This is a listing of wildling characters that appear in the Fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire. Visit here for the main character index.
The Free Folk
The Free Folk are the people who live beyond the Wall. They are more commonly referred to as "wildlings" everywhere south of the Wall.There are tens, possibly hundreds of thousands of Free Folk split into hundreds of cultures, tribes, clans, villages and raiding parties, some reasonably cultured, others savage and hostile. The Free Folk refer to themselves in that way to differentiate themselves from the "kneelers," the people south of the Wall, subject to lords and kings. The Free Folk view the "kneelers" as lacking freedom, whereas the people of the Seven Kingdoms view the "wildlings" as lawless and primitive killers, rapists and thieves.Due to their isolation from the rest of Westeros, they remain a free people, free of states, free of nobles, kings, and laws but those of their own choosing, following whatever leader they please, though they gravitate mostly towards a mixture of meritocracy, social darwinism and Authority Equals Asskicking. They believe that the gods made the earth for all men to share and when the kings came with their crowns and their steel swords, they stole it - by claiming it was all theirs and theirs alone.
Tropes related to the Free Folk:
- Action Girl: The role of the spearwife in general.
- Always Chaotic Evil: To the Seven Kingdoms. The truth is much more complicated.
- Attack! Attack! Attack!: Wildlings are big on valor and low on discipline. They're too big on freedom to submit to anyone's orders and charge into battle to win glory for themselves rather than working together as a unit to achieve victory. Their way of fighting is described as "a shout, a slash and a fine brave death." This is why even the Night's Watch can routinely beat them, even when outnumbered.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Wildings will follow whoever is the strongest. Things like gender, age, birth order, and lineage mean little to them.
- Awesome, but Impractical: What the Wilding Army amounts to. Their vast number of foot soldiers, horsemen, chariots, giants and mammoths don't amount to anything against the Wall. Their lack of discipline is also obvious as they break formation, and start shooting arrows long before the have any chance of hitting the defenders on the wall.
- Best Her to Bed Her: Wildling women believe that a man must be able to kidnap her to be worthy of marrying. And if they don't like who kidnapped them, they will just slit his throat at night.
- Boisterous Bruiser: The Free Folk are brimming with this, but they are grossly untrained, have no cavalry and lack the weaponry necessary to even stand to a formal Westerosi army. As such, the Night's Watch are able to hold them off by bunching on top of the wall and throwing stuff at them, and Stannis later crushes them with a mounted army several times smaller. They do have the courage and the desperation, but there's simply no contest.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Pictish tribes north of Hadrian's Wall. Overall the Free Folk seem to fit rather well with various tribal alliances under a charismatic leader that fought Rome, like Gauls under Vercingetorix and the Germanic tribes under Arminius. And like many of the tribes that attacked the Roman Empire, bringing about its collapse, they are being driven South by changing climates.
- Fire Keeps It Dead: Wildings burn their dead so they won't come back as wights.
- Had To Be Sharp: Even more so than the northmen. To them, everyone south of the Wall is soft and pampered.
- The Horde: To the southerners. They certainly give the impression—the few times the can muster enough cohesion to act together is due to a sufficiently charismatic leader managing to unite the varied and disparate wildling tribes into a semi-cohesive whole, and even then they don't so much form an army as a poorly organized mass migration with no real plans after the "pillage the South" bit.
- I Am A Humanitarian: Deconstructed: the ice-river clans engage in cannibalism, hunting down members of other clans and Frozen Shore people because food is so scarce on the frozen wastes north of the Frozen Shore.
- Invading Refugees: Wildings have raided the Seven Kingdoms as long as anyone can remember but at the start of the books, they have amassed together into a single horde that is intent on smashing their way through the Wall so they can flee the oncoming armies of wights and White Walkers.
- Liberty Over Prosperity: The Wildings view themselves as choosing freedom over all else, preferring to live in a very harsh, cold, and sometimes undead-infested land, than to be "kneelers". Averted by the Thenns, who do have laws and hereditary leadership.
- Mysterious Past: It's not entirely clear how the Free Folk ended up living north of The Wall in the first place when it was erected eight millennia before the events of ASOIAF or the reason why the Night's Watch started keeping them away from the other side. It has been so long that all documentation of how these events took place became Lost in Translation.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Alfyn Crowkiller ("Crow" being a nickname for a man of the Night's Watch), Harma Dogshead, The Lord O' Bones.
- No Name Given: Due to the high infant mortality rate, parents don't name their children until they're at least two years old, meaning they're more likely to survive. The children may be given a "milk name", nicknames used until they outgrow them.
- Not So Different: Like many Northeners, they are descendants of the First Men and so share blood and cultural traits. They follow the same religion by worshiping the Old Gods of the Forest, 'look after their own' as Jon Snow notes, and remember the legends of the White Walkers. The only reason their cultures divided was due to their differing placements on either side of the Wall, a fact emphasized by wildlings and Jon Snow.
- They also have similarities with the Ironborn. Their sentiment that "one can only keep what one can take and defend" is not too different from paying the Iron Price. Both people where more or less secluded descendants of the First Men, but the Ironborn lived on barren islands and turned to a religion based around the sea, while the Wildlings had weirdwood trees and thus kept to the Old Gods of the Forest.
- Proud Warrior Race: Due to the nature of their surroundings, their interactions with the Night's Watch, and the relationships between the different groups, the general Wildling culture is based around combat.
- Among the Free Folk, the Thenn stand out as the most clear example, as they see themselves as the last of the First Men.
- Tribal Face Paint: The cave dwellers paint their faces blue, green, or purple, for reasons unknown.
- We ARE Struggling Together: Many of the Wildling groups can hardly stand each other, and only work together due to Mance's influence. When they get crushed by Stannis at the wall and Mance is captured, many of them turn on each other or flee.
- This same argument is later used by Jon Snow to declare a truce between the Night's Watch and the Free Folk to fight against the Others. Most of the Free Folk get it, most of the Watch does not.
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Mance Rayder, The King Beyond the Wall
Abel the Bard
- "Free folk don't follow names, or little cloth animals sewn on a tunic. They won't dance for coins, they don't care how you style yourself or what that chain of office means or who your grandsire was. They follow strength. They follow the man."
- The Ace: Many solidified Badasses in The Night's Watch claim that he was the best of them before joining the wildlings. This is hard to argue as so far he has been able to rally the rambunctious Free Folk into a massive army, scale The Wall and infiltrate Winterfell multiple times, and defeat Jon Snow with a huge greatsword most men would barely be able to swing.
- Amazon Brigade: The group of spearwives he takes in his quest to infiltrate Winterfell.
- Antagonist in Mourning: Briefly for his erstwhile friend and 'brother' Qhorin Halfhand.
- It likely happened again after Dalla died giving birth to his son... right as he was defeated and captured by Stannis Baratheon's army.
- Anti-Villain: He's not even coming to conquer Westros: he wants to conquer the Wall but only so that his people can take shelter from the Others behind it; they rather accurately believe the Watch will never just let them through.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: How you become leader of the wildlings. Mance notes that there were five claimants to the title of "King-Beyond-The-Wall" when he fled the Watch. Mance killed three of them in single combat, and got the other two—Styr and Tormund—to become his allies.
- Badass: He is a very strong warrior and united many of the Free Folk under his leadership by defeating them in battle. While disguised as Rattleshirt, he manages to utterly trounce Jon Snow in a practice duel, something that has never happened before in the series.
- Badass in Distress: After he and his group of spearwives successfully get "Arya Stark" out of Winterfell and away from Ramsay Bolton, the bastard sends Jon Snow a letter claiming that, among other things, he has Mance in a cage exposed to a blizzard, with only a coat made of the spearwive's skins to keep him warm. While Ramsay might have been bullshitting some of the letter, the fact that he knows it's Mance despite claims that Jon had executed him suggests that this part is true. Knowing him, it's best we don't know how he found this out.
- The Bard: When he heard that King Robert was coming to Winterfell, he decided to see the man for himself, climbed the wall, raced south to intercept the Baratheon entourage, and used his singing to pass himself off as a bard. As such, he was at Winterfell throughout the entire feast and afterwards, which Mance tells Jon, to his astonishment. In ADWD, he takes on the guise of "Abel" to infiltrate Winterfell again and save who he thinks is Arya Stark.
- Though he also fits the Wandering Minstrel trope too; as with other minstrels in ASOIAF he has an eye for the women, is often up to mischief, and is under the constant threat of coming to a sticky end.
- Big Bad: From the perspective of the Night's Watch.
- Brainy Brunette: Going grey, but Mance is easily one of the most intelligent people in the series, being well-educated and knowledgeable about history and culture both north and south of the Wall, as well as being a shrewd battle commander.
- Brown Eyes: He has brown eyes, and though they are described as shrewd, they help to contribute to his mostly generic and unremarkable appearance.
- The Casanova: Even when he was still a member of the Night's Watch and supposedly celibate.
- Dangerous Deserter: Since Mance was such a skilled ranger and knows their ways, he is even more dangerous to the Night's Watch than a typical Wilding.
- Dead Person Impersonation: Melisandre uses a glamour to make him look like Rattleshirt, who was executed in his place.
- Five-Bad Band: He has this going on with his war leaders, Styr, Tormund, Rattleshirt, Varamyr, and Harma. The "bad" part is debatable for him and Tormund.
- Face–Heel Turn: From the perspective of the Night's Watch. From Mance's point of view, it was a Heel–Face Turn from an order that wrongfully denied people personal freedoms and kept thousands of innocents trapped north of the Wall simply due to being born there.
- Friendly Enemies: As a deserter from the Night's Watch, he knows and respects many of the "crows" who oppose him.
- Going Native: After being helped by a wildling woman, he goes native and joins the wildlings and eventually becomes their king.
- The Good King: From the point of view of the wildlings, given his absolute dedication to their welfare.
- The High King: Mance is the leader of a loose confederation of tribal chieftains, with himself as first-among-equals.
- I Just Want to Be Free: The general motto of the Wildlings.
- It Was a Gift: He still wears his Night's Watch cloak repaired with red silk.
- King Incognito: When he goes disguised into Winterfell while Robert is visiting, and again when Jon Snow is brought into his tent and takes awhile to realize that Mance is the bard, not the several very obvious warriors. Happens again when he sneaks into the Bolton occupied Winterfell to rescue "Arya".
- Modest Royalty: As befits a king of the Free Folk, who don't really respect people who act royal.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: A wildling raised as a member of the Night's Watch, only to defect back to his people by blood and unite them in an attack against the people who trained and raised him? Mance is quite a deadringer for Arminius.
- The Nondescript: Compared to his more wild looking lieutenants, Mance looks like a average man.
- Non-Uniform Uniform: He deserted the Night's Watch because they wouldn't allow him to wear one. Specifically, his black cloak was mended with red silk by a wildling healer, after she helped him recover from an injury he took during a ranging. Despite the gift this woman made—pretty obviously the most valuable thing she owned—his commander Lord Denys Mallister made him switch out with a fresh plain black one. But Mance wasn't having it.
- Visual Pun: He's a turncloak both literally and figuratively.
- The Oath-Breaker: Breaks his Night's Watch oaths by deserting and joining the Free Folk.
- Only One Name: Subverted. He's one of the only Wildlings that has a last name that isn't a moniker or a nickname. Still, he was raised by the Night's Watch since he was a baby, so it's not revealed whether he was named by them or by the Wildlings before he was brought to the Wall.
- The Paragon Always Rebels: Qhorin mentions Mance was the best Ranger at the Shadow Tower.
- Refuge in Audacity: Sneaking into Winterfell as a bard when he hears King Robert is visiting. It takes serious courage to visit the capital of the North when you are preparing to invade it.
- Revenge Before Reason: Inverted; he toys with the idea of killing Jon Snow for his betrayal, but realizes Jon would only be replaced as Lord Commander by someone worse.
- Spanner in the Works: This is what he's set up to be for The Boltons and Freys at Winterfell during A Dance With Dragons. By the end of the book, it's heavily implied that he and his spearwives have fallen into the hands of Ramsay Bolton. If Ramsay's letter to Jon is to be believed, Mance is in serious trouble.
- They Look Just Like Everyone Else: A slightly less villainous example. When Jon enters Mance's tent for the first time and looks around at his Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits, he isn't sure which one is him. He naturally assumes it is Styr, who looks the meanest and most threatening of the bunch. Everyone laughs at Jon, and Mance reveals himself. He's the completely average-looking bard that had been sitting and playing a song.
- Tykebomb: Mance was a wildling child, taken in as a baby by The Night's Watch and raised as a black brother. He proceeded to become one of the Watch's most skilled and dangerous men before rejoining his people and becoming their king as well as one of the The Night's Watch's greatest threats.
- Warrior Poet: He can write a song just as well as he kills.
- Worthy Opponent: Many of his former comrades in the Night's Watch still think highly of him, even if they do despise him for deserting and becoming the leader of the wildlings.Qhorin Halfhand: He was the best of us, and the worst as well.
- Wicked Cultured: Loves music and is his own bard. (Also, for limited values of "wicked".)
- "We free folk know things you kneelers have forgotten. Sometimes the short road is not the safest, Jon Snow. The Horned Lord once said that sorcery is a sword without a hilt. There is no safe way to grasp it."
- Death by Childbirth: Dies giving birth to Mance's son during Stannis' attack on the wildling camp.
- Hot Consort: Even a Wildling king had to have a beautiful wife at his side.
- Only One Name: Like most wildlings, she doesn't have a House name.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: She dies in the same book she first appears in and has very little page time.
Aemon Steelsong, Aemon Battleborn, Born-in-Battle, The Little Prince, The Wildling PrinceMance and Dalla's infant son, born during the Battle of Castle Black. Jon Snow sends him to the Reach with Gilly, his wetnurse, and Sam Tarly.
- Dead Guy Junior: Gilly suggests naming him after Maester Aemon, who died on the voyage to Oldtown.
- Heir Club for Men: Subverted. People south of the Wall see him as a prince, to the Free Folk he's just their king's son. They only care about strength, not lineage.
- No Name Given: As is typical for wildling infants.
- Royal Blood: Jon fears Melisandre will try to burn him as a sacrifice for the king's blood in his veins, so he arranges for the child to be sent away.
- Switched at Birth: On the orders of Jon Snow, Gilly reluctantly takes him south with her, leaving her own son in his place. She is to tell Sam's mother that the child is their bastard son.
The Wildling Princess
- "Free folk and kneelers are more alike than not, Jon Snow. Men are men and women women, no matter which side of the Wall we were born on. Good men and bad, heroes and villains, men of honor, liars, cravens, brutes... we have plenty, as do you."
- Badass Princess: One of the aspects Jon sees that Stannis' men don't consider is that Val isn't a Damsel in Distress. She is a bona-fide warrior princess and leader.They are all convinced she is a princess. Val looked the part and rode as if she had been born on horseback. A warrior princess, he decided, not some willowy creature who sits up in a tower, brushing her hair and waiting for some knight to rescue her. -Thoughts of Jon Snow
- The Chief's Daughter: Or rather, the King's sister-in-law. Invoked by the southerners. She is regarded as a "wildling princess" by the Queen's Men, who assume they can marry her off to one of their own nobles to secure an alliance with the wildlings. Jon has given up trying to explain that the wildlings don't recognize Royal Blood, only Asskicking Equals Authority.
- Deadpan Snarker: Oh yeah. There is little she does not snark about.
- Determinator: She has no problem setting off into the Haunted Forest on a half-blind garron, braving hostile wildlings and the Others to find Tormund Giantsbane and bring him back to the Wall to secure an alliance with the Night's Watch. Jon Snow notes it is a nearly impossible task that his best rangers have already failed to do, but Val manages to pull it off without a hitch, and never expresses any fear or doubt in her mission.Val: I am no southron lady but a woman of the free folk. I know the forest better than all your black-cloaked rangers. It holds no ghosts for me.
- Everyone Loves Blondes: She has beautiful blonde hair that she often wears in a golden braid. The men of Castle Black and Stannis' knights can't help but stare at her whenever they see her.
- To Sansa. Both are beautiful young women kept in towers after a male relative was defeated and executed (though with Mance the execution was staged). Their captors try to marry them off in hopes of using them as political pawns. Though unlike Sansa, Val is openly defiant of her captors and has a few friends to call upon for help.
- To Princess Nymeria of the Rhoynar. Both Nymeria and Val are considered leaders of their tribes, though Val has considerably less hold in that respect and her position is more precarious. They are both warrior princesses whose tribes are in the middle of both exile and attempted assimilation; the Wildlings are fleeing from ice monsters (the Others), while the Rhoynar were fleeing from fire monsters (the Valyrian Dragonlords); Nymeria was able to secure her people's future by marrying the Dornish nobleman Mors Martell, yet cultural divides and prejudices from her tribe and herself are preventing Val from achieving the same.
- Grey Eyes: She has pale grey eyes that sometimes seem to be blue that go with her stunning looks.
- Girl in the Tower: After being captured, she is held in one of Castle Black's towers.
- If It's You, It's Okay: Inverted. After Jarl plunges to his death while climbing the Wall, Val asks Jon if he did it. Jon argues that the Wall itself killed Jarl, giving in turn reassurance to Val; this implies that Val would much rather not seek quarrel with a person that she likes (an aspect that she makes more obvious later on).
- This, she asks Jon also to verify whether he was trying to "steal" her in the Wildling fashion by killing her man; this wouldn't have worked, of course, because Val was the "man" of the relationship.
- Mama Bear: She is very protective of Dalla's child, and even agrees to send him away to Oldtown to prevent him from being burned by Melisandre due to his "king's blood". She is also fond and protective of Gilly's son, despite frequent protests to the contrary and referring to him as a little monster.
- The Mourning After: One of the reasons Jon does not pursue anything romantic with Val after she proposes him to do so is that he is still mourning Ygritte.
- Not So Different: As shown above, she points this out to Jon in regards to the people of Westeros and the Free Folk. She's not wrong, as she and several other Free Folk prove to be much better people and even more civilized that some of those who look down on them as wildling savages.
- Nubile Savage: How Stannis' knights see her.
- Only One Name: Like most Wildlings, she has no House name.
- OOC Is Serious Business: Jon is stunned when Val becomes extremely angry and disturbed after meeting Shireen Baratheon, who Val insists is unclean and a "dead girl" due to her greyscale. When Jon tells her that it is not fatal in children, she yells at him that it is always fatal and merely bids its time before killing before insisting that he move Gilly's child and his wet nurses out of the tower where Shireen is and into her own in order to protect him from the disease. This outburst causes Jon to wonder if the Maesters could be wrong about children being able to survive greyscale, and he complies with her wishes for safe measure.
- Ship Tease: With Jon, as the two of them grow close while working to unite the Night's Watch and wildlings against the Others. Many of the Night's Watch and Stannis' knights are highly suspicious of the extent of their relationship as well. Val finds the speculation amusing.Val: Lord Crow is welcome to steal into my bed any night he dares. Once he's been gelded, keeping those vows will come much easier for him.
- Val even says to him the Catch Phrase of Jon's (deceased) lover Ygritte: "You know nothing, Jon Snow".
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Everyone who sees her is stunned by her beauty, and Jon notes that she would turn heads in any court in the world. This leads to a lot of problems for Val and Jon since Stannis' knights keep trying to arrange to marry her and accuse Jon of trying to keep her for himself.
- The Tease: She is this to Jon and unfortunately, to the men around. The problem Jon sees about her presence at Castle Black is that, first, she's a proverbial hot bun on a Night's Watch sausage fest, and second, there's Stannis' knights to account for in the same respect. Jon then has to scamper her to a tower to keep her out of sight, because a Spearwife isn't going to do much for herself against literally thousands of blue-balled men in spite of her claimed prowess at arms.
- Winter Royal Lady: In appearance she fulfills all aspects of this trope, except that she's neither much of a courtesan nor is she a "princess" in the sense that the Florents think she is. This takes a more literal meaning when Stannis offers Jon the lordship of Winterfell and Val as his lawful wife if Jon backs him up as King, to which Jon refuses.
- Woman in White: She often wears white clothing, which go along with her pale skin and fair hair.
Tormund Giantsbane, Tormund Thunderfist, Tormund Horn-Blower, Tormund Tall-Talker, Mead-King of Ruddy Hall, Breaker of Ice, Husband to Bears, Speaker to Gods, Father of Hosts
- "See, lad, that's why he's king and I'm not. I can outdrink, outfight, and outsing him, and my member's thrice the size o' his, but Mance has cunning."
- Anti-Villain: All Tormund really cares about is getting his people safely behind the Wall before the Others kill them all. If that means having to kill the Night's Watch to do so, he is fine with that, but Tormund seems much more satisfied to forge a truce with Jon Snow and get his people there peacefully.Jon Snow: You're a good man, Tormund Giantsbane. For a wildling.
Tormund: Better than most, might be. Not so good as some.
- Badass: Although he has yet to be seen fighting in the series, Tormund is regarded as a great warrior, is known to have killed several rangers of the Nights Watch, and was once even considered to be a candidate for becoming King Beyond the Wall.
- Badass Beard: Has a large white beard.
- Badass Boast: To Rattleshirt.Rattleshirt: I'm here for him(Jon).Tormund: Come take him then, but best come with sword in hand, for that's where you'll find mine. Might be I'll boil your bones, and use your skull to piss in. Har!
- Badass Grandpa: He is among the older wildling leaders and has several full-grown children.
- Beard of Barbarism: As per the norm among the Free Folk.
- Bestiality Is Depraved: Averted; he counts "Husband to Bears" as one of his many titles, a reference to a time when he allegedly had sex with what he thought was an Amazonian Beauty wearing a heavy fur coat but was actually a bear, although it's (probably) nothing more than a Tall Tale.
- Beware the Nice Ones: From the end of A Storm Of Swords:Jon Snow: Tormund Giantsbane seemed to me the sort of man who would make a good friend and a bad enemy, Your Grace.
- Biggus Dickus: Tormund boasting about his enormous member is a Running Gag.
- Boisterous Bruiser: The man does not seem to have a single malicious bone in his body, but he does enjoy a good fight.
- Co-Dragons: He fills this role with Styr in Mance's Five-Bad Band of commanders.
- Dragon Ascendant: After Mance is defeated and captured, Tormund becomes the de facto leader of one of the largest organized remaining groups of Free Folk.
- Enemy Mine: He joins his band of Wildlings with the Night's Watch in A Dance With Dragons, giving over one-hundred hostages to them along with all their valuables in exchange for passage through the Wall, while also agreeing to help man the castles along the Wall to fight against the Others.
- Especially You: Twice in A Storm of Swords when Mance tells other wildlings to leave so he can talk privately with Jon Snow, Tormund asks, "Even me?" and Mance replies "Particularly you." He takes it in good humor both times.
- Foil: To Rattleshirt.
- Friendly Enemy: He is one of the only Wildlings to never threaten Jon Snow, physically or otherwise, and we never see him actually do violence. Even when they meet as enemies at the end of A Storm of Swords to parley the wildlings's surrender, he just seems disappointed in Jon rather than betrayed and jokes around with him.
- I Have Many Names: The appendices list eight separate titles/nicknames he has.
- Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!: Tormund, Mead-king of Ruddy Hall, called Giantsbane, Tall-talker, Horn-blower, and Breaker of Ice, also Thunderfist, Husband to Bears, Speaker to Gods, and Father of Hosts.
- The Lancer: He becomes one to Jon after the latter has sent all of his closest collaborators and followers away.
- Large Ham: By the Old Gods and the New is he ever. He came up with most the titles above himself, and is usually either found laughing loudly, telling an extremely exaggerated story about his past, or discussing his member.
- Manly Tears: When telling Jon of the deaths of Torwynd and Dormund.
- Mercy Kill: One of his sons, Torwynd the Tame, died of exposure a after the Wildling army was defeated at the Wall, and rose as a Wight. Tormund had to put him down himself and was absolutely heartbroken over it.Tormund: Had to see to him m'self. That was hard, Jon. He wasn't much of a man, truth be told, but he'd been me little boy once, and I loved him.
- The Munchausen: A well-natured and comedic example. He loves telling ribald tall tales of his own exploits.
- Nice Guy: He might actually be among the nicest characters in the series, having a good sense of humor and being quite friendly to everyone.
- Papa Wolf: He is fiercely protective of all his children, and the death of two of his sons hits him very hard.
- Shrouded in Myth: He tells Jon Snow some of the stories that are circulating about himself, and admits to some of the exaggerations.
- Worthy Opponent: Jon Snow has a great deal of respect for Tormund, and the feeling is quite mutual.
- "You’re mine. Mine, as I'm yours. And if we die, we die. All men must die, Jon Snow. But first we'll live."
- Accidental Marriage: Or what passes for marriage in wildling society anyway — when Jon captures her and refuses to kill her, she takes this to mean he wants her, because for a wildling woman to stay with a man he has to capture her first.
- Action Girl/Dark Action Girl: Depending on how one views the widlings.
- Archer Archetype: Her preferred weapon is a bow.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Jon, which he eventually succumbs to.
- Catch Phrase: Directed at Jon when he demonstrates a lack of knowledge about the wildings or says something she considers naive.Ygritte: You know nothing, Jon Snow.
- Character Death: Killed by an arrow during the wildling attack on Castle Black.
- Dating Catwoman: Jon starts sleeping with her while undercover among the wildlings.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Jon finds her with an arrow in her chest and holds her as she dies.
- Face Death with Dignity: When she believes Jon is about to execute her when they first meet she asks only that he does it clean and burns her body afterwards.
- Famous Last Words: Told to Jon as she dies.Ygritte: Oh. You know nothing, Jon Snow.
- Fiery Redhead: The wildlings describe people with red hair as being "kissed by fire"; this provides an excellent description of Ygritte's personality.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Despite his angst about breaking his vows, it's clear that Jon genuinely has feelings for her.
- If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: Twisted. "If you're really a wildling, fuck me."
- The Immodest Orgasm: Her reaction to "The Lord's Kiss".
- Like Brother and Sister: With Longspear Ryk, who she grew up with.
- Only One Name: Like most of the Wildlings she has no House name.
- Proud Warrior Race Gal: Quite proud to be a wildling and a spearwife.
- Uptight Loves Wild: Jon falls for her partly because of how carefree she is.
- When She Smiles: Jon occasionally notes several major flaws in Ygritte's appearance and then comments that when she smiles they are much less noticeable.
- Wild Hair: To the point where Jon is tempted to ask "if she only brushed it at the changing of the seasons".
The Lord O'Bones
The Lord O'Bones
- "To crows I be the Lord O'Bones."
- Asshole Victim: Melisandre couldn't have picked a more deserving person to burn in place of Mance.
- Badass in Distress: He is captured at the Bridge of Skulls during the wildling assault on the Wall.
- The Brute: He's good for little except fighting.
- Character Death: Melisandre burns him instead of Mance, while he's concealed by a glamour to make him look like Mance.
- Cool Mask: His helm is made from a giant's skull and covers most of his head.
- Demoted to Dragon: He was once an independent war leader before being defeated by Mance and becoming one of his subordinates.
- Dirty Coward: Rattleshirt's a competent enough fighter, but a coward at heart. His own group mocks him for being too afraid to fight Qhorin Halfhand.
- Enemy Mine: With most of the wildlings, but in particular with Harma Dogshead, as the two of them warred against each other once.
- I Have Many Names: Most of them derogatory. The Lord O'Bones, Rattleshirt, Bag O'Bones...
- Jerkass Has a Point: Though a cruel and malicious character, he isn't wrong when he questions Jon's loyalty to the Wildlings or when he continues to be suspicious of him.
- Known Only by Their Nickname: Always referred to as Rattleshirt or The Lord O'Bones, and his real name is never stated.
- The Neidermeyer: Longspear Ryk and Ygritte come to see him as one and leave his group.
- Obviously Evil: What can you expect from a man who calls himself "Lord O' Bones"?
- Small Name, Big Ego: Deliberately invoked.
- Skeletons in the Coat Closet: He clothes himself in the bones of his enemies.
- Villainous Widow's Peak: Under his skull helmet.
- "Once a horse is broken to the saddle, any man can mount him. Once a beast’s been joined to a man, any skinchanger can slip inside and ride him."
- Awesome McCool Name: He was originally named "Lump", and deliberately chose the name Varamyr to be more impressive (not difficult), and as he added additional "skins" (animals he'd skinchange into), he changed his sobriquet accordingly.
- The Bad Guy Wins: His backstory shows him becoming so powerful that dozens of villages paid him homage. The story positions him as the typical villain to these people who every so often produce a hero to slay him to save their women from his sexual advances. But in his story, he always defeated the heroes who challenged him and continued keeping the villages and their women inthrall.
- The Beastmaster: He is a warg who can wear the skins of six different animals at one point.
- Bears Are Bad News: One of his beasts is a huge snow bear (polar bear)
- Bi the Way/Bestiality Is Depraved: Sometimes wargs into the female wolf of the pack he controls while she's being mounted. Yeah...
- Body Surf: Mainly with animals, including to deprive other skinchangers of their "second life" in their animal hosts, but as a last ditch effort, he tries to save himself by taking over a Wilding woman.
- Bond Creatures: Yes-no: he has a number of creatures he regularly uses for skinchanging at any one time and is always looking to expand the collection, if possible. The thing is... he's not particularly close to them in the way you'd quite expect, considering the other skinchangers' experiences we get to know much about. And, certainly not in the way that the Stark wargs are close to their direwolves.
- The Dreaded: He was this to some groups of Wildlings before he joined with Mance. They feared him so much that they paid him homage and even gave him sexual favors.
- Evil Counterpart: Before Varamyr all we'd seen are the 'good' Stark wargs, so the oft-mentioned prejudice against skinchangers seems unreasonable. Varamyr shows this belief is not without justification.
- Evil Sorcerer: He uses his magic to terrorize other Wildlings and even force women to have sex with him.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: He started as a weak and unwanted child, but once he discovered his powers, he became powerful and influential and widely feared.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: One he brought up on his own. Most Wargs will live on through their bonded animal after death (at least until the animal's death), and Varamyr took his mentor's wolf by force and dooming him to die a natural death.
- Mr. Exposition: His chapter includes the "Rules of Warging" that he learned from his master. Interestingly, Bran Stark unknowingly breaks more rules and goes farther than even Varamyr was willing to.
- Panthera Awesome: He also controls a shadowcat.
- Savage Wolves: He controls a small pack of three wolves
- Squishy Wizard: He's not physically imposing, but is powerful and dangerous because he mentally controls animals including three wolves, a shadowcat, and a gigantic snow bear.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Wargs into a shadowcat to force women to come to him. This deconstructs Ygritte's justification of Best Her to Bed Her — you can't cut the throat of a man who you know will only Body Surf into another creature and tear you to pieces. Or worse, take over your own body.
- Unfortunate Names: While his name at the start of the story is pretty cool, it makes you wonder what his name would be when he only had four skins.
- Villain Protagonist: Varamyr's story is that of the traditional fantasy underdog character who discovers that they have impressive magical powers, with the twist that Varamyr spends his entire life using his to terrorize others and fulfill his selfish desires.
Styr, the Magnar of Thenn
Styr, the Magnar of Thenn
One of Mance Rayder's lieutenants, he's the leader of the Thenn, a people that live in a valley way beyond the Haunted Forest and are probably the purest descendants of the First Men. Unlike the rest of the Free Folk, the Thenns do have laws and rulers, and know how to forge bronze.
- Actually, That's My Assistant: When Jon is first brought before the wildling leaders, he mistakes Styr for Mance and calls him "Your Grace", which annoys Styr and amuses Tormund.
- A God I Am: The Thenn believe their leader to be a god.
- Bald of Awesome/Bald of Evil: He is completely bald.
- BFS: Wields a two-handed greatsword.
- Character Death: He is killed during the Wildling raid against Castle Black, falling prey to a fire trap that Donel Noye set up on the staircase up the Wall. He and several of his men are crushed to death under debris and pieces of the Wall when the platform they are on collapses due to the flames.
- Co-Dragons: With Tormund to Mance.
- Ear Ache: He lacks both ears, but Jon is unable to tell if it is from frostbite or battle wounds. He can still hear just fine though.
- Gray Eyes: Of the cold, strong-willed type.
- Lean and Mean: He is very tall and lean and among the most vicious and feared wildling leaders.
- The Quiet One: He does not speak much, due to speaking less of the Common Tongue than other Wildling leaders.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: He is among the most dangerous and severe Wildling commanders.
- Red Right Hand: He has no ears.
- Undying Loyalty: From his men.
A widely feared raider who hates dogs. She has one killed every fortnight and its head serves as her banner.
- Character Death: Killed by Stannis' forces at the battle at the Wall.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Her whole thing with making a banner out of a dogshead is never really explained. She also keeps pigs as pets and may have fed people to them.
- Dark Action Girl: She is a fierce warrior and member of Mance's inner circle, and takes command of his vanguard when the Wildling army marches on the wall.
- Decapitation Presentation: After she is killed, Stannis' forces put her head on a spike, mocking the way she put dog heads on spikes.
- The Dreaded: She is widely feared among the Night's Watch. Eddison Tollett mentions having nightmares in which she fed him to her pigs.
- Enemy Mine: She never liked Mance, but was forced to ally with him when he became King Beyond the Wall to escape the Others. She also warred with Rattleshirt at one point but now has to fight side-by-side with him.
- Fat Bastard: Harma's described as an ugly, slabsided woman.
- In-Series Nickname: Harma "Dogshead", which came about from her habit of killing and mounting dog heads on spears for her banner.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Not exactly the sort of nickname that inspires a desire to talk with her.
JarlA minor wildling leader and lover of Val.
- Badass: Despite being only twenty, Jarl is an experienced raider, having climbed over the Wall numerous times since he was twelve and raiding with the likes of the Weeper and Alfyn Crowkiller before gaining his own band of raiders.
- Butt Monkey: He isn't treated very well by the other wildling leaders, who think he has his position due to his relationship with Val.
- Character Death: Falls to his death when the section of the Wall his group is climbing cracks and collapses.
- The Leader: He commands a small band of about twenty wildlings.
- Mauve Shirt
- Pitbull Dates Puppy: The whole reason he's not respected within the Wildlings is because they consider him Val's bitch. Though Val does get upset, she isn't particularly touched when he dies, giving credence to the rumors.
A feared raider with a history of killing members of the Night's Watch.
- Character Death: Killed by Qhorin Halfhand and his rangers while scouting the paths to the Wall.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: He is among the most feared Wildling raiders, and he gets killed before ever appearing in a small skirmish between scouting parties.
- In-Series Nickname: Alfyn "Crowkiller", "crows" being how the Wildlings refer to the members of the Watch.
- Posthumous Character: He gets killed by Qhorin before he appears in the series.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: One does not get the nickname "Crowkiller" by being a pushover.
- Really Gets Around: According to Tormund, Alfyn had numerous children.Tormund: Alfyn's member was a wee thing, even smaller than yours, but he was never shy with where he stuck it. Had a son in every village, that one.
The Weeping Man
- "All the Weeper knows is rape and murder."—Othell Yarwyck
- Blond Guys Are Evil
- Dragon Ascendant: He is one of the wildling leaders who take command of a large group after Mance is captured, and unlike Tormund, he continues the war against the Night's Watch.
- The Dreaded: He is feared by the Night's Watch and the Northern mountain clans for his raids, which are often very deadly and involve many women being kidnapped and raped.
- Eye Scream: His calling card is removing eyes from faces and leaving the heads for the world to see.
- Known Only by Their Nickname: The Weeper, or the Weeping Man, nicknamed for his constant epiphora (watery eyes).
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast
- Sinister Scythe: His Weapon of Choice.
A member of Rattleshirt's group that hangs around with Ygritte and Jon Snow. He later joins Tormund's group.
- Biggus Dickus: According to Tormund, there's a reason they call him Longspear even though he doesn't carry a spear.
- Ear Ache: When he stole Munda to express his interest in her, she nearly bit off half of one of his ears.
- Happily Married: He marries Torumund's daughter Munda, and both are extremely happy with the relationship according to Tormund.
- Knight Templar Big Brother: Not really Ygritte's brother but she thinks of him as such, and when a lover came calling for her, Ryk broke his arm.
- Like Brother and Sister: He and Ygritte grew up together in the same village and see each other as siblings.
- Odd Friendship: Along with Ygritte, he takes a shine to Jon Snow, to the point where he ditched Rattleshirt's group for Tormund's when Jon was ordered to do the same.
- They Call Him Sword: Not because he fights with a spear though.Tormund: He don’t fight with no spear, you know. Never has. So where do you think he got that name? Har!
Gerrick KingsbloodA wildling raider that boasts descent from Raymun Redbeard, a legendary King-Beyond-the-Wall. He actually descends from Raymun's younger brother, who fled the battle in which his brother was killed.
- Arranged Marriage: He and Queen Selyse arrange the marriages of his three daughters to Ser Axell Florent, Ser Brus Buckler and Ser Malegorn of Redpool.
- He Cleans Up Nicely: Jon notes that in green velvet, ermine cloak and trimmed beard Gerrick passes for a southron lord.
- I Have Your Son: His eldest son is one of the hostages taken by the Watch to keep the Free Folk chieftains and raiders in line.
- In-Series Nickname: Gerrick "Kingsblood".
- Small Name, Big Ego: None of the Wildlings believe his boasts of descending from Raymun Redbeard but he insists on it anyway.
- Too Dumb to Live: When you're hanging around the same general location as a fire sorceress with a known habit of burning people with "king's blood" you probably shouldn't be running your mouth about being descended from a king.
The EagleA wildling warg killed by Jon, he managed to send his consciousness into his eagle before dying.
- Familiar: He's bonded with a large eagle.
- In-Series Nickname: Orell the Eagle.
- Revenge: He is, naturally, very pissed that Jon killed him and tries to take revenge by clawing his eyes out. Orell does not succeed, but he does give Jon some pretty nasty facial scars.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: He dies seconds after being introduced, but sticks around for a bit as a bird.
Ygon OldfatherAn aged wildling chieftain commanding a clan formed by his own sons and grandsons. He has eighteen wives.
- Badass Grandpa: He is an old man and significant leader in the Wildling army.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: Half of his wives were stolen in raids.
- In-Series Nickname: Ygon Oldfather.
- Polyamory/Marry Them All: He has eighteen wives.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: He's kind of a Wildling Walder Frey, sans the jerkassery and pettiness.
- Really Gets Around: Again, eighteen wives.
ShieldbreakerSoren Shieldbreaker is a wildling leader and a famed warrior.
- An Axe to Grind: His weapon of choice.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Shieldbreaker doesn't sound promising.
- I Have Your Son: His son is one of the hostages taken by the Watch to keep the Free Folk chieftains and raiders in line.
- In-Series Nickname: Soren "Shieldbreaker".
- You Are in Command Now: He's given command of Stoneshield, one of the empty castles of the Wall.
Morna White MaskA warrior witch, raider and clan leader. She has at least one son.
- Action Girl: She is a warrior and a raider.
- Cool Mask: Made of weirwood.
- I Have Your Son: Her son is one of the hostages taken by the Watch to keep the Free Folk chieftains and raiders in line.
- In-Series Nickname: Morna White Mask, because she wears a mask made of weirwood.
- Magic Warrior: She's known as a witch as well as a warrior.
- You Are in Command Now: She's given command of Queensgate, one of the empty castles of the Wall.
The BoarA wildling warg and one of Tormund's rearguard that crosses the Wall after the treaty between Jon Snow and Tormund. He keeps a monstrously large boar.
Rowan, Holly, Squirrel, Willow Witch-Eye, Frenya, MyrtleSix spearwives that join Abel the Bard aka Mance Rayder infiltrate Winterfell to rescue Arya Stark, ignorant it is not Arya but Jeyne Poole.
- Action Girl/Amazon Brigade: All of them are spearwives, female warriors of the Free Folk.
- A Fate Worse Than Death: According to the letter Jon Snow recieves, those who survived Theon and Jeyne's escape have been flayed alive by Ramsay Bolton.
- Annoying Arrows: Played with. Holly is hit with two arrows that cause her to fall off Winterfell's walls. She's most likely dead, though it's not clear whether it's from the arrows or the fall.
- Berserk Button: Rowan is furious when Theon says "Winter is coming" due to his betrayal of House Stark.
- Body Double: Squirrel is switched out for "Arya" during the escape plan.
- Camp Follower: They pretend to be this. "Washerwomen" is a polite way of not calling them camp followers - which is also a polite way not to call them "whores".
- Females Are More Innocent: The Northmen belief in this helps them not be suspected of the murders at Winterfell of a Ryswell groom, Aenys Frey's squire, a Flint crossbowman, Yellow Dick, and Little Walder Frey (maybe).
- Heroic Seductress: Some of them take on this role during their mission to Winterfell
- Honey Trap: Some of them seduce and murder men-at-arms at Winterfell to sow dissension within the castle. Rowan does it to Yellow Dick, one of the Bastard's Boys.
- The Lancer: Rowan to Abel. She leads the team when he's not around to.
- Meaningful Name: Squirrel is so-named for her superb talent for climbing.
- Never Mess with Granny: Myrtle has grey hair and poses as Abel's mother. She's still a pretty good warrior.
- Not Me This Time: When Theon accuses them of murdering Little Walder Frey, Rowan repeatedly denies it. Since they aren't the only ones in Winterfell who might have wanted the boy dead, it is ambiguous as to whether or not they're really responsible.
- Oh Crap!: Holly becomes hysterical when she realizes that Frenya, who's busy fighting guardsmen, has the rope she, Theon, and "Arya" need to climb down the walls in time.
- Stout Strength: Frenya is described as having a thick waist, but she's as competent as the others.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: They don't really get along with Theon, whom they need to rescue "Arya".
CrasterA wildling who doesn't work with the rest or join Mance's army. Craster lives in his own area with his, ahem, family, and will offer shelter to wildling or Night's Watch alike, provided there's something to benefit him. Widely known for marrying and impregnating his daughters.
- Abusive Parents: Marries and rapes his daughters and sacrifices his sons to the Others.
- Asshole Victim: Although the Night's Watch mutineers who kill him are pretty vile themselves, Craster definitely deserved to be killed.
- Bastard Bastard: He's the bastard son of a Night's Watch ranger and a wildling woman from Whitetree. He's also a metaphorical "bastard".
- Berserk Button: Being called a bastard or a niggard will send him into a rage.
- Big Screwed-Up Family: With a patriach like him, that's an understatement.
- Deal With The Others: Sacrifices his sons to the Others, so they don't come after him and his wives.
- Ear Ache: Lost one of his ears to frostbite.
- Evil Old Folks: The old man rapes his daughters and sacrifices his sons.
- Human Sacrifice: He offers his sons up to the Others; this evidently pacifies them enough to leave him and his daughters alone.
- I Work Alone: Received an offer to join Mance's cause. He sent back the messenger without his tongue.
- Ineffectual Loner: Averted; he even manages to keep the Others off his back.
- Insistent Terminology: His house, barely fortified enough to be called a fort, is called a "keep", like a stone citadel in a castle.
- Lesser of Two Evils: The Night's Watch consider working with him to be largely this. His hospitality has saved the lives of countless rangers, so it would be far worse to kill him. Especially since there are no laws north of the Wall; what he's doing may be reprehensible, but in no way is it illegal.
- Parental Incest: Has a couple dozen daughters, who he marries. And if the kids born from them turn out to be daughters, once they grow up he marries them too.
- The Resenter: He resents being a bastard.
- Slashed Throat: When several members of the Night's Watch mutiny at his keep, Craster's throat is slit open by Dirk.
- Team Switzerland: Does not choose sides between the Night's Watch or the wildlings... or even the Others.
- Token Evil Teammate: For the Night's Watch, who very reluctantly work with Craster because he is willing to offer shelter to any rangers who pass by his keep.
- Wife Husbandry: He raises his daughters to be his wives. And so on...
GillyOne of Craster's wives/daughters, Samwell Tarly falls for her and helps her and her son escape Craster when the Night's Watch retreat back to the Wall after the Great Ranging.
- Adult Fear: Being forced to give up her child and travel far away from him. Despite it being to save the life of another one.
- Animal Motifs: She's compared to a doe.
- Brown Eyes: Representing her common origin and trustworthy nature.
- Love Interest: For Sam. He does his best to keep to his vows, but eventually sleeps with her while travelling on a boat to Oldtown.
- Parental Incest: She is forced to become one of her father's wives.
- Sex for Solace: She and Sam first have sex after Aemon dies.
- The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Though Craster isn't much to write home about, she is described as attractive.
The Abomination, The Little MonsterThe youngest child of Craster, born to his daughter-wife Gilly. He is currently at Castle Black being posed as the son of Mance Rayder.
- No Name Given: Like all wildling babies, he won't be named until he's at least two years old.
- Protectorate: Sam promised to protect him from the time Gilly was still pregnant, and so far has carried out his promise. Though he can't do that anymore since he's in Oldtown and the boy remains at the Wall.
- Sole Survivor: The only son that Craster didn't sacrifice to the Others, due to Craster dying before he had the chance.
- Switched at Birth: He's presented as Mance's son, while Mance's actual son is taken south by Gilly and Sam.
Raymun RedbeardA King-Beyond-the-Wall from the time of Lord William Stark.
The Red Raven
The Red RavenThe younger brother of Raymun Redbeard. He fled the Battle of Long Lake, and became known for his cowardice. Gerrick Kingsblood descends from him.
- Dirty Coward: He ran away from the Battle of Long Lake.
- Famous Ancestor: A rather infamous one.
- In-Series Nickname: The Red Raven, "Red" for his hair color and "Raven" because the bard that composed a song about him needed a word that rhymed with "Craven".
- Only Known by Their Nickname: He is always referred to as Red Raven.