If writers are upset over Ned's death wait until the Red Wedding
At least half of the main characters die in the first 2 books. But the great thing is that there are excellent characters to take their places. Soon we will meet Stanis and Melysandre and the Onion Knight. Little Bran will take a larger role, Theon will go off on his own and get his own storyline as will Sir Barristan. The great thing about reading the books beforehand is that you know what characters to invest in and which to not.
For people who read the books what do you think about them making Renly and Loras gay? Why did they need to do that?