Dragon Verbatims

  • Excited: “Well I’m sold on House of the Dragon. Took me all but 5 minutes into the first episode. #HouseoftheDragon”
  • Excited: “House of Dragon is already picking back up with the original GOT energy. This is gonna be good!!”
  • Love: “House of Dragon was fantastic.  I can’t wait to see what the show turns into. #HouseoftheDragon”
  • Love: “The first episode of House of the Dragon is so lit I hope they don’t ruin it in the end.”

Over 26% of conversation surrounding Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power showed the Emotional Reaction Love. However, the new Lord of the Rings series saw much higher levels of Hate (11% of all The Rings of Power Emotional Reactions) compared to House of the Dragon.

Despite both shows introducing more diversity in their casting within the new programs and taking liberties with how characters are portrayed, Elon Musk’s Tweet about J.R.R. Tolkien “rolling over in his grave” stirred up quite a bit of controversy for The Rings of Power. All this controversy led to Elon Musk being mentioned in over 24% of Hate Emotional Reactions surrounding The Rings of Power.

Regardless of the controversy, both positive and negative early reviewers of The Rings of Power mentioned the show is slightly slower than the original Lord of the Rings and Hobbit franchises.

Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Verbatims

  • Love: “#RingsOfPower looks fantastic. It is a bit of a slow burner on the plot but a lot of world building to be done so I’ll stick around.”
  • Love: “Rings of Power- there’s a lot going on. I’m not a Tolkien die hard so I can’t say if it fits the canon, but it’s a great show.”
  • Hate: “@elonmusk Oh look the guy who couldn’t buy Twitter thinks the new LOTR show is bad.”
  • Hate: “Genuinely curious: How did @PrimeVideo spend $1 billion on @LOTRonPrime and end up with such terrible CGI?”
Source: Canvs Compare, 7 days prior to and after the release of House of the Dragon and The Rings of Power Read As: House of the Dragon earned 8% more Love Emotional Reactions and 6% more Excited Emotional Reactions Compared to The Rings of Power, The Rings of Power saw an 8% higher rate of Hate Emotional Reactions
Based on the early episodes, House of the Dragon has seen more conversation focused around its characters and the network itself

Top character drivers for House of the Dragon include Prince Daemon Targaryen (mentioned in 2.9% of House of the Dragon Tweets), King Viserys Targaryen (mentioned in 1.9% of House of the Dragon Tweets), and Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (mentioned in 1.6% of House of the Dragon Tweets).

The Rings of Power saw fewer character drivers mentioned, but Galadriel (mentioned in 1.9% of The Rings of Power Tweets) appears to be an early fan favorite in the series.

In terms of generating conversation directed towards the network, over 8% of Tweets mentioned HBO Max and over 5% of Tweets mentioned HBO for House of the Dragon. In comparison, The Rings of Power commentary only mentioned Amazon in 3% of all Tweets.

Feel free to explore the top topics from both series below in the interactive visualization.

As we expected after analyzing preliminary data for both of the programs, House of the Dragon appears to be the clear favorite in driving positive conversation on Twitter. Despite both programs diversifying their casts and taking some creative liberties with their character portrayals, House of the Dragon has been able to avoid the negative feedback due in large part to Elon Musk Tweeting his disapproval of the new Lord of the Rings series.

Both programs are still in their early stages, and Canvs will continue to analyze the shows throughout their entire seasons. Make sure to check back on Canvs periodically to see how fan conversation shifts as the seasons progress.

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