"If House of the Dragon premieres in the spring, as was customary for most seasons of Thrones, then by the time it debuts, roughly three years will have elapsed since Season 8’s disastrous denouement," says Ben Lindbergh. "During that time, Star Wars has bounced back from its sequel trilogy setback, Marvel has embarked on a busy 2021 after a year of pandemic-driven delays, and even hit-or-miss heavy hitters—Star Trek, The Walking Dead, DC—have expanded their on-screen ambitions or continued to pump out IP. et at a time of rapidly proliferating franchises and intense competition for content that can attract streaming subscribers, HBO’s signature series of the 2010s has been as dormant as Dany’s dragons in the Great Pyramid of Meereen. The subscriber bases of Disney+ and Netflix dwarf that of the still-evolving HBO Max—which launched last May without a Mandalorian-esque killer app—and free-spending Amazon, which in 2017 declared its intention to make the next Game of Thrones, is slated to roll out The Lord of the Rings and The Wheel of Time on Prime Video in 2021, ahead of House of the Dragon. Amazon even hired veteran Thrones writer and supervising producer Bryan Cogman—whose Thrones prequel pitch (which would have drawn on the same material as House of the Dragon) was rejected by HBO—to consult on Lord of the Rings. The slow assembly line for Thrones successors, coupled with increased competition, may have made HBO worry that it was missing its moment to make the most of a massive world that remains a one-off phenomenon for the network."