There would have to be some impact made, even by a minor character (otherwise why are they in the story at all?). Is a character killed because the assasin(s) know the death will change the political situation in your story world (if so, how?) or it gets a rival out of the way? How did that character become a rival in the first place?
How does personal history impact on the characters themselves? Family background and circumstances usually do impact somewhere. Are they running away from something? Trying to better/prove themselves? Do they succeed?
The history of the story world and the general setting should have an impact on your characters. Someone being brought up in the country will have a different perspective on rural life than someone who has always lived in a town or city and does not know anything about rural life except what they see on the media.
So let your characters have impact and be impacted upon. Both of these points should generate wonderful tensions within your story and drive the plot along beautifully.