BSTN Chronicles illustration – images by Ollie Upton / HBO and en Rothstein / Prime Video

Scissors cut paper. Paper covers rock. Rock crushes scissors. This much we know. But in times of an ever-growing number of streaming giants vying for the audience’s eyeballs – and the wallets attached to those eyeballs – a new question emerges: Can a ring beat a dragon?

Just like Game of Thrones has dominated – and in many ways pushed the envelope for – the television/computer screen in the streaming world (winning 59 Emmys and earning 160 overall nominations), The Lord of the Rings has been equally as dominant on the big screen (winning 17 Oscars). Now, the prequels of these two all-time franchises are going head-to-head in a fantasy streaming competition that has undoubtedly crossed over into full-fledged pop culture entertainment of the masses.

Having debuted its first episode on August 21st, HBO and The House of the Dragon have already delivered the first exclamation point of this heavy-weight match-up: With more than 10 million viewers on release night and over 20 million in the first week, the series has instantly become the most successful launch of an HBO show of all time. Within less than one week, the show was renewed for season two.

Factoring in $250 million for the acquisition of the franchise and close to $500 million for the actual production and marketing of The Rings of Power, Amazon is set to break the bank as well as the record books for a series, that it has apparently committed to for five seasons already. With the premier episode dropping September 2nd, production for season two is already scheduled to kick off in October.

While streaming success stories can come out of nowhere – think Tiger King or Squid Game – they rarely go head-to-head on a weekly basis. But with The Rings of Power and House of the Dragons, the gloves are off – just like it’s mandatory for a game of rock, paper, scissors – and the viewers can make up their mind if the ring is able to de-throne the dragon.

While you debate the superiority of one series or the other – or even the coexistence of both of them – enjoy this visual representation of what it looks like to dominate the streaming competition (aka. House of the Dragon, Episode 1, on release night):

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