I personally'd say the whole thing would work just as well without a single wolf anywhere but on coat of arms.
I agree that Martin focuses heavily on the darker, bleaker side of human relationships. Even his moments of love or joy seem restrained. For me, this does not take away from the enjoyment of the story, but I could see it becoming a problem when trying to keep an expensive show on the air.
Some might see the enormous size of the ASOIAF universe as a hindrance to the show, but it should be its strength. There is ample opportunity for the writers to introduce new characters and events in every single episode. Character development can take a back seat for a while imo. Purists will moan but they are not in the majority. Those that are want an obvious and immediate reason not to change the channel, and to come back next week. And then buy the DVDs.
I'm predicting an end after three seasons unless they can get Joss Whedon or Chris Carter on board. Preferably both.
Edited by DecoyRunner, 05 May 2011 - 12:53 AM.