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Wildlings a.k.a. The Free Folk
"I know your people are brave, no one denies that. Six times in the last thousand years, a King-beyond-the-Wall has attacked the kingdoms. Six times they failed. You don't have the discipline. You don't have the training. Your army is no army. You don't know how to fight together."Tribes that live beyond The Wall. They often raid the North for resources and are bitter enemies of the Night's Watch.
— Jon Snow
- The Alliance: Under Mance Rayder, who has managed to unite dozens of tribes and chieftains under his leadership.
- Arch-Enemy: The Night's Watch and the Wildlings have been locking horns for generations.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: The Free Folk only bow down to strength, and only figuratively. Their social order is based on fighting prowess.
- Badass Native: They endure a lot of hardships and are brave fighters, even if their discipline and cohesion are lacking. The giants in particular are a race of badasses.
- Barbarian Tribe: Or tribes, actually.
- Born Unlucky: Their chronic misfortunes originate from their ancestors living on the wrong side of the Wall when it was constructed eight thousand years ago.
- Butt Monkey: Everybody hates the Cave People.
- Did Not Think This Through: As Jon points out, despite being a Badass Army united under Mance Rayder, it's clear that the individual Wildlings are only out for themselves and lack any form of organisation or discipline to be truly effective as a fighting force. While even the children in the North grow up hearing the names, dates, and locations of previous failed Wildling invasions, Wildlings like Ygritte don't appear to be aware of any of them, so they'll keep making the same mistakes! Some Wildlings also display signs of being more bloodthirsty than pragmatic, which is a serious problem when you're trying to pull off a stealth attack.
- Dying Race: After the White Walker attack at their last place of refuge Hardhome, the entire Wildling population beyond the Wall has been reduced to a few thousand at most and the survivors have still not found safety.
- Due to the Dead: They do not say prayers for their fallen dead, but they do make sure to burn them.
- Elective Monarchy: Ygritte emphasizes that, even if Mance is king, the Wildlings chose him, and he has no right to be king except at the Wildlings' sufferance.
- Everyone Has Standards: Tormund's band of Wildlings are fully prepared to Rape, Pillage, and Burn their enemies, but even they are disturbed and disgusted by the Thenns' fondness for cannibalism.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: In principle of the Picts and perhaps the more northerly Caledonians. However, their language and naming conventions, general appearance (most of them are portrayed by Scandinavian or Slavic actors), belief that leadership is earned rather than inherited, use of elective monarchy and apparent proto-democracy, tribal make-up, and emphasis on glory and death in battle brings to mind the Vikings. Their architectural style is also quite Norse or Germanic.
- Gender Is No Object: Wildling men and women alike take part in raiding parties.
- Godzilla Threshold: The return of the White Walkers and an expected very long Winter fast approaching, convinces the various Wildling factions to band together under Mance Rayder and flee South as a unified force.
- Grim Up North: The lands north of the Wall aren't called the Lands of Always Winter for nothing.
- Honor Before Reason: They refuse to bow to Stannis and fight under his banner, before or after he has Mance executed, despite him giving them literally everything they wanted and needed: passage through the Wall and land to settle. This is a departure from the books, where the sheer desperation of their situation means nine of ten Wildlings bend the knee, and a significant portion even coverts to the faith of R'hllor, at least nominally, and their absence from his army is due to Jon pointing out how bad it would look to the Northern nobility whose favor Stannis needs.
- The Horde: Considered such by the people of the Seven Kingdoms.
- Insistent Terminology: They consider themselves real Northerners and regard people down south of the Wall, including the land other Westerosi consider "The North" to be southerners; much to the annoyance of Jon Snow and even little Rickon, who spouts that "We are not Southerners" when Osha, an ex-Wildling, brings it up.
- Invading Refugees: Wildings have raided the Seven Kingdoms as long as anyone can remember but at the start of the series, 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.
- I Owe You My Life: They have shades of this to Jon Snow, most prominently in Tormund, as it was because of him that they're merely dwindling as opposed to extinct. A host of them storms Castle Black to avenge him, and they form the majority of the Stark army that marches to reclaim Winterfell.
- Leeroy Jenkins: As Jon points out, their tendency to charge in without thinking is why they've never managed to successfully invade the North.
- Moral Myopia: The Wildlings claim the people of the Seven Kingdoms "stole" their land and invasions are attempts to get it back. Except Wildling culture dictates you only keep what you can take and defend. Since the Wildlings cannot take land south of the Wall, by their own culture they have no right to it and it is not stealing.
- Nicknaming the Enemy: They refer to The Night's Watch as "Crows", and Southerners in general as "Kneelers".
- Not So Different: Like many Northerners, 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 emphasised by Wildlings and Jon Snow.
- They also have similarities with the Iron Born. Their sentiment that you can only keep what you can take and defend? Not too different from paying the Iron Price. Both people were more or less secluded descendants of the First Men, but the Iron Born lived on tree-less islands and turned to a religion based around the sea, while the Wildlings had weirwood trees and thus kept to the Old Gods of the Forest.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Some Wildlings are only ever referred to by their nickname, such as "the Lord of Bones".
- Only One Name: Wildlings don't have surnames, though some have adopted sobriquets that serve as one.
- Phrase Catcher: If some other Wildling is about to voice his or her opinion about Thenns, it tends to be: "I fucking hate Thenns".
- Pride: They see themselves as "free" and have contempt for the customs south of the Wall.
- Proud Warrior Race: Not terribly disciplined, though, which is why their invasions have all failed (along with the giant wall of ice).
- The Remnant: By the end of Season 6, even more so than previous seasons. Due to their choice to stand behind Jon Snow as his army in the Battle of the Bastards, they have been whittled down further by a few hundred more. Surprisingly, their collective position was actually improved by this. Due to their service and sacrifice, they are now under the banner and protection of Jon Snow's authority as the new King in the North.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork / Enemy Mine: Mance Rayder managed to unite the various Wildling clans by pointing out that despite their complete hatred for each other, they should fear the White Walkers more.
- We ARE Struggling Together: Used to be the case before Mance Rayder unified all the tribes, and even under his leadership, they are a very loose coalition on the brink of infighting. It is said that there are about 90 different clans in the current generation, and the costume department stated that they designed six broad sub-categories for the TV version based on how they dress. These appear to be:
- 1 — The main Wildlings from the Haunted Forest, who are the majority of their population (Mance, Tormund, Ygritte, etc.)
- 2 — The Thenns — fierce warriors who have their own copper axes and basic copper disc armor, and are cannibals (a combination of the book-Thenns and book-Ice River Clans).
- 3 — The Frozen Shore clans (Karsi's group, they wear a lot of seashells on their coats).
- 4 — The Hornfoots (the Lord of Bones's group; mountain tribes who decorate themselves with animal bones because they don't have seashells).
- 5 — The Cave People (use face paint as described in the novels; briefly visible in council scenes).
- 6 — The Giants (they just wrap themselves in odds and ends like a mummy).
- Wild Hair: As rather traditional barbarians, none of them are particularly well-groomed.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Most Westerosi and the Night's Watch regard the Wildlings as raiding marauders who pillage and plunder the lands beyond the wall and are not content to remain on the other side, practicing a less civilized way of life. The Wildlings, however, feel that they are oppressed and unjustly forced to live on the other side of a Wall and that their violent raids are their only option to flee the White Walkers, since the Watch will never simply let them through.
Mance Rayder, the King-Beyond-the-Wall
Played By: Ciarán Hinds
"Stand up, boy. We don't kneel for anyone beyond the Wall."A former Night's Watchman that deserted and went to live among the Wildlings. He is rumored to have unified them in a single army and adopted the title "King Beyond the Wall" for himself.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Inverted for once; Mance in the books is something of The Casanova. His television self is by no means ugly, but does not look the part nor act it. Then again, another point about Mance in the books is that while he looks pleasant — in the sense that his face isn't covered in distinctive battle-scars or major deformities — he also has a very average, unassuming appearance. This plays up the point that he is Modest Royalty (see below).
- Anti-Hero: Portrayed as both this and Anti-Villain. He's a deserter and the leader of an invading army, but his goals and personality are ultimately heroic. He's taking the Wildlings south to save them from the threat of the White Walkers. From the books...
- Asskicking Equals Authority: How the Wildlings chose him as their King.
- Back for the Dead: He returns at the end of Season 4, only to be killed in the Season 5 premiere.
- Badass In Charge: Unites every single Wildling clan, no mean feat by a long shot.
- Badass Boast: See quote.
- Big Bad: To the Night's Watch for the first four seasons, as the leader of the Wildlings planning to march on the Wall.
- Brutal Honesty: How he became King-Beyond-the-Wall:Mance: I told them we were all going to die, if we didn't get south. Because that's the truth.
- The Bus Came Back: He makes a return in Season 4 ...By the final episode.
- Cincinnatus: Specifically, he was elected to lead the Wildlings out of the White Walkers' reach.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Is sentenced to death by burning. Luckily, Jon Snow plants an arrow in his chest before the flames can really do their nastiest work.
- Death by Adaptation: Mance is still alive in the novels. He dies in the Season 5 premiere for refusing to bend the knee to Stannis.From the books...
- Death by Irony: Not sure that's what he meant when he said, "I'm going to light the biggest fire the North has ever seen!"
- The Dreaded: Again, to the Night's Watch.
- Elective Monarchy: Chosen by the Wildlings to lead them.
- Everyone Has Standards:
- Mance is noticeably shocked when Jon informs him the Lord Commander was well aware of Craster giving his sons to the White Walkers. He even accepts this as reason enough for Jon to want to switch sides.
- Mance is also disgusted when he realizes that the only reason Jon came to parley with him during the Battle of Castle Black is so that he can assassinate him — under a flag of truce, and explicitly violating the Guest Right that Mance extended to him (whether Mance knows it or not, this is exactly how Jon's brother Robb was dishonorably killed). This makes Jon pause, long enough for the issue to be rendered moot by the arrival of Stannis's army.
- Face Death with Dignity: He doesn't want to die and knows the way chosen by Stannis is horrible, but he walks to the pyre very graciously.Mance: This was my home for many years... I wish you good fortune in the wars to come.
- Face–Heel Turn: Went from being one of the best Rangers to leading the Wildling hordes.
- Friendly Enemy: He's quite cordial with Jon and is willing to sit down and negotiate with him. They even toast to their fallen comrades together.
- The Ghost: Mentioned all the way back to Season 1, not appearing until 3.
- Going Native: An interesting example where the Native goes Native. According to his actor and the producers, his backstory is much the same as it was in the books: Mance was a Wildling baby that was found and raised by the Night's Watch. However this caused an identity crisis for him over his loyalty to his people the Wildlings or his adopted people the Night's Watch. Eventually, he deserted to join the former.
- Honor Before Reason: Jon thinks this is in play when Mance rejects his offer for survival if he bends the knee to Stannis, but Mance brings up that if he forgoes his honor and kneels to a king, the Free Folk will lose their cohesion and fight each other at his loss of stature, making this not a matter of honor or reason, but both.
- Kill It with Fire: Stannis has him burned at the stake, although Jon gives him a Mercy Kill before he is fully burned.
- King Incognito: The first time he meets Jon Snow. From the books...
- Know When to Fold 'Em: When Stannis attacks the Wildlings in a pincer move, Mance quickly realizes there's no hope of co-ordinating his army in time to mount even a half-capable defence. Their lines were already broken by an enemy they didn't expect, and to prevent unnecessary bloodshed, Mance quickly surrenders.
- Mercy Kill: Jon puts an arrow in his heart as he's being burned at the stake.
- Modest Royalty: The Wildlings don't believe in "blue blood" and have contempt for the protocol used south of the Wall.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Phonetically, his name is another way of saying 'house burglar'.
- The Nondescript: Compared with Tormund Giantsbane or the Lord of Bones, he looks like a regular man.
- The Oath-Breaker: Possibly the most well-known, having broken his vows to the Night's Watch to go and lead the enemy against them.
- Oh, Crap!: He can't hide his terror at learning Stannis intends to burn him to death.
- The Paragon Always Rebels: Was considered one of the best Rangers in the Night's Watch.
- Perma-Stubble: While most of the other Wildlings have beards or thicker facial hair, Mance keeps it stubbled.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: His goal isn't to conquer the South; it's to get his people safe from the White Walkers. He politely explains that even though his army massively outnumbers the dwindling defenders of Castle Black, and he's about to have them surrounded from behind by a larger force he sent to climb an undefended section of the Wall, he'd rather not have to kill the remaining members of the Night's Watch. Instead he offers to spare their lives if they simply let his army pass through the Wall — which, given the circumstances, were relatively reasonable peace terms. Also this is because he is a Good Boss to his own followers: he could steamroll over Castle Black's garrison by sending in wave after wave of attackers — but he doesn't see his followers as expendable, and would prefer it if not even one more of them has to die forcing their passage south.
- Sympathetic P.O.V.: At first, he sounds like a foreboding chieftain who is amassing a cruel horde to ruin the Seven Kingdoms. Once he shows up, he's mostly portrayed as a very sensible man with heroic traits who is trying to save a people who dwells in the wrong side of the Wall.
- Steven Ulysses Perhero: His surname is pronounced just like "raider", fitting for the leader of a Barbarian Tribe. Might not be a straight example of this trope, as it's sort of implied that Mance made up the name "Rayder" for himself, and the nickname eventually stuck to the point that it's treated as a surname.
- It should also be noted that Mance sounds like Manse, a word for home. Making him name mean Home raider.
- We Used to Be Friends: With Qhorin Halfhand.Mance: He was my brother once. Back when he had a whole hand.
- Worthy Opponent: Considers Jeor Mormont this.Jon: You think any of them got away?
Mance: It's not impossible. You don't go far betting against Mormont.
Tormund's War Party
Played By: Kristofer Hivju
"Plenty of little men have tried to put their swords in my heart, and there are plenty of little skeletons buried in the woods."Another chieftain of the Free Folk and Mance Rayder's second in command. He becomes a prominent leader of his people and ally of Jon Snow after Mance's demise.
- Abhorrent Admirer: Brienne is quite put off by his constantly leering at her.
- Actually, That's My Assistant: Jon initially assumes Tormund to be Mance Rayder and bows, calling him "Your Grace." Tormund finds this endlessly amusing.Tormund: Did you hear that? Now all you better kneel every time I fart!
- Adaptational Attractiveness: He's younger and taller than his book counterpart.
- Adaptational Badass: Book Tormund never does any fighting, and none of his titles imply it. Here, Tormund is an absolute monster on the field, singly racking up more onscreen kills during the Battle of Castle Black than most of the other Wildlings combined.
- Adaptational Villainy: To a degree; he's less jovial and more brutal than his book counterpart.
- Affably Evil: Unless you're his enemy, Tormund is incredibly affable, easygoing, and jovial. Even against his enemies, he can be affable, to a certain point.
- Age Lift / Adaptation Dye-Job: His distinctive beard is white in the books.
- Amazon Chaser: He's immediately smitten upon catching sight of Brienne, and silently flirts over dinner. Brienne, not being used to such attention (or at least such attention being sincere), doesn't know what to make of it.
- Annoying Arrows: Takes several during the Battle of the Wall, but keeps fighting.
- Badass Baritone
- Badass Beard: To match his badass credentials, Tormund sports perhaps the most impressive beard on the show.
- Beard of Barbarism: It comes with being a Wildling.
- Bestiality Is Depraved: Toyed with. He boasts of having bedded a she-bear, but Ygritte says everyone knows it never happened. In the books, one of his self-fashioned "titles" is Husband to Bears.
- Beware the Nice Ones: He's fairly affable and takes an immediate shine to Jon Snow, but doesn't hesitate to warn him that if he crosses him or betrays the Wildlings' trust, he will not hesitate to pull Jon's guts out through his throat.
- Boisterous Bruiser: He's an absolute demon in combat, and he knows it.
- Character Tics: Often tilts his head before speaking, as if prefacing his speech with a "well..."
- Co-Dragons: With Styr, to Mance.
- Combat Pragmatist: He leads his army to kill a harmless old man, in the hopes that it will draw the Night's Watch out of their castles to investigate and they'll be easier to defeat.
- Composite Character: The man Jon believes to be Mance in the books is Styr, the Magnar of Thenn, whose first appearance has been pushed back to Season 4. Styr also leads the climbing of the Wall. In the books, Tormund escapes after the assault on Castle Black, having been on the side of the Haunted Forest, but in the series, since he's part of the raid storming, he's captured for questioning instead of Rattleshirt.
- Deadpan Snarker: Tormund has his moments.Tormund: The day I ask my people to fight with the crows, is the day my people cut my guts from my belly and make me eat them.
Tormund: I know that, I saw your pecker. What kind of god would have a pecker that small?
- Defeat Means Friendship: Tormund is one of the Free Folk chieftains Mance had to defeat to become King-Beyond-the-Wall. Also applies with Jon Snow and Davos Seaworth.
- Defiant to the End: Grossly outnumbered, surrounded by crossbowmen, with several arrows sticking out of his body, yet he still refuses to surrender. Then he gets shot in the knee, yet he still tries to slash at Jon. Then he gets taken prisoner and dragged away, yet he still threatens his captors.
- The Dreaded: His performance in the siege of Castle Black seems to make quite an impression, as almost all the Night's Watch mutineers give up the second he returns.
- Enemy Mine: He recognizes that the Wildlings need to ally with the Night's Watch in order to survive against the White Walkers.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Tormund may be a somewhat ruthless wildling raider, but even he is repulsed by the Thenns.Tormund: Thenns. I fucking hate Thenns.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: After being captured he immediently assumes the Nightwatch is going to torture him to death, as that's what Wildlings often do to their prisoners. He seems surprised when Jon Snow tells him he won't be tortured. In fairness he likely also spent his entire life hearing false stories about the Night's Watch that exaggerated their brutality.
- Fiery Redhead: He's a Large Ham eager to fight, with bright red hair.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Jon Snow, Tormund even stands up for Jon when the Wildling clan leaders want him dead.
- Foe-Tossing Charge: Pick a scene with him in the Battle of Castle Black, any scene: he'll be cleaving effortlessly through the Night's Watch's men. Not even Thorne, the most experienced fighter in the wall, can stop him.
- Foil: To Ser Alliser Thorne. Thorne also serves as the second in command in his army and is the best fighter among his men but is a Jerkass and is widely disliked by his men while also making very questionable (to say the least) leadership decisions. But while heavily flawed when it comes down to it he's still trying to protect the South and its inhabitants from the Wildlings. Tormund, on the other hand, is a very effective leader, is generally friendly and well-liked, and has zero issue slaughtering innocents and peasants. The fact they act as foils to one another becomes most obvious when they personally fight each other during the Battle of Castle Black.
- Guttural Growler: Tormund has a deep, growling, rumbling voice.
- Heel–Face Turn: Somewhat, with his Undying Loyalty towards Jon.
- Horny Vikings: Although the Wildlings at large are essentially a Fantasy Counterpart Culture to far northern Native Americans and indigenous Scandinavians, Tormund evokes the more traditional image of a viking: Scandinavian accent, fiery red hair like Thor, colossal beard, and incredible combat prowess.
- Implacable Man: Absolutely nothing can stop him during the attack on Castle Black, and it's only when the Wildlings are fully repulsed that he's captured. Even then, Jon has to put another arrow in him before he stops trying to fight his way out. In "Battle of the Bastards", Tormund gets stabbed by a spearman and takes a vicious beating from the Smalljon, but he never goes down and appears to be fine in the battle's aftermath.
- Karma Houdini: For all his services to Jon, he still got away pretty easily after slaughtering whole villages.
- The Lancer: He effectively becomes one to Jon Snow in Season 6, as he leads the Wildling forces help House Stark in retaking Winterfell. He shares this role with Ser Davos Seaworth, as their most reliable lieutenants.
- Large Ham: Tormund is prone to chewing scenary and making grandiose declarations.
- Lightning Bruiser: Demonstrated at the Battle of Castle Black. For a man who hits like his namesake, he's incredibly quick.
- Machete Mayhem: His blade looks like a big-ass machete.
- Manly Tears: He can barely keep his resolve as he watches Mance being burned at the stake. He also gets choked up when he asks Jon to give Ygritte a proper funeral north of the Wall.
- Mythology Gag: Prior to the attack on Castle Black in Season 4, Tormund starts trying to tell a tall tale his book counterpart is very fond ofFrom the books... . He is almost immediately shot down by Ygritte.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Giantsbane.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Delivers one to the Lord of Bones after the latter threatened to break the peace between the Wildlings and the Night's Watch.
- Odd Friendship: It takes some time, but Tormund, de facto leader of the free folk, forms this with Jon, Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.
- Also with Davos, a southern knight and loyal supporter of King Stannis, who burned Mance, Tormund's own king.
- One-Man Army: Tormund proves himself to be one by singlehandedly racking up more kills during the Battle of Castle Black than most of his comrades combined.
- Perpetual Frowner: Tormund has an often chilling and always penetrating gaze, until he mellows out in later seasons.
- Pet the Dog: When Jon begins fighting the Wildlings, Tormund's first act is to restrain Ygritte, preventing her from participating in the fight and getting herself killed. Notable in that he chose to do this over engaging Jon in combat, despite looking absolutely pissed at his betrayal. On top of that, he goes out of his way to give the old horse breeder the dignified death he wants, spares Ygritte's life after her betrayal, and possibly even lets her go after Jon when he flees. Later, after the Battle of Castle Black, an uncharacteristically somber Tormund reminds Jon that Ygritte honestly, truly loved him when she was alive, before instructing Snow to burn her body in the homeland she loved so much.Tormund: She belongs in the North. The real North. Understand me?
- Promotion to Opening Titles: Starting in Season 4.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: With Mance dead, he becomes the de facto Wildling leader, and he recognizes quickly that an alliance with Jon is for the good of his people.
- Screaming Warrior: In the fray of battle, Tormund mixes his powerful blows with grunts.
- Shipper on Deck: Always smiles when he sees Jon and Ygritte together, and gives Jon relationship and sex advice.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Is really not happy working alongside the Obviously Evil Thenns.
- Took a Level in Kindness: When Jon convinces him to ally with the Night's Watch against the White Walkers, he mellows out. By next season, he's much closer to the jovial boisterous bruiser of the books.
- Undying Loyalty: Tormund is a man who demands steel-forged respect, but those who earn it — as Mance and Jon both have — he will fight through hell and back for them, even involving himself and his people in battles that most definitely are not his.
- Unstoppable Rage: By the end of the Battle of Castle Black, Tormund's fury for his fallen comrades has reached an utterly terrifying fever pitch.Tormund: (to Jon, as he's being dragged off on his orders) I SHOULD HAVE THROWN YOU FROM THE TOP OF THE WALL, BOY!
- Villainous Friendship: Tormund and Ygritte are shown to be fairly close to one another throughout the series. Ygritte is quick to defend him from Styr, and Tormund is quick to help guide her relationship with Jon. This is demonstrated to its fullest in the Season 4 finale: in spite of everything, what remains Tormund's one concern right up until the end, even as he's languishing in one of the Watch's prison cells? That Ygritte receives a proper funeral in the homeland she loved.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: Tormund's accent sounds indeterminately between Scottish and Kristofer Hivju's native Norwegian.
- You Are in Command Now: With Mance gone, Tormund is the closest thing the disparate clans of Free Folk have to a central leader.
Played By: Rose Leslie
"If we die we'll die, but first we'll live."A wildling spearwife (warrior-girl) Jon Snow takes captive in the Frostfangs.
- Action Girl: For the Wildlings. She's their most capable archer.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: While not unattractive, Book!Ygritte is described as having crooked teeth and a pug nose.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Averted. She rejects Orell for Jon (implied not to be the first time she's done so).
- Armor-Piercing Question: When Jon angrily declares that he and his family are of the same blood as the Wildlings and have as much claim to the North as they do, she responds with a simple "Then why are you fightin' us?" Jon is quite surprised by this.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: She starts to become attracted to Jon because he spares her life.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Jon Snow.
- Brief Accent Imitation: Loves to mock Jon by repeating his sentences in a guttural tone modelled after Snow's one.
- Brutal Honesty: When the Halfhand asks her what the Wildlings would do if they captured him, Ygritte informs him he could count himself very fortunate if his death was quick.
- Catch Phrase: "You know nothing, Jon Snow." Becomes a Subverted Catch Phrase when Jon shows her how to do it down south.
- Country Mouse: Having never seen a windmill before, she is completely amazed by it and assumes it is a castle. Jon corrects her that castles are about three times as large.
- Cold Sniper: Already a deadly archer, "Breaker of Chains" demonstrates that Ygritte has no problem with shooting unarmed peasants, remaining unerringly cold and focused throughout the slaughter.
- Culture Clash: With Jon. Despite the two of them having basically the same cultural origin as descendants of the First Men. She regularly mocks — or punctures through — southern customs and conventions.
- Dark Action Girl: In the view of the Night's Watch.
- Dating Catwoman: She's Jon Snow's Catwoman.
- Deadpan Snarker: Extremely so. Every other line out of her mouth is a snappy retort.Ygritte: How old are you, boy?
Jon: I'm a man. Of the Night's Watch.
Ygritte: You're a boy who's never been with a girl before?
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Held by Jon as she dies from being shot with an arrow.
- Due to the Dead: Is given a personal funeral by Jon Snow alone in the forest beyond the Wall, with her body then ceremonially burned.Tormund: She belongs in the North. The real North.
- Everyone Has Standards: After Jon's betrayal she's shown happily butchering villages in the Wildlings' attempts to draw the Night's Watch into the field, but when she finds Gilly and baby Sam hiding in a Molestown brothel, not even knowing that Gilly is a wildling herself, she just tells her to be quiet and leaves.
- Face Death with Dignity: When she believes Jon is about to execute her, she asks only that he does it clean and burns her body afterwards.
- Fallen Hero: Though she was never exactly a "hero", she was shown to be a decent woman with Jon. After his betrayal going into Season 4, she's become much more humorless and cold, even while killing. She still has some moral standards.
- Fiery Redhead: She has bright red hair and is tough as Tormund.
- Go Out with a Smile: Upon being fatally shot in the chest with an arrow, Ygritte leaves Jon with a faint, mocking smile and one last utterance of her Catch Phrase before succumbing to her wounds in his arms. It's still visible on her face even when Jon lights her funeral pyre.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Jon Snow certainly does.
- If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: Pulls a varient of this to test Jon's loyalty: Essentially "If you're really a wildling, fuck me".
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Tormund notes that she has them, indicating that her failure to kill Jon with three arrows was deliberate.
- In the attack on Castle Black, she snipes 8 of the Night Watch archers guarding the gate, all of which had at least partial cover.
- Karmic Death: Killed with a bow and arrow by Olly, the village boy whose parents she killed with a bow and arrow.
- The Lad-ette: Most of the time she comes off manlier than Jon.
- Love Interest: Jon Snow's.
- The Lost Lenore: Becomes this to Jon after her death.
- Men Are the Expendable Gender: Unlike the men she fought beside, she was spared purely because Jon Snow couldn't bring himself to kill a woman — despite her trying to kill him.
- The Modest Orgasm: Amusingly, whilst in the middle of an Ironic Echo of her catchphrase:Ygritte: You know nothing, Jon Sno-Ooh-Oohh!
- Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?: "Did you pull a knife on me during the night?"
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: She thinks of herself and the Wildlings as a proud race of free badasses.
- Secret Keeper: She knows that Jon joined the Wildlings to spy on them for the Watch, but hopes to sway him to her side.
- Sword over Head: Jon can't bring himself to kill her when ordered to. And despite vowing to kill him the entire season, and coldly massacring just about anyone else who gets in her path, Ygritte hesitates at killing Jon when she finally has him dead to rights — only to get an arrow In the Back from a third party.
- The Tease: She has fun with Jon by teasing him relentlessly.
- Uptight Loves Wild: Jon is definitely uptight when he meets her, Ygritte loosens him up.
- Villainous Friendship: Ygritte and Tormund are shown to be fairly close to one another throughout the series. Ygritte is quick to defend him from Styr, and Tormund is quick to help guide her relationship with Jon. This is demonstrated to its fullest in the Season 4 finale: in spite of everything, what remains Tormund's one concern right up until the end, even as he's languishing in one of the Watch's prison cells? That Ygritte receives a proper funeral in the homeland she loved.
- Villainous Respect: In Season 2, after their first meeting, she shows a bit of this to Jon.Ygritte: You're brave. Stupid, but brave.
- Woman Scorned: After Jon chooses his duty over her, she puts three arrows into his back. Though it's later noted that with her archery skills, she easily could have killed him, indicating she still feels something for him. Tormund lampshades it later, when he tells Jon he knew Ygritte loved him from the fervor with which she wanted to kill him.Tormund: Snow, did you love her? She loved you.Jon Snow: She told you?Tormund: [shakes his head and chuckles] All she ever talked about was killing you, that's how I knew.
- Would Not Hurt A Child: She spares Gilly and young Sam's lives because the latter is only a baby.
- You Wouldn't Shoot Me: You know nothing, Jon Snow.
Played By: Mackenzie CrookA Wildling skinchanger (a person who can enter the minds of animals) in service to Mance Rayder.
- All Love Is Unrequited: Declares his feelings for Ygritte, who rejects him.
- Animal Eye Spy: He uses his eagle for this purpose, making him Mance's most valuable scout.
- Arch-Enemy: To Jon Snow while he's undercover with the Wildlings. Orell is frequently antagonistic toward Jon, viewing him as an intruder, dangerous mole and rival for Ygritte's affections. He's right about all of it.
- Ascended Extra: Getting any screentime at all is a larger role than what he has in the books, where he's already dead before Jon infiltrates the wildlings. However, we later learn Jon killed his human body whilst he was mentally inside his eagle, he remained within the eagle and very angry at Jon — a fate that ultimately happens at the third season's end.
- Beard of Evil: He has the usual unshaven look of a Wildling.
- Bilingual Bonus: "Orel" means "Eagle" in several Slavic languages. As of "The Rains of Castamere", he is now permanently stuck inside his eagle partner, thanks to Jon.
- Body Surf: His ability as a warg. He wargs into his eagle at the last second after Jon stabs him.
- Brutal Honesty: He has no illusions that humanity is any different from the animals whose minds he inhabits. "People work together when it suits 'em. They're loyal when it suits 'em. Love each other when it suits 'em. And they kill each other when it suits 'em."
- Butt Monkey: He gets no respect for his nagging suspicion of Jon, despite being completely right the whole time.
- The Cassandra: About Jon's allegiance. Lampshaded by Jon himself.
- Character Death: Orell duels Jon Snow after his allegiance becomes clear; it's a duel that he loses.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Part of the reason he antagonizes Jon is because he has feelings for Ygritte.Orell: I've seen you two whispering in the night, giggling like a pair of girls.
Ygritte: What, you're jealous?
Orell: Of course, I'm jealous. You should be with one of your own.
- Defiant to the End: After Jon fatally stabs him, his consciousness jumps into his eagle. He then attacks Jon and claws at his face.
- Entitled to Have You: Insists that Ygritte should be with him because he's one of her own and "would be good to her" (although he isn't now since she's not with him).
- I Did What I Had to Do: Orell's decision to cut Ygritte and Jon loose on the Wall seems to be a Dirty Coward move at first, and Highborn Jon Snow certainly thinks so. However, Orell not only saved himself but many other groups of Wildlings, and could almost be considered heroic for making the hard choice. They were halfway up a dangerous 700ft climb, had a large chunk of Wall come away from them moments before and wipe out several other groups, coupled with Jon and Ygritte swinging precariously and threatening to pull them all down? You can't really fault him for deciding the most pragmatic thing to do was to cut them loose. When Jon later confronts him over it, Orell points out that Ygritte is fine with it...and she is. Ygritte never shows any animosity towards Orell (at least not for cutting the rope). This suggests that he was being practical rather than cowardly. Orell never shows himself to be a coward in any other respect.
- Emergency Transformation: Body Surfs into his eagle companion seconds before his death to try and kill Jon Snow.
- Hidden Depths: Orell's interest in Ygritte is almost a redeeming feature: when he admits his attraction to her, he's surprisingly eloquent in his depth of feeling. Then, he spoils the moment by lapsing into Crazy Jealous Guy.Ygritte: I've never heard a kind word from your mouth.
Orell: You would if you were mine. I'd tell you that you're beautiful and fierce and wild. I'd be good to you.
- If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: He savvily invokes it with Jon to test his allegiance. Ultimately, Jon doesn't kill the horse breeder.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: With Jon Snow's greatsword, right through the chest.
- Lean and Mean: Of all the Wildlings, he looks the most like he's been living rough with little food.
- Milky White Eyes: When Orell wargs into an animal, his eyes turn pure white.
- The Native Rival: To Jon Snow for Ygritte.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: One of the terms for skinchanger is "warg", or werewolf.
- Properly Paranoid: Concerning Jon's allegiance. Jon even points this out right before he kills him.
- Prophet Eyes: While possessing the mind of his bird.
- The Southpaw: Orell is left-handed.
- Spared By Adaptation: In the books, Orell was one of the wildlings in Ygritte's scouting party and was actually killed by Jon. He dies in a similar manner to his book counterpart in "The Rains of Castamere".
- Taking You with Me: In "The Rains of Castamere", Orell wargs into an eagle after Jon mortally wounds him. He comes close to clawing Jon's eyes out and leaves him with permanent facial scars.
Played By: Yuri Kolokolnikov
"Those your parents? Open your eyes. I'm going to eat them. Do you hear me? I'm going to eat your dead mama, and I'm going to eat your dead papa. Go tell the Crows at Castle Black."The Magnar of Thenn, one of the strongest wildling tribes under Mance's rule.
- Adaptational Villainy: In the books Styr was more of a Proud Warrior Race Guy, instead of a savage cannibal.
- An Axe to Grind: A rather huge one.
- Bald of Evil: The Thenns are all shaved-bald and are one of the nastier tribes of Free Folk.
- The Berserker: In contrast to his Soft-Spoken Sadist ways, in battle he's screaming and howling with wild, powerful axe blows.
- Blood Knight: When swinging his massive axe at the Night's Watch, Styr is wearing a big smile like he's having the time of his life.
- Co-Dragons: He and Tormund are Mance's most prominent lieutenants.
- Creepy Monotone: The few times he bothers to talk, it's in a very deliberate tone that almost sounds like he's speaking a foreign language.
- Deadly Euphemism: When Tormund asks why he came from the south instead of the north, he says he "took a detour" and "got some supper" from one of the villages. The Thenns then pull a human arm out of a bag and begin to roast it.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Styr, like Tormund, was one of the chieftains and leaders Mance had to defeat to unite the Free Folk under his leadership.
- Dies Wide Open: For a moment, it even looks like he's judging Jon. With a hammer sticking out of the top of his head.
- Drop the Hammer: Jon drives a smithing hammer into his skull during the Battle of Castle Black, killing him almost instantly.
- Enemy Mine: With Tormund. They've had their 'differences' and there certainly seems to be some personal animosity between the two, but they work together to assault the Wall.
- Establishing Character Moment: When he first shows up, him and his men strut into the Wildling camp, throw away the meat being cooked over the campfire, and replace it with a human arm. Pretty much every word that comes out of Styr's mouth refers to the meat south of the Wall tasting better and being "nice and fat".
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: His face and head are covered with ritual scars, like those of the rest of Thenns. He's also a really nasty character.
- Guttural Growler: An absolutely terrifying man who, in his first scene, never speaks in anything above a low growl.
- I'm a Humanitarian: His favorite food is crow — as in, the brothers of the Night's Watch, not the birds.
- Large and in Charge: He noticeably towers over Tormund and Ygritte, and his own men.
- Obviously Evil: Heavily scarred, eerily pale, speaks in a deep gravelly voice, and in case that didn't convince you enough, he's also a cannibal.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: In the books he has no ears. The prosthetics needed to emulate this in the show would be too difficult.
- Psycho for Hire: Even scarier than the Lord of Bones.
- Remember the New Guy: He apparently saw Jon Snow during Season 3, but his first appearance (and mention) was in Season 4.
- Token Evil Teammate: Styr might very well be the nastiest Wildling ever introduced on the show. At least Orell and the Lord of Bones aren't cannibals.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: Similarly to Tormund, Styr's accent is somewhere between English and Kolokolnikov's native Russian.
- Would Hit a Girl: Then eat her afterwards.
Played By: Joseph GattA member of the Thenn tribe with the ability to look through the eyes of animals.
- Animal Eye Spy: He uses an owl to spy on the Night's Watch.
- Bald of Evil: Completely bald and an evil Thenn.
- Boom, Headshot: Sam shoots him in the head with a crossbow.
- Canon Foreigner: Although there are a couple of Wargs in Mance's army, a Thenn Warg isn't mentioned in the books as being one of them.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Like all Thenns.
- Milky White Eyes: As is typical for a Warg.
- Ominous Owl: He uses an owl in the same way Orell used his eagle.
Played By: Zahary BaharovA member of the cannibalistic Thenn tribe of wildlings, with a "take no prisoners" attitude.
- An Axe to Grind: He wields an absolutely massive axe as a weapon. It doesn't so much good against a White Walker.
- Agent Scully: After all the stuff the Free Folk have seen, he dismisses the old stories about dragonglass, citing there are also stories about ice spiders as big as hounds.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: He's reanimated and incorporated into the Wight army.
- Badass In Charge: Loboda didn't become the leader of the Thenns through his skills as a public speaker.
- Bald of Evil: Similar to other Thenns, he's bald in addition to being a jerk.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Points for balls, but he lasts all of two seconds against a White Walker.
- Enemy Mine: He's vehemently opposed to siding with Jon Snow, but in the heat of the battle he valiantly teams up with Jon.
- General Ripper: Even in the face of extinction, he views the crows as the true enemy.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: He has the usual Thenn ritual scars.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Like his fellow Thenns, he's a cannibal.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: A White Walker thrusts it's spear into his gut, killing him outright.
- Jerkass: Loboda is a stubborn, dismissive, confrontational and angry fellow.
- Sacrificial Lamb: His death displays how hopeless a one-on-one fight against a Walker is.
- Senseless Sacrifice: He goes up against a White Walker so Jon can get a bag of dragonglass daggers, but the Walker makes short work of Laboda and ends up preventing Jon from recovering the bag.
- Token Evil Teammate: Of the Wildling Elders. Still, he's not as outrageously evil as Styr.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: He's killed in his first appearance.
Played By: Ian WhyteA giant in Mance Rayder's camp. The production team took to calling him "Dongo the Doomed". They only actually made two giant costumes by the end of Season 4 (which are full-body suits), "Dongo" and "Mag the Mighty".
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Sort of. note
- Annoying Arrows: Played with. At his size, this would likely be the case so the Night's Watch archers don't bother and he is taken out with one ballista bolt, an "arrow" by giant standards.
- The Archer: Given his size, each of his "arrows" is a cross between a ballista bolt and a rocket.
- Beast of Battle: Acts as handler for Mag's mammoth.
- Giant Mook: Serves the Wilding's war effort in this capacity.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The Watchers kill him with a ballista bolt.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: To anyone but Jon in the wildling camp.
Mag Mar Tun Doh Weg "Mag the Mighty"
Played By: Neil FingletonThe King of the Giants. Dongo and him attack the outer gate with mammoths during the first day of battle at the Wall.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: As much as the other giant, anyway.
- Annoying Arrows: As with the other giant. Donnel Hill states that they put twenty arrows into him and he just shrugged them off (though it helps that he's wearing many heavy layers of animal hides, which serve as crude but effective armor).
- Beast of Battle: Rides a mammoth.
- Giant Mook: After his companions are killed, he still tries to force the gates to Castle Black by himself, and nearly succeeds.
- Last of His Kind: As explained by Mance Rayder to Jon Snow, in "The Children". He's the last of a bloodline of giants who have been living in Westeros since before any humans lived on the continent, thousands of years ago. A bloodline now extinguished forever.From the Books...
- Mutual Kill: Takes down Grenn and five other brothers while trying to get through the outer gate to Castle Black, but dies along with them.
- The Quiet One: He only growls. He manages to make evident how pissed he is when Dongo is killed, though.
- Super Strength: He lifts the enormous Castle Black gate all by himself. Granted, he has to exert himself with great difficulty, and it takes a few minutes, but it was a case of Villainous Valor (see below).
- Unstoppable Rage: When Dongo is killed, Mag gets pissed enough to lift the Castle Black gate all by himself.
- Villainous Valor: When his giant comrade is slain by a ballista, and the mammoth and its crew are all driven off by the flaming barrels of oil, Mag the Mighty bellows in rage and presses on, slowly managing to lift the outer gate entirely by himself (albeit with great effort). He keeps going even though the defenders are now focusing on him. The Night's Watch fills him with twenty arrows but they barely affect him due to his size. He actually succeeds in getting past the outer gate and into the tunnel to the other side. This is the absolute high water mark of the attack, and he gets further than any of the wildlings from the main army attacking from the north.
Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun "Wun Wun"
Played By: Ian WhyteA wildling Giant who resides in Hardhome.
- Adaptational Personality Change: He's something of having the mind of a child in the books, though definitely a power to fear if angered, and is a bit goofy at times. His show counterpart is The Quiet One, with hints of Tranquil Fury, and his opinion seems to hold sway with the wilding elders.
- The Big Guy: To Jon's army at the Second Battle of Winterfell.
- Big Guy Fatality Syndrome: He is the strongest member in Jon's group and he is the only named character among them to die in the Battle of the Bastards.
- Deadpan Snarker: When Edd is looking at the dragonglass dagger Wun Wun has snatched, he replies "the fuck are you looking at?".
- Death By A Thousand Cuts: In "Battle of the Bastards", he's hit by dozens of arrows and spears, yet powers through long enough to breach the gates at Winterfell. Already on death's door, Ramsay Bolton fires an arrow through his eye to finish him off.
- Fluffy the Terrible: The name "Wun Wun" does not exactly strike terror into men's hearts, but he is a force to be reckoned with.
- Foe-Tossing Charge: He basically stampedes wights throughout the battle of Hardhome.
- Giant Mook: A heroic example.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Already mortally injured, he spends the last of his strength to forcefully open the gates of Winterfell and allow Stark forces inside, sparing them the need for a siege and securing their victory.
- Improvised Weapon: Wun Wun wields a log as a makeshift staff against the wights at Hardhome.
- Last of His Kind: The last living giant to fight among the Wildlings' after the battle of Castle Black, and possibly the last living giant in Westeros after said battle.
- One-Man Army: Wun Wun can take on Wights with far more ease than his human allies, simply stomping on them and throwing them off when they climb onto his back.
- You No Take Candle: According to a lengthy post on his blog, the TV series's staff linguist David J. Peterson explained that this is how giants talk within the Old Tongue itself (Wun Wun is the first giant to have any speaking line, in Season 5's "Hardhome"). Peterson was worried that he'd never have the opportunity to fully develop the Old Tongue in the TV series, but then he realized that George R.R. Martin himself said that the giants don't have the intellectual capacity of the average human; Martin even said that they only speak the Old Tongue "after a fashion". With this in mind, Peterson then thought out that the giants in the TV series speak a sort of pidgin of "real" Old Tongue, with all of the linguistic rules dropped (no definite articles, no verb tenses, no noun agreement, nothing). Wun Wun literally says something like "What fuck you look him/it?" This way, Peterson got to include "Old Tongue" — of a sort — into the TV series, without having to make up a bunch of rules for it now like he did for Dothraki and Valyrian (so if he does later develop it years from now for a prequel project, he won't be beholden to work from years ago).
Other Wildlings chieftains
The Lord of Bones a.k.a. Rattleshirt
Played By: Edward Dogliani & Ross O'Hennessy
"I already have a crow. Gut him!"The leader of the Wildling tribe Ygritte belongs to. His true name is unknown; he calls himself the Lord o' Bones, while the Night's Watch mocks him as Rattleshirt.
- Back for the Dead: After disappearing for almost two seasons, he shows up just to get his skull caved in for insulting Tormund.
- Beard of Barbarism: It's hard to see under his mask, but it's there.
- The Brute: Of the Wildling leadership.
- Cool Mask: Made out of a giant's skull.
- Deadpan Snarker: This exchange.Ygritte: [in reference to Jon Snow] He could have killed me half a dozen times!
Rattleshirt: And now he'll wish he had. Gut him.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: While he was never a major character, his appearance in Season 5 hints at him being something relevant. Tormund makes short work of him.
- Demoted to Dragon: Or demoted to brute. He was the leader of his own tribe, but Mance has since united the tribes. Now, he has a boss to answer to.
- The Faceless: For the whole of Season 2. It's not until the Season 3 premiere when we finally see him take off his skull mask, out of respect when in the presence of Mance Rayder.
- Guttural Growler: Rattleshirt speaks in a rather low, harsh tone.
- Icy Blue Eyes: He has very cold, light blue eyes that are especially prominent when he's wearing his mask.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: He doesn't finish taunting Tormund before he's beaten to death.
- Mook Lieutenant: To Mance Rayder.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Lord 'o Bones doesn't suggest friendship.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Receives one from Tormund for threatening the peace.
- Obviously Evil: Anyone decorating himself with bones isn't likely to be a pleasant guy.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Both the Wildlings and the Night's Watch have nicknames for him, but his actual name is unknown.
- Skeletons in the Coat Closet: He wears femoral bones and tibiae on him, and a necklace of fingerbones. His mask is a giant's skull, and his breastplate is a human pelvis.
- Staff of Authority: With a dog skull on it. May be a little Shout-Out to another character that has been Adapted Out: Harma Dogshead, who decorates her staff... with dog heads.
- Trigger Happy: It takes Ygritte a lot of effort to convince him to not give Jon the chop.
Played By: Birgitte Hjort SørensenThe chieftainess of a wildling clan in Mance Rayder's army.
- Action Mom: She's both a caring mother and a formidable fighter.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: She's reanimated and incorporated into the Wight army.
- Action Girl: She's a skilled and dangerous fighter. She actually does very well against the Wights, and only dies because she froze up at the sight of undead children.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: She does suffer injuries, but as far as Wights go, she gets away mostly intact considering she was mauled by undead children.
- Canon Foreigner: Karsi is a unique character to the show.
- Cute Monster Girl: Karsi was a damn good-looking lady in life, and even as a Wight she's still very pretty, with her Occult Blue Eyes.
- Deadpan Snarker: She certainly has her moments.Loboda: My ancestors would spit on me if I broke bread with a crow.
Karsi: So would mine, but fuck 'em, they're dead.
- Devoured by the Horde: While most of the Wildlings who die at Hardhome are simply stabbed to death, Karsi is mauled by undead children.
- Everyone Has Standards: Much like Tormund, she also fucking hates Thenns.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: She freezes up when she's confronted by child Wights.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: The first Hardhome wildling to join Tormund and Jon Snow's alliance.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Her death is used to make a point of how screwed everyone is.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: She has all the makings of a prominent character, but alas, she is killed in the same episode she is introduced.
- Women Are Wiser: She is apparently the only female clanleader and she is easily the smartest and most reasonable one among them.
- Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Even undead ones.
Played By: Murray McArthurThe chieftain of a wildling clan in Mance Rayder's army.
Played By: Robert Pugh
"I've got no fear of what's out there. When the white cold comes, your swords and cloaks and pretty fires won't help you. Only ones left will be those alright with the gods, the real gods."A unsavory ally of the Night's Watch, Craster is a wildling who lives north of the Wall. He lives in a fortified homestead, grandly called Craster's Keep, along with his daughter-wives. When his daughters get old enough, he marries them and impregnates them with new children. At the time of the War of the Five Kings, he has nineteen wives.
- Abusive Parent: His daughters are his wives; he's not a very good father or husband.
- Ascended Extra: His one scene from A Clash of Kings is developed into an larger storyline.
- Asshole Victim: Karl provokes him into a fight, so that he can kill Craster and then steal his food. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.
- Badass Grandpa: In Season 2, Mormont says Jon's not fit to accompany Qhorin's scouts by pointing out that he got disarmed and beaten bloody by "an old man". In-universe Memetic Badass Qhorin Halfhand immediately calls Craster "a tough old goat", suggesting that there's no shame in being beaten by him.
- Badass Boast: See his page quote above.
- Bald of Evil: More prominent in Season 3.
- Bastard Bastard: He's the bastard son of a Night's Watch ranger and a Wildling woman.
- Beard of Evil: In the third season, when he's grown it out.
- Big, Screwed-Up Family: He reigns over his twisted, incestuous family by sacrificing his own sons while raping his own daughters to breed more daughters for him to rape.
- Cult: Craster's incestuous family seems to be a cult that worships the White Walkers as gods. He calls himself a "godly man" and considers the White Walkers to be the only real gods. Whenever one of his daughter-wives gives birth to a male baby, the birth is treated as a cult ceremony and greeted as "a gift to the gods".
- Deadpan Snarker: Craster is a highly sarcastic and unpleasant man.
- Deal with the Devil: He is completely left alone by the White Walkers, in exchange for his newborn sons. A deal unknowingly made by the Nights Watch. The only reason he isn't ousted from his home is because it provides a vital rest spot for the Rangers. But by allowing Craster to breed they are indirectly inflating the ranks of the White Walkers.
- Evil Is Petty: Despite being neutral and giving food and shelter to the Night's Watch, he gives them as little food supplies as possible, and insists on receiving gratitude.
- Evil Old Folks: He's reached his elder years, and also rapes his daughters and sacrifices his sons.
- Fingerless Gloves: Craster is usually seen wearing these.
- Human Sacrifice: He leaves his male children in the snow outside, as sacrifices to the White Walkers, in exchange for them leaving him alone.
- Icy Blue Eyes: He has a very chilling gaze, which goes well with the environment he's in.
- Insistent Terminology: Everyone south of the Wall is a 'southerner' to him, period. He's also insistent on calling himself a "godly man", which he is, From a Certain Point of View.
- Jerkass: His incestuous, abusive marriages aside, Craster is a sadistic, cruel bully without a single redeeming quality hidden in his vile personality.
- Jerkass Has a Point: While he gives the Night's Watch as little food as possible and wants them gone ASAP, the fact is that he does have a large family to feed, and winter is coming, so while he may be a disgusting person in many, many other ways, Craster's extremely grudging and minimalist hospitality is actually pretty reasonable. Sam tries to point this out when Rast is sowing discontent among the Watch, but is cowed into silence when Rast aggressively asks if he's siding with Craster over his brothers.
- Last of His Kind: Sort of — he is the only Wildling man to be seen for miles around. Everyone but he and his daughter-wives has vanished. Let's just say there is a pretty good reason for it.
- Marry Them All: It's the Craster solution.
- Offing the Offspring: The male children, by sacrificing them to the White Walkers.
- Open Secret: Mormont and probably Benjen already know that Craster kills his sons but he is too valuable to get rid of as an ally. The "giving them to the White Walkers" part might still be a secret, though.
- Parental Incest: Marries his daughters, and then their daughters, and...
- Sacred Hospitality: His habit of giving shelter to the Night's Watch might be just so that they'll tolerate his presence and lifestyle, but his repeated and angry insistence that "I am a godly man" when called out suggests that there might be some sort of code of honour attached to it. When he's insulted in his house, he attacks his guests, but they were deliberately provoking him, making it unclear who violated Sacred Hospitality first.
- Token Evil Teammate: He makes himself valuable to the Night's Watch so they'll leave him alone, but is so despicable that none of them are very happy about it.
- Too Dumb to Live: It's not a good idea to take people under your roof, insult them, give them as little food as possible, and threaten to kill them for a joke, especially when they might not have the same morals and honor their leader has. There's also the fact that Craster pulled a hatchet at Karl, while being surrounded on all sides. Sacred Hospitality includes the host as much as the guest, and he attacked first. Not to mention that the Night's Watch mostly consists of outcasts and convicted criminals — in other words, the last people you want to insult and provoke into a confrontation. Though of course, Craster was fairly drunk at the time.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: His daughters tend to be rather attractive, in sharp contrast to him. Maybe his seed really is strong.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The sons he sacrifices to the White Walkers end up being turned into more White Walkers.
- Would Hit a Girl: He threatens his daughter-wives with this often. Considering the type of person he is, this comes as no surprise.
- Wife Husbandry: His entire way of life is built around marrying his own daughters, and breeding more wives.
Played By: Hannah Murray
"I'm not giving it away. I'm giving it to you. Keep it safe for me, 'til I come back."Craster's daughter, granddaughter, and youngest wife.
— Samwell Tarly
- Action Survivor: Lampshaded by Edd, who tells Sam, following the Wildling raid on Mole's Town, that since she was able to survive not only years living under Craster, the long march to the Wall, and not to mention a White Walker; that she probably survived the aforementioned raid (which she did, unbeknownst to them, thanks to Ygritte of all people). Also, during the attack on the Wall she grabs a lump of meat to beat off any possible attackers, while Janos Slynt pathetically hides in the same room.
- Adult Fear: Knowing you'll have your soon-to-be child taken away from you by an abusive caretaker if it's a boy, or eventually seeing it grow up to endure the same abuse from him you did if it is a girl. Cue frantic third option time.
- Beta Couple: Samwell/Gilly parallel the major couple of Jon Snow and Ygritte — both Jon and Samwell took vows of celibacy when they joined the Watch, yet both ultimately fall into romantic and sexual relationships with a female wildling. The skilled warrior Jon Snow hooks up with the woman warrior/archer Ygritte...while the decidedly non-martial Samwell hooks up with the similarly non-martial Gilly. The TV show even invented a brief moment in which Gilly and Ygritte cross paths during the Sack of Mole's Town (and because Ygritte won't harm a mother and baby, she wordlessly lets Gilly flee).
- Broken Bird: Mostly averted in her case, Sam mentions that despite all the incestuous abuse she's been through, her spirit is not broken probably because she hasn't known anything but life with Craster. She simply had nothing better to compare it with. At one point, she suggests the name "Craster" for her newborn baby, as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
- Determinator: She will deal with strangers, go to strange places and do strange things no matter how hard or weird... all for her child. And, later: just try keeping her away, Sam. Good luck.
- Fish out of Water: Life in Craster's Keep is all she's ever known. Places like the Night Fort, Castle Black and Mole Town are well outside her comfort zone. She's doing her best to adapt, though. At breakneck speed.
- Hidden Depths: She's ignorant on a lot of topics; but, she really is not stupid. She is good at being stealthy with Hyper Awareness in spades (well-honed defence mechanisms, given Craster's personality). Most importantly, she knows her way around northern woods probably as well as most junior Rangers... if not better. And, she has practical knowledge of the White Walkers, thanks to the Keep's pact with them.
- Love Interest: She is Sam Tarly's.
- Mama Bear: Hopeless or not, she was going to take any chance that came her way to deny the White Walkers her little boy for as long as she possibly could. Pact be damned.
- Mistaken for Prostitute: When Sam introduces her to his family, his father later disdainfully says he thought she was a Mole's Town whore.
- Never Learned to Read: Gilly is illiterate, like almost all wildlings. She's amazed that Sam can actually understand "marks on a piece of paper", and thinks he's some sort of wizard. Like Davos, Shireen Baratheon takes it upon herself to teach her upon arriving at the Wall.
- Only One Name: She's actually surprised to learn people have last names South of the Wall (though even the main wildling groups don't use surnames).
- Parental Incest: Her father Craster has been raping his daughter-wives for several generations now — not only is Gilly his daughter, but her mother (and probably her grandmother) was as well.
- The Pollyanna: As Sam points out: she's still got hope life will get better. As the actress explained, while Gilly was unhappy with how Craster treated her, she lived in such isolation at Craster's Keep, even from the other wildlings, that she really had no basis for comparison — she wasn't too traumatized by Craster because she had no way of knowing just how relatively bad her situation was.
- Protectorate: Sam quickly becomes her champion.
- Stepford Smiler: Like the rest of Craster's wives, she puts on an obedient, happy face to stay on his good side.
- The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: She's very pretty considering she's the inbred daughter-wife of a psychotic old rapist.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Again, to Craster, whose daughters are his wives.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: After Sam takes a harsh verbal smackdown, Gilly tells him he killed a White Walker and a Thenn and that he doesn't need to impress his father to be a hero.
Gilly's son with Craster.
- Adaptation Name Change / Named by the Adaptation: Wildings don't name their children until they're at least two in the books. Gilly names him Sam in the show. However, in the books she'd planned to name Mance's son (swapped for her own) Aemon, in honor of the maester of Castle Black, when he turns two.
- Composite Character: After a fashion, with Mance Rayder's son, who was adapted out. As such, Gilly's son is the one that accompanies Sam and Gilly to the Reach.
- Incest Is Relative: His father is also his grandfather to one degree or another.
Played By: Deirdre MonaghanCraster's eldest child and first wife.
- All There in the Manual: Her name.
- Canon Foreigner: She doesn't make any appearances in the books.
- Cult: She keeps up the Craster cult after Craster's death. When the last son of the incestuous family is born, she delivers him to Craster's killers and tells them to sacrifice the baby.
- Deal with the Devil: Not only with the White Walkers, but also with the Night's Watch mutineers who killed Craster and took his place. Although she does nothing to stop the constant rapes of the younger daughter-wives, she keeps them all alive by continuing the infant sacrifices. Both a figurative and literal Deal with the Devil. According to an interview with the screenwriter Bryan Cogman, the scenes in Craster's Keep were "situations beyond the Wall that didn't involve the supernatural, but rather humanity at its worst."
- Evil Matriarch: She appears to be the oldest of Craster's wife-daughters, and may very well be the first. She's also keeping up the Craster cult, although it may be out of habit or necessity as opposed to actual malice. She's likely never known anything other than the life Craster forced her to live.
- Let the Past Burn: Tells Jon Snow and the Night's Watch after they kill all the mutineers there, complete with a Spiteful Spit; to raze Craster's Keep and all of the horrible memories she and the other wives had in it, to the ground.
- Mr. Exposition: Morag turns up to explain to Karl and the audience what exactly happens to the baby boys.
Played By: Jane McGrathOne of Craster's daughter-wives who Karl Tanner takes for his personal slave.
- Abusive Parents: A given, since Craster was her father and husband.
- Butt Monkey: Her only appearances involves her being brutally tormented.
- Broken Bird: Incredibly, things got worse for her after Craster dies and it shows on her face. Karl is casually violent toward her for no reason, having taken her as a personal sex slave/punching bag. When he drunkenly slams her to the ground, she merely sits back up with barely a shift in her expression.
- Canon Foreigner: She doesn't make any appearances in the books.
- Cult: Like her fellow daughter-wives, she joins in with the 'Gift for the Gods' chant.
- The Dog Bites Back: When the Night's Watch attack the mutineers, she takes the opportunity to stab her abuser in the back. This gives Jon enough time to ram Longclaw through Karl's mouth.
- Let the Past Burn: Along with Morag and the other daughter-wives, she watches Craster's Keep burn along with all its horrible memories.
- No Name Given: Despite having some significance (particularly relating to Karl), her name isn't even mentioned in the credits. The name 'Sissy' comes from the actress' CV.
- Thousand-Yard Stare: She largely sits next to Karl, staring blankly forward.
Played By: Stephen DonA Night's Watch deserter living among the Free Folk and part of Osha's band.
- All There in the Manual: His name and origin.
- Going Native: He left the Night's Watch to join the Wildlings.
- I Have Your Wife: Takes Bran as hostage to negotiate with Robb.
- The Oath-Breaker: He broke his Night's Watch Oath and deserted.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: His plan is to flee the White Walkers as far south as he can — to Dorne, if needed. He also answers with a "fuck Mance Rayder" when Osha suggests taking Bran to him in exchange for favors.
- Would Hurt a Child: For starters he wounds Bran in the leg with a knife to test that he is really paralyzed, then takes him hostage and threatens to cut his throat.
Played By: Barry O'ConnorAnother Night's Watch deserter living among the Free Folk and part of Osha's band.
- All There in the Manual: His name and background.
- An Axe to Grind: Used an axe primarily.
- Beard of Evil: He has one.
- Going Native: He's easily mistaken for a Wildling, considering how far he's fallen from the Night's Watch.
- The Oath-Breaker: As a deserter of the Night's Watch.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Also fleeing the White Walkers.
- Slashed Throat: His death.
- Would Hurt a Child: Wallen is creepily eager to mutilate Bran.