Deviating from the aging issue here... (more concerned with acting caliber than prospective age/wide-eyed innocence/plot holes so no real complaints if ability tops age in the pilot. It's a trade-off. Though innocent-looking children being ravaged by Life does come across as a bit more tragic, I admit.)
I wanted to sign up for the boards to say Hi! and a heartfelt thanks to Benioff and Weiss for their efforts. :] Big hats off to them for tackling this huge series. Also wanted to drop another plea in the bucket for their consideration (heh!). I've seen a lot of posts talking about how realistic and bloody and sexy the books are and how HBO is the perfect network to translate that (agreed, agreed), but what I especially love about Martin's work is that juxtaposed to the grit and bile are also those moments of extraordinary beauty and majesty that is definitely characteristic of the fantasy genre. There are a lot of such moments with powerful imagery and descriptive writing in scenes and their respective locations (Winterfell! The Wall! The Eyrie! Anything that requires a helicopter view!) that give it that fantastic otherworldly feel. I'm hoping they won't get lost amidst (or cut in favor of) the backroom knife-handling politicking, conniving hand-rubbing in parlors, racy crypt sex scenes, or the slummy streets of, say, the Red Keep. ASoIaF is certainly not Rome or the Tudors. There is more wonder in it.
All the beautiful trappings of the fantasy genre balanced right next to the nitty-gritty is what I think makes Martin's stuff truly amazing in a distinctive way. I'm worried that in its attempts to make it as "serious" as it can, the TV adaptation might lose that overwhelming thrilling/epic/awesome scope and end up limiting the scope to mainly... the insides of buildings or something equally depressing, like house squabbling. I'm not saying it needs to be fairytale and lollipops (budget constraints and all, I know). Far from it. I'm just really hoping that HBO takes the fantasy aspect healthily into account, though I'm fairly certain I'm worrying for nothing. Plenty of people are gushing for the grounded realism half (as they should.. it's great). Here's me throwing my two-cent plea for the fantasy half, cuz life is indeed nasty, brutish and short in Martin's universe, but it has its moments of wonder, magic and beauty. It'd be pretty awesome to see that balance.