What I really like are stories where there isn't anyone that's outright evil or cruel, instead the characters are all mostly-good people who have conflicting philosophies and desires. Problems where sufficient creativity can find some sort of win-win solution even if not everyone is perfectly happy with it. Sometimes there's no solution, but everyone endures and moves on and finds ways to be more or less happy. I think that's realistic, because that's the majority of what I see every day in the world around me. People dying right and left is a lot less realistic - in 30 years of life I've never seen anyone be killed in front of me, no one I know has died from anything other than old age, illness, or accident. When I see people suffering it's mainly due to the economy, or some kind of prejudice, or the pervasive problems with our legal system. I understand the concept that fiction typically places characters in a world freed up from a lot of the laws and bureaucracy of the modern world, and that some real places and times are/were very violent. I've written about one character killing another when it was important to the main part of the story, and I think murder and death are things that can be interesting and meaningful to write about. I just think that the popular taste for "darker and edgier" isn't really very mature or tasteful, it's like... the equivalent for anger that being emo is for sadness. Or like "reality" tv which is totally scripted and exaggerated like a soap opera.
I think maybe you really enjoy stories with a single protagonist or group of protagonists who are allied are unambiguously the good guy and focus of the story.
GoT and BotF both focus on complex stories where there are both varying levels of bad guys existing at the same time and complex characters who often have done and continue to do terrible things.
For instance I am a huge fan of Valdemar but its hard to argue for any shades of grey. Malazan stories are just more complex and interesting. Valdemar can even be epic, but its cut and dried. Its a fantasy world, where fantasy is used in the most positive sense. Malazan is a fantastic world but its not really a fantasy world. Each of the nations has a story that is just as complex as the story of the USA which is a country that has done many good things, especially for its own citizens, and for allies who are basically parts of the global north whole, but which has done terrible, terrible things also to people who disagree with its guiding ideas, and no, I didn't misspell ideals and to countries who have no way to respond.
For RPGs in particular, IMO the goal is to create a world that players can enjoy their adventures in, not one that depresses them, scares them, embitters them, grosses them out, or makes them cry. That's what I want as a player, anyway, so that's what I think is the ideal to aim for in creating them.
For me, since I don't want to write or read a story that demands that kind of thing, it seems like a sadistic choice of thing to create, and yes a sadistic way to treat your characters. I mean, I'm fine with other people enjoying writing and reading stuff that's dark, violent, tragic, horrific, dystopian, or whatever. I just don't want to and don't at a gut-level understand why anyone would. I understand being afraid that the world is headed for a grim future, but it's generally unwise and self-damaging to dwell on that kind of fear in the way that would be necessary to write about it. I only object strongly to unpleasant content in fiction if I manage to accidentally consume something like that because it's packaged misleadingly, or it's a new dark twist on characters I like from an existing IP.
The author is sadistic though ;)
I really love how they're able to dismiss incredible characters because the story demands it. This is something, I, as an author, would chicken out of, and this is why they are much better authors than I'll ever be. They don't do it just because its fun or because it brings a nice cliffhanger, but because the story demands it.