I don't think I've mentioned this before, but I have been watching the show, The Game of Thrones, for a while now. I have to say, I am getting a little obsessed with it.
To be honest with you guys, before HBO made this epic fantasy-ish show, I didn't know that it was just an adaptation of a very popular book series, which I know is a shame. I only started reading the books when I found that out. That being said, I read the first book and managed to finish it in two days. I loved it. I was surprised at how easily I fell for the characters. They're believable; as the author, George R.R. Martin, really knows how to paint them in such a realistic way. I especially love the fact that this series has many strong female characters. For a fantasy/medieval power story, this is definitely a big deal!
Most especially though, he sure knows how to tell a story in an incredibly engaging way. It is such a complex story though that I don't think I will write a proper review for them because it will be hard to do so without spoiling it.
So, I'm just going to go ahead and say that yes, you MUST read the books. They are so well written, the characters are awesome, and the combination of many different types of genres is just pure entertainment to me. And yay for strong female characters ;)
As far as the show goes, I love it. I believe that it is good to be watched on its own, whether or not you have read - or planning to read - the books. I think it tells the story well, and the actors do a very, very good job portraying such badass characters.