You'd think people who would have taken a literature class eh? Like i get it, not a lot of people like literature, but even GRrm has to follow the basic rules. In the books, since it's written in a POV character it becomes much more obvious that the whole "nobdy is safe" is bull because only one POv character died in teh books this whole time ( AND EVEN SHE GETS REVIVED ROFL), I believe.
In the TV show you have this illusion that nobody is safe. But even in the TV show, it has become abundantly clear that certain characters cannot die: most obvious of all being danyerys. Danyreys has been safe the entire time because SHE NEEDS TO GO TO westeros, and she can absolutely not die before any of that happens. The others being JOn snow, Tyrion, and bran. And IM guessing to a lesser extent sansa and arya? But yeah, maybe Jaime too I suppose since we need a POV character in kings landing. basically each character is sort of important to one plot, and its desginated in a specific geographic position. With bran the northern plot would fall, like you mentioned. Basic storytelling.
And everything that has happned has happened for a reason, to further the plot. When you think about the show thrives on chaos. Neds death made the realm chaotic with war, Robs death did the same, Tommens death is now doing the same thing too. Basically whatever maintains the statuos quo or does not progress the story, something needs to happen to it for that to happen. For ramsay to fight Jon snow, he needed to kill his father. it wasn't like oh hey lets think of something fucking crazy to do. Which is where I think the showrunenrs have failed to grasp and translate the spirit of the books, they have become shock value at this point.
GRRM has been able to get away with killing lots of characters, because he has such a huge/vast amount of characters. It's kind of like a magicians trick really, that if you rely too much can get predictable. Thats one of the inheritn advantages the show has over all other shows, it's so big and the story so expensive no other TV show can compete with it on that front. I suppose they can compete in other ways, such as storytelling. But GRRM can kill off so many becuase he has so many, same thing for the TV. They have a lot of characters, and there is still plenty left to make the last season intersting, but dont expect as many unexpected deaths. GRRM himself said he plans on bringing all characters in the same geographic area, and not keeping them geographically scattered anymore. ANd I suppose that would be kings landing. which Is why I expcted the major player in kings landing to look very different.
we are also nto certain how much if any at all they have changed from the books. WE knew hodor was GRRM idea because they mentioned that he told them during a hotel meeting. But they haven't said this was GRRM idea, or how much of it it is, they've changed. So really there lots of differences, and it's worth reading the books because of that. The explosion really wasn't all that unpredictable, and felt a bit cliche. Tommens death was unexpected. But it's definitely not as wtf as it used to be. Well see when GRRM releases his new book and how much better it is.
You are forgetting the first book. Ned Stark was a POV. He was the main character, head chopped off. Lady Stoneheart came back but she wasn't a pov again. Ned dying was a shock in the books and so was Caitlyn dying at the red wedding.