It didn't take long for the newly rebranded Warner Bros.-Discovery streamer Max to throw some shade at one of its rivals. In online ads released Friday, Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones is pictured over the slogan “the one to watch when you want to rule them all.” As online commenters quickly pointed out, this feels like a not-so-subtle reference to the famous Lord of the Rings catchphrase: “One ring to rule them all.”
Now, Game of Thrones fans will surely counter that Daenerys Targaryen did in fact want to rule all the kingdoms of Westeros, so the phrasing could fit for that series as well, but the wording is so emblematic and evocative of The Lord of the Rings that it hardly seems a coincidence. Although truth be told, is there any major fantasy series where someone isn't trying to rule over all the other WHATEVER kingdoms of TAKE-YOUR-PICKsville? I think not, but that's a creative issue for another day.
Although, to play Night King's advocate for a second, HBO does have some grounds to be slightly peeved by its Amazon rival's series. After all, Amazon's The Rings Of Power prequel to Lord of the Rings did premiere the same week as HBO's Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon. Sure, Game of Thrones came out well after The Lord of the Rings, but there's no doubt The Rings Of Power was designed to woo fans of Game of Thrones.
And on yet another hand, according to the Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. is now developing their own new version of The Lord of the Rings movies, so this game of who's copying who is really an endless rabbit hole that could lead all the way down to Middle Earth.
Regardless, a little healthy genre rivalry can be beneficial for both parties. Just ask Star Wars and Star Trek. And if Amazon Prime really wants to clap back at the offending ad, they might consider a slam on the newly rebranded MAX sounding like something Amazon sells on its feminine hygiene page. Just saying.