I just spent my whole Saturday looking through teaser trailer reaction videos from YouTube channels that ARE NOT hardcore Game of Thrones / ASOIAF channels, and haven't read the books (for the most part). Mainstream channels, not things that usually cover this.
I was fascinated when the first teaser came out, and reactions from this kind of source were not only positive, but generally asked intelligent questions. So I wanted to get a "feel" for what kind of reaction this got, and more importantly what kind of questions people unfamiliar with the source material had. Fascinating because I can't "unlearn" that I've read Fire & Blood, sometimes it's hard to tell what might confuse people. Like when we'd examine Google Trends after episodes (what searches spiked on A Wiki of Ice and Fire after this? "Rhaenyra Targaryen" and what else?)
To be honest, though all were positive, the questions they asked ran a spectrum:
MAJOR professional TV review channels, even if they read the books, are better informed and asked reasonable questions. Blind Wave is a good example.
Smaller channels who haven't been following this asked questions that could easily be answered by a google search, such as "is this based on a book and is that book done?" (yes, Fire & Blood)....which isn't bad on their part, it it's a key takeaway that the "mainstream news sites" are so disinterested in reporting on House of the Dragon after Game of Thrones Season 8 that they're barely reporting on the prequel. The public has been left shamefully uninformed.
There's always fringe reactions that were insultingly ignorant and jumped to bizarre conclusions...thankfully none of the big ones. Nothing over 3,000 views or anything and they might not reflect general trends. One bizarrely insisted, even against current assumptions, that "well this prequel will be good, because it isn't based on a book GRRM wrote, when slavishly following his story from printed books through Season 8 ruined the show; hopefully TV writers can improve this because it's not a book" ...when they famously didn't have finished books for Season 8, and Fire & Blood IS a finished book (albeit a history book outline) (I'm not making this up). Another one struck me in that she kept mockingly saying "this sounds awful...why are they acting like having a woman on the throne can never happen? We already saw Cersei and Daenerys!"...only to then within the video acknowledge it's a PREQUEL by asking how long ago it was (I watched over two dozen reviews, NO ONE ELSE brought this up, she's just an idiot).
What questions did they ask?
THE top question was "is this based on a book? and is that source material finished?" -- they were very nervous about this. Because the news media didn't even try to examine what went wrong with Game of Thrones, a sort of meme or assumption has spread that "the show got bad because they ran out of books, Martin should have finished them, it's his fault"....ignoring that they abandoned finished books from Season 5 onwards. I don't even think this is willful ignorance: I think a LARGE number of casual viewers were...simply never INFORMED about this, by major news sites who just stopped "reporting" on it. They think Game of Thrones failed because the book series was unfinished. This is THE question that gets asked, far above any other recurring question. So we need to stress "Yes, there's this book called Fire & Blood" so that A- they watch the show without fear, B - they buy Fire & Blood.
A LOT of people kept asking "how long ago is this?" Even though this FIRST TEASER stated in a titlecard, "200 years ago". This highlights the importance of slowly and clearly explaining this in every promo material that goes out. As one would to a child.
I was worried that because they mention "King Viserys" in dialogue, people would get confused with Daenerys's brother, "Viserys" (Viserys the Third). Hardly anyone did. A handful, but more than one of the stupid reactions...actually asked "wait, is that the Mad King?" (because they can't tell two white haired kings standing in front of the Iron Throne apart). Then again these were the same people who kept asking "how long ago is this?" Other stupid questions were even "what, they're not starting with the Targaryen Conquest?" and "wait, this isn't Robert's Rebellion?" (I need to stress these were fringe reactions with less than one thousand views, I'm just sharing them out of amusement).
When they quickly namedrop characters named "Stark" and "Baratheon", many quickly remarked that they wondered what this prequel era's Starks and Baratheons are up to; understandable, as they're familiar names.
Many people casually remarked on "who are those black Valyrians?" and who are those guys [the Hightowers]?" etc., because they're two Houses that were simply never introduced in Game of Thrones itself. Multiple people didn't even think the TV-Velaryon seahorse sigil looked like a seahorse (it's a heraldic one with a horse head); remarking "why is that lion sigil blue? they're not Lannisters", "why is their dragon sigil drawn weird, is that a wyvern?" etc. etc. It's a god-damned real sea-horse! It introduced these new groups but didn't slowly introduce their names (though this time they DO have him say "I, Corlys Velaryon"...so the VERY casual viewers who kept the subtitles on reacted with, "oh, they're called "House Velaryon"?)...but this is a short teaser just setting up the main Targaryens, much less Velaryons/Hightowers.
The trailer didn't attempt to convey in words the names of many characters so I think we can forgive confusion about who everyone is. Walking in blind. People of course recognized Matt Smith, and quite a few recognized Rhys Ifans, actually. I'm surprised that more than one recognized Olivia Cooke ("hey, she was in Ready Player One"). Result though was that a couple of them assumed Daemon was Rhaenyra's brother or cousin or something (not his uncle) who got passed over for a girl, based on the angry looks he keeps shooting at Young Rhaenyra.
I'm not sure if they understood that the younger and older versions are the same characters before and after time skips. I never saw a video that overtly assumed they were different.
I thought there would be more questions. But then again, it's just a teaser.
My major takeaway is that any attempt at doing videos talking to non book readers about this needs to start with slowly and clearly saying "This is the story of a major civil war within two rival branches of House Targaryen, 200 years before Game of Thrones, as told in the finished book Fire & Blood".