With the colossal popularity of Game of Thrones and the book series which it's based on, A Song of Ice and Fire, the current trend in fantasy fiction is, somewhat predictably, to copy it. As tends to be the way, though, it's the most superficial elements which people are latching onto: the bleakness, the realism, and of course the grim darkness of a story where anyone can die.
Not that there's anything wrong with writing a story with those aspects to it, but it does get a little tiresome when everyone's doing it. A Song of Ice and Fire is, despite having become bloated lately, still a masterpiece, but it's not the darkness itself which makes it such a great read. What makes it work is that Martin knows fantasy inside out, is well versed in the genre's conventions, and decided to use his magnum opus as an opportunity to deconstruct it. And that's great: every genre could do with a little more detailed examination, and it's absolutely worth taking the time to pull apart cliches and try to examine how things might really go in these imagined worlds.