This is a listing of the wildlings in A Song of Ice and Fire.
For the main character index, see here
The Free Folk
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:
- All Amazons Want Hercules: A wildling spearwife will only marry a man strong enough to successfully capture her. If he does so, and she doesn't like him, she'll just slit his throat at night.
- Always Chaotic Evil: To the Seven Kingdoms. Deconstruction—the truth is much more complicated, yes, the likes of Rattleshirt, the Weeper, Craster, Varamyr or Harma Dogshead are despicable... but are them any different from the likes of Gregor Clegane, the Tickler or Amory Lorch?
- 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 they have any chance of hitting the defenders on the Wall.
- Best Her to Bed Her: Wildling women, who have been brought up to fight, believe that a man must be able to capture her and live through the experience to be worthy of marrying her. This is done so the man can prove his bravery and strength and the woman can establish her independence. And if the woman doesn't like who captured her, she 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.
- Death of a Child: Beyond the Wall, the infant mortality rate is so high that wildling parents don't name their children until they're two years old.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
- The Pictish tribes north of Hadrian's Wall. Th Hadrian Wall was built for keeping those tribes far from the already assimilated England.
- The Free Folk seem to fit rather well with various Celtic or Germanic tribes that fought against Rome. Their current state in the story - threatened because of a climate change (supernatural in this case) and their aggressive migration across the Wall - echoes all the tribes that migrated to the Roman Empire, attacking its borders but also trying to assimilate into it.
- The kings beyond the wall seem very similar to the various "barbarian" leaders who revolted against the Roman Empire, like Viriathus, Boudicca, Vercingetorix and Arminius, the later a dead ringer for Mance.
- Also their Elective Monarchy resembles to the above Germanic tribes, who had a similar system where the strongest warrior was the fittest to be a leader, nevermind his birth and lineage.
- 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 they 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: Deconstruction. The ice-river clans engage in cannibalism, hunting down members of other clans and the Frozen Shore people because food is so scarce in the icy 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 A Song of Ice and Fire or when and 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, as they're more likely to continue to survive by that point. The children may be given a "milk name", nicknames used until they outgrow them, however. Because "Hey You" stretches only so far.
- 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.
- The role of the spearwife in general. Wildling culture fosters strength in women alongside men.
- Tribal Face Paint: The cave dwellers paint their faces blue, green, or purple, for reasons unknown. And, it's probably wiser to assume "woad" than wonder how else they could make the dye.
- The Unreveal: In some aspects:
- It hasn't been revealed why so many men and women remained north of the Wall when it was erected in the first place.
- It's not known why and at what point the Night's Watch started denying them passage to the south, under what circumstances they started pillaging and burning whenever they crossed the Wall, or who started the hostilities in the first place.
- It's not clear why most of them speak the Common Tongue when they make a point in denouncing all other cultural aspects of the "Southerners" or why among them only the Thenns speak the Old Tongue, and it is vague whether or not they can read the runic records of the First Men. This is an aspect that lies between Translation Convention and Common Tongue, though it has never been thoroughly explained.
- 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.
Mance Rayder's army
Mance Rayder's family
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."
Even as early as King Robert's arrival at Winterfell, there are worries surrounding the so-called "King-beyond-the-Wall," a former member of the Night's Watch who has forsworn his vows, gone out to live amongst the wildlings, and become their leader. This king, Mance Rayder, is formally introduced in the third book and becomes entangled in the game of thrones as he leads a vast Wildling host south against the Wall and the Night's Watch.
- 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, infiltrate Winterfell multiple times, and defeat Jon Snow with a huge greatsword most men would barely be able to swing.
- Affably Evil: Played with - he originally comes off this way with how friendly he is to Jon and the other Wildlings, but then it turns out he's barely even evil at all, to the point where he's a borderline Hero Antagonist.
- 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.
- Anti-Villain: He's not even coming to conquer Westeros: 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 Boast: Rather casually threatens to decapitate Jon when he detects a hint of deception.Mance Rayder: Reach up for that bastard sword and I'll have your bastard head off before it clears the scabbard.
- Badass in Distress: After he and his group of spearwives successfully get "Arya Stark" out of Winterfell and away from Ramsay Bolton, Ramsay 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 spearwives' 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 afterward, which Mance tells Jon, to his astonishment. In A Dance With Dragons, he takes on the guise of "Abel" to infiltrate Winterfell again and save who he thinks is Arya Stark, Jon's younger sister.
- Though he also fits the Wandering Minstrel trope too; as with other minstrels in A Song of Ice and Fire he has an eye for the women, is often up to mischief, and is under the constant threat of coming to a sticky end. And George R. R. Martin may have delivered on the by-now-traditional horrible fate, given it's very highly likely that he's spent quality time around a Reek-less Ramsay Bolton needing a new stress ball.
- 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 — he is well-educated and knowledgeable about history and cultures both north and south of the Wall, as well as being a shrewd battle commander.
- The Casanova: Even when he was still a member of the Night's Watch and supposedly celibate.
- Chekhov's Gunman: He's mentioned as early as the first Bran chapter in A Game of Thrones before becoming an important character in A Storm of Swords.
- 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.
- FaceHeel Turn: From the perspective of the Night's Watch. From Mance's point of view, it was a HeelFace 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: He shares 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".
- Lightning Bruiser: When Mance spars with Jon in Dance, Jon notes that Mance is incredibly strong and doesn't need a shield because he's fast and graceful enough to dodge every attack. Mance completely flattens Jon without breaking a sweat.
- Modest Royalty: As befits a king of the Free Folk, who don't really respect people who act royal.
- No Historical Figures 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 raised and trained him? Mance is quite a dead ringer for Arminius. Also Arminius' wife and son were kidnapped by his enemies, and he couldn't reunite with them.
- The Nondescript: Compared to his more wild-looking lieutenants, Mance looks like an 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.
- 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 who 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 who he was named by — whether it was by one of the Night's Watchmen 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.
- Tyke-Bomb: 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 Night's Watch's greatest threats.
- Visual Pun: He's a turncloak both literally and figuratively.
- Warrior Poet: He can write a song just as well as he kills.
- Wicked Cultured: Loves music and is his own bard. (Although, calling him "wicked" is rather unfair.)
- 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.
- "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."
Mance Rayder's wife and one of his advisors. Val's sister.
- Death by Childbirth: Dies giving birth to Mance's son during Stannis' attack on the Wildling camp.
- Happily Married: She and Mance have one of the better relationships in the series and are very openly affectionate with one another.
- Hot Consort: Even a Wildling king has to have a beautiful wife at his side.
- Modest Royalty: Like Mance, she's practical and unconcerned with being flashy.
- 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 Prince
Mance and Dalla's infant son, born during the Battle of Castle Black. Jon Snow sends him to the Reach with his wetnurse Gilly 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, but 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."
Sister of Dalla, Val is a highly respected voice among the wildlings.
- Braids of Action: She wears her golden hair in a long braid.
- 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. They do follow Val, but marrying her off wouldn't necessarily mean that all the wildings would automatically follow whoever marries Val.
- 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 at 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 family member is defeated and executed (though with Mance, the execution was staged). Their captors (the Lannisters and Stannis respectively) 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.
- Girl in the Tower: After being taken captive by Stannis Baratheon toward the end of A Storm of Swords, she is held in one of Castle Black's towers by Stannis for political purposes.
- 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 explains that he did not, the Wall itself killed Jarl, giving in turn reassurance to Val that he did not kill Jarl; 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 but she learns that Jarl was killed by the Wall; this wouldn't have worked, anyway, 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 affectionately refers to him as "(her) little monster," his milk name.
- 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 Above It All:
- She did not like that Jarl died climbing the Wall, and she later asks Jon whether or not he killed Jarl, but Jon explains he did not kill Jarl, the Wall itself killed him. This is to check whether or not there was foul play involved, and also to verify whether or not he was trying to "steal" her.
- It's shown that she likes Jon, as she expresses admiration for his prowess as a warrior and they get along well, and she's not shy in letting him know that she's open to the possibility of them being an item should he choose to take it.
- "Not So Different" Remark: 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. Axell Florent comments that she has "good hips and good breasts, well made for whelping children".
- 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. Horrified, Jon tells Val that Shireen is not dead and greyscale is not fatal in children but she yells at him that it is always fatal and greyscale merely bides its time before killing. She insists that he move Gilly's child and his wet nurses out of the tower where Shireen is and into her own chambers in order to protect the child 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.
- Pitbull Dates Puppy: She's the pitbull, Jarl's the puppy. The Wildling leaders are not quite happy with this, as Jarl is part of the leadership not because he attained it by prowess, but rather by virtue of being Val's lover. This, in turn, serves him little purpose, as he plunges to his death climbing the Wall.
- Rapunzel Hair: Her hair is long enough to fall to her waist.
- 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 Catchphrase of Jon's (deceased) lover Ygritte: "You know nothing, Jon Snow".
- Silk Hiding Steel: She is considered very beautiful, but also skilled with a dagger and as fierce as any wildling spearwife. Jon calls her "lonely, and lovely, and lethal".
- 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, who she likes a great deal, 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.
- Warrior Princess: One of the aspects Jon sees about Val that Stannis' men don't consider is that Val isn't a Damsel in Distress. She is a bonafide warrior princess and leader.Jon Snow's thoughts: 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.
- 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.
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."
One of Rayder's chief lieutenants, Tormund is a giant gasbag of a man whose bark is worse than his bite. He replaces Mance as de-facto leader of the Wildlings after the latter's capture at the end of A Storm of Swords. He helps broker a fragile peace between the Wildlings and the Night's Watch to stand against the Others, and in this capacity, Jon begins to rely on him heavily. He has four sons, Toregg the Tall, Torwynd the Tame, Dryn, and Dormund, as well as one daughter, Munda.
- 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 an alliance 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 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!
- 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. Or he's talking about Alysane Mormont, the She-Bear who has two children she claimed to have while skinchanging into a bear.
- 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 band of commanders.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Became a staunch ally to Mance Rayder after Mance defeated him in a duel.
- Demoted to Dragon: He was a famed war leader and raider who was considering declaring himself King-Beyond-the-Wall before Mance bested him.
- 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.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Jon Snow. Tormund and Jon come to genuinely like one another despite whatever differences they have at the time. Tormund forms an alliance with Jon and the Watch to save the wildlings from the Others.Bowen Marsh said, "[...] These are wildlings. Savages, raiders, rapers, more beast than man."
"Tormund is none of those things," said Jon, "no more than Mance Rayder."
- He and Styr are Mance's Co-Dragons and foils to one another. Where Styr is cold, reserved, and aloof, Tormund is friendly, funny, and cheerful.
- He and the Weeper form a solid contrast after Mance's defeat. Each takes control of part of Mance's host, but where Tormund hopes to make peace with the Night's Watch, the Weeper aims to carry on the war where Mance left off.
- 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' 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.
- 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 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 Münchausen: 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.
- Outliving One's Offspring: He loses some of his children over the course of the story. One son turned into a wight and Tormund had to put him down.
- 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.
- Signature Laugh: Har!
- 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.
- Worthy Opponent: Jon Snow has a great deal of respect for Tormund, and the feeling is quite mutual.
The Lord O'Bones
Rattleshirt, Bag O'Bones
- "To crows I be the Lord O'Bones."
One of Mance Rayder's lieutenants, The Lord O'Bones ('Rattleshirt' to his enemies) is arrogant, vicious, and petty, dressing himself in the bones of his enemies. He is the one who captures Jon Snow, and remains extremely suspicious of him throughout A Storm Of Swords.
- Asshole Victim: Rattleshirt's dickery is meant to make us okay with him being burned in place of Mance. Even Mance seems pretty alright with it, and Rattleshirt was ostensibly his ally.
- 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 and enforcing Mance's will. During the march to the Wall, his main task is to keep the horde moving, whipping anybody who doesn't advance on schedule.
- 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 mouthy 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, with Harma Dogshead in particular, as the two of them warred against each other once.
- Hate Sink: Rattleshirt is a jackass and hated by almost everyone who meets him, despite not getting up to a lot of evil on-page.
- I Have Many Names: Most of them derogatory. The Lord O'Bones, Rattleshirt, Bag O'Bones...
- Informed Attribute: We're told that he's among the worst of the wildlings, and Jon, despite being willing to reach out to the likes of the Weeper (see below), refuses to consider allying with Rattleshirt. Yet he doesn't have many actual crimes to his name that we know of, especially when compared to his contemporaries, so his In-Universe reputation is puzzling.
- It's Personal: He and Jon Snow really don't like each other for some reason.
- 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 Napoleon: Very short and unimpressive outside his suit of bones.
- 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. Ultimately lands him on a pyre.
- Skeletons in the Coat Closet: He clothes himself in the bones of his enemies, and any other animals he comes across.
- Villains Want Mercy: Begs for mercy when he's about to be burned. Of course, since he's about to be burned for another man's crimes while wearing another man's face, this is pretty understandable.
- Villainous Widow's Peak: Under his skull helmet.
Styr, the Magnar of Thenn
One of Mance Rayder's chief lieutenants and probably the most dangerous after Mance himself, he's the leader of the Thenns, 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 have laws and rulers, trade with the giants and their wildling neighbours, 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 Am I: The Thenns believe their leader to be a god and Styr buys into that image.
- Armour Is Useless: Averted. Styr's bronze armour may not be up to Westerosi standards, but it leaves him better protected than almost any other Wildling. Jon notes that if Styr catches the men of Castle Black unaware the bronze armour and discipline of his men will spell slaughter for those Night's Watchmen left behind.
- Bald of Awesome: He is completely bald. This seems to run in the family as his son, Sigorn, is also balding.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: He is among the most dangerous and severe Wildling commanders. Only Mance himself is more frightening.
- BFS: Wields a massive two-handed bronze greatsword. It's long enough that he normally has to wear it strapped across his back.
- Bigger Stick: Comparatively. The Thenns' mastery of bronze working and possession of bronze armour and weapons is what guarantees Styr's position in the Wildling coalition. Most other raiders are armed with stone weapons, or what steel they can loot from dead Night's Watchmen.
- Blade on a Stick: When storming the Wall, Styr carries not only his BFS but a long, weirwood spear with a broad bronze head.
- 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: To Mance Rayder, alongside Tormund Giantsbane.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Mance had to best Styr in a duel — three times — in order to secure his allegiance. Styr is now one of Mance's most trusted lieutenants.
- Demoted to Dragon: Styr was a famed raider, the undisputed leader of the Thenns, and a strong candidate for King-Beyond-the-Wall when Mance defeated him and made him his lieutenant.
- Disney Villain Death: He is last seen plummeting from the Wall alongside several of his men.
- 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.
- Foil: He and Tormund serve as Co-Dragons to Mance and foils to one another. Tormund is relatable, outgoing, and jovial, Styr reserved, distant, and cold.
- God-Emperor: The Thenns regard their Magnar as more god than man and he rules with an iron (bronze?) fist.
- Icy Gray Eyes: His gray eyes are off the cold, strong-willed type.
- If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten!: Tries to force Jon to execute an old man the Thenns have captured in order to bind him to the cause.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Like Rattleshirt, he's not a nice guy. Also, like Rattleshirt, he's not wrong when he doubts Jon's claim that he really left the Watch.
- Last of His Kind: He was the last leader of the Free Folk Thenns before his son became the Lord of the newly formed House Thenn.
- Lean and Mean: He is very tall and lean and among the most vicious and feared Wildling leaders.
- The Quiet One: Justified. Styr's mastery of the Common Tongue is good, but not perfect, and unless he has something to say he tends to keep quiet around people who don't speak the Old Tongue.
- Pride: The Thenns are an old, proud people, and Styr personifies that pride.
- Red Right Hand: His missing ears serve this role. As Jon notes when he first meets him, Styr might actually be a good looking man, but the lack of ears give him a narrow, cold look.
- Undying Loyalty: From his men.
A widely feared raider who hates dogs and has one killed every fortnight so she can use its head as her banner. One of Mance Rayder's most important subordinates, she leads his vanguard during the approach to the Wall.
- Brawn Hilda: What isn't fat is muscle.
- The Brute: Just below Tormund and Styr on the Wildling totem pole, she acts as the leader of Mance's van and one of his key enforcers.
- Character Death: Killed by Stannis' forces at the battle at the Wall.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Her whole thing with making a banner out of a dog's head is never really explained — just that she hates dogs. 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 to escape the others when he became King-Beyond-the-Wall. 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, slab-sided woman and is one of the nastier wildlings.
- 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.
- Unusual Pets for Unusual People: Keeps pigs as pets the way a normal person would a dog.
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.
- Hero Killer: His name indicates the number of Night's Watchmen he has killed.
- I Have Your Wife: Even though he's dead, he's of enough note that three of his sons are handed over to the Watch as hostages (and a fourth had been among those who were captured in the camps in the immediate aftermath of the Battle of Castle Black).
- 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 (four of whom are shown).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
A feared raider and one of the few wildlings who has refused to make peace with the Night's Watch after Mance Rayder's defeat. Named for his constantly watering eyes — and his habit of removing the eyes of his victims — the Weeper was one of the worst men to sign on with Mance and remains a threat to the Night's Watch and Jon Snow's attempts at forging a peace.
- Decapitation Presentation: Sends the heads of slain Night's Watchmen to Jon Snow.
- Dragon Ascendant: Like Tormund he takes control of a sizeable faction of Mance Rayder's followers after the King-Beyond-the-Wall's defeat. 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.
- Enemy Mine: Jon is trying to earn a peace with him, though with little luck so far.
- Eye Scream: His calling card is removing eyes from faces and leaving the heads for the world to see. When he takes a town he also blinds those women he does not rape.
- Fat Bastard: Downplayed. While hardly fat by Westerosi standards, The Weeper's described as a large, fleshy man — unusual given the starved state of most wildlings — and is easily the worst person in Mance's coalition.
- Foil: He and Tormund Giantsbane head up the two largest sections of Mance's fractured army in A Dance With Dragons. Where Tormund is a jovial man who looks to make a peace with the Night's Watch, the Weeper is a sadist and a killer who continues Mance's war for his own sick reasons.
- Freudian Excuse: It's suggested the Weeper removes eyes from his victims because his own hurt so much — he takes out his desire to remove his own eyes on those he captures. It doesn't exactly drive one to sympathise with him, but it does serve as an explanation for his behaviour.
- Hero Killer: Has ratcheted up a number of Night's Watch kills since Mance was captured, worsening his already gruesome reputation.
- It's Personal: The Weeper nearly killed Bowen Marsh during a clash in A Storm of Swords. Marsh has never forgiven him and the two remain bitter enemies.
- 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: It's because of his watery eyes, but it's still a sinister nickname for a sinister man.
- Psycho for Hire: The Weeper is to Mance Rayder as Gregor Clegane is to Tywin Lannister — a monster who is willing to work for him in exchange for the chance to hurt more people.
- Sadist: Cutting out the eyes of your victims is generally a sign of a man who likes inflicting pain.
- Serial Rapist: Known as a serial kidnapper and raper of women.
- Sinister Scythe: His Weapon of Choice.
- Token Evil Teammate: Downplayed. The wildlings don't lack for violent leaders (as evidenced by the likes of Harma, Rattleshirt, Alfyn, and Styr), but of all the raiders to sign up with Mance, the Weeper's probably the one with the blackest reputation, and the only one who seems to be in it just to hurt people.
A 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 Wife: 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.
An aged wildling chieftain commanding a clan formed by his own sons and grandsons. He has eighteen wives.
Soren 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 Wife: 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".
- Kneel Before Frodo: One of the many Wildling leaders to do so, telling Jon;Soren: Soren's axe is your's, Jon Snow, if you ever need of such.
- You Are in Command Now: He's given command of Stoneshield, one of the empty castles of the Wall.
Morna White Mask
A warrior witch, raider and clan leader. She has at least one son.
- All Amazons Want Hercules: She hints about her interest in Jon Snow.
- Cool Mask: Made of weirwood.
- I Have Your Wife: 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 Knight: 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.
Devyn Sealskinner is a wildling leader.
- Iconic Item: He wears a sealskin hat that gives him his nickname.
- I Have Your Wife: A son of his is one of the hostages taken by the Watch to keep the Free Folk chieftains and raiders in line.
- In-Series Nickname: Devyn "Sealskinner".
- You Are in Command Now: He's given command of Greenguard, one of the empty castles of the Wall.
The woods witch who is given to prophecy.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: She claims to have had a vision of a fleet of ships coming to carry the wildlings away to safety across the narrow sea. And so, Mother Mole and thousands of followers relocate to Hardhome to await these ships.
- Meaningful Name: She makes her home in a burrow beneath a hollow tree, hence her name.
- Witch Doctor: She's a woods witch, a herbalist and practitioner of folk magic.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: A noted warrior, and man of strength. When he becomes the first such wildling to agree to defend the wall, others follow.
- Redeeming Replacement: He's not exactly a warm fellow, but he's more reasonable, and willing to defend the wall than Harma.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: The Watch dislike him and the feeling is mutual, but he appreciates the principal and the potential of this. As he puts it;Halleck: I don't like you, crow. But I never liked the Mance neither, no more'n my sister did. Still, we fought for him. Why not fight for you?
- We ARE Struggling Together: Ultimately recognizes this, and is willing to Kneel Before Frodo, whether said "Frodo" is a wilding, or a member of the Watch.
- You Are in Command Now: After His sister falls to Stannis's army.
A minor wildling leader and lover of Val.
- Butt-Monkey: He isn't treated very well by the senior 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: We know him just well enough for his death to be rather sad.
- Pitbull Dates Puppy: The whole reason he's not respected by the more senior Wildlings is because they consider him Val's bitch as it was her whole stole him instead of the other way around.
A member of Rattleshirt's group that hangs around with Ygritte and Jon Snow. He later joins Tormund's group.
- Ear Ache: When he stole Munda to express his interest in her, she nearly bit off half of one of his ears.
- Gag Penis: According to Tormund, there's a reason they call him Longspear even though he doesn't carry a spear.
- Happily Married: He marries Tormund'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.
- Nice Guy: Jon starts to like him, and he comes across as a pretty decent bloke.
- 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!
- Token Good Teammate: For Rattleshirt's gang; Jon considers him, Tormund, and Ygritte as among the wildlings he's starting to like.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: His brother begged him not to go with Jarl. It might have been better for him if he'd listened.
- The Knights W Ho Say Squee: Very taken with the castles and watchtowers along the wall, and dreams of his son being born in one of them once the raid is over.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Dies attacking Castle Black.
- Tyke Bomb: Only fourteen, but already an accomplished warrior and wife-stealer, with a baby about to be born.
- Butt-Monkey: Has a large and painful boil on his backside that he gets teased for. Is bitten by a direwolf during Jon's defection, wounded by an arrow to the leg during the Battle of Castle Black, and then is captured by the Black Brothers.
- Mauve Shirt: Big Boil doesn't have much dialogue or relevance to the plot, but he appears in several chapters and stands out somewhat among the various members of Styr's raiding party.
- Braids of Action: A rare male character to have some.
- Climbing the Cliffs of Insanity: He gets mentioned a decent amount as the raiders scale the Wall, being one of the first to start climbing.
- Hidden Depths: He has heard of the Isle of Faces and dreams of visiting it and meeting the Green Men once Mance and his army cross the wall.
- The Quiet One: He doesn't talk much.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: He hasn't been mentioned since Jon broke cover and returned to the Watch.
Toregg, Torywynd, Dryn, and Dormund.The four sons of Tormund Giantsbane.
- Badass Baritone: Toregg and Dormund both have deep voices. Dormund puts up a fight to defend the honor of his sister and dies taking part in the Battle of Castle Black. Toregg is a foot taller than his father and serves in the rearguard as the Free Folk flee to the Wall.
- Embarrassing Nickname: Torwynd is called "Torwynd the Tame" for his poor fighting skills.
- Generation Xerox: Dryn looks like a miniature version of his father.
- The Ghost: Torwynd is only mentioned and never seen.
- Heavy Sleeper: When Tormund's daughter is being "stolen" from their tent, and his three younger sons are fighting her suitor, Toregg sleeps through it.
- Ill Boy: Torwynd is a sickly teenager who eventually dies during a blizzard.
- Stout Strength: Dryn is a chunky boy, but puts up a pretty good fight when Longspear Ryk steals his sister.
- The Squire: Dryn becomes Jon Snow's page after his band of Free Folk successfully negotiate to pass the Wall.
Stone ThumbsOne of the raiders who climbs the wall.
- The Alcoholic: While trying to avoid becoming close with the people he's spying on, Jon thinks that he doesn't want to hear about "how much ale Stone Thumbs could drink."
- Almost Dead Guy: Jon finds him dying but not dead yet after the Battle of Castle Black. Unusually for the trope, there's no indication of any words or looks of sadness or anger passing between them.
- Red Shirt: He serves little purpose besides being a Free Folk who Jon knows but is forced to help kill.
- "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."
A wildling spearwife, Ygritte is first encountered by Jon Snow while he's scouting Mance Rayder's army in the Skirling Pass, where he captures and then frees her. After Jon joins the wildlings as a Fake Defector, she takes a great interest in him, having taken his refusal to kill her when she was his captive as a sign he has feelings for her. Eventually, Jon really does start to love her, which provides him with much angst because his vows as a member of the Night's Watch demand celibacy. Not to mention that he's got to turn his cloak again soon...
- Accidental Marriage: Or what passes for marriage in wildling society anyway — when Qhorin Halfhand and Jon Snow capture Ygritte and her group while on a ranging, and Jon refuses to kill Ygritte, saving her life, Ygritte takes this to mean that he wants her, because for a wildling woman to stay with a man, he has to capture her first and live in order to prove himself to her. However, Jon had no idea about any of this and is stunned to hear it, explaining that he never meant for Ygritte to take it this way and has none of these intentions toward her. Nonetheless, Ygritte spends about half of the story trying to sleep with Jon, much to Jon's chagrin and embarrassment.
- Archer Archetype: Her preferred weapon is a bow.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Jon, who eventually succumbs to Ygritte's advances, and they do fall in love.
- Catchphrase: 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 on the orders of his superior officer, she asks only that he does it clean and burns her body afterward. Jon can't bring himself to do it and lets her go.
- Fiery Redhead: The wildlings describe people with red hair as being "kissed by fire", which is 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 and that he loves her. He admits his love for Ygritte in his thoughts.
- 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 Guy: Quite proud to be a wildling and a spearwife.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: With Jon. She falls in love with Jon, a Night's Watchmen from the south, and he falls in love with her. Because of their different worlds, they cannot be together, no matter how much they may want it.
- Uptight Loves Wild: Jon falls for her partly because of how carefree she is.
- When She Smiles: While Ygritte is not conventionally beautiful in appearance, Jon notes how warm and pretty her smile is, which is one of her prettiest features.
- Wild Hair: To the point where Jon is tempted to ask "if she only brushed it at the changing of the seasons" but he loves her wild tangle of curls.
- You Remind Me of X: Jon thinks he has never met someone so stubborn, except perhaps his little sister Arya.
Rowan, Holly, Squirrel, Willow Witch-Eye, Frenya, Myrtle
The six spearwives who join Abel the Bard aka Mance Rayder in infiltrating Winterfell to rescue Arya Stark. They are unaware the girl is not Arya but Jeyne Poole, who is posing as Arya Stark.
- A Fate Worse Than Death: According to the letter Jon Snow receives, those who survived Theon and Jeyne's escape have been flayed alive by Ramsay Bolton.
- Amazon Brigade: All of them are spearwives, female warriors of the Free Folk.
- 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 to 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).
- Floral Theme Naming: Rowan, Holly, Myrtle and Willow are named after plants.
- 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 do so.
- 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".
- This Is Unforgivable!: Like nearly everyone else, they feel this way about Theon's betrayal of the Starks, and are not happy when they have to work with him specifically to get "Arya" out of Winterfell.
- Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Well, maybe. They deny being responsible for the murder of Little Walder Frey, but we don't know who's actually the culprit.
A wildling spearwife in Mance's army who attends the injured Varamyr following Stannis' attack on Mance's army.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: Thistle is reanimated as wight after her death.
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: Thistle fights off Varamyr's attempt to possess her, screaming and tearing at her eyes.
- Facial Horror: Tears out her eyes and rips out her tongue when Varamyr tries to steal her body.
- Grand Theft Me: Varamyr tries to skinchange into Thistle to avoid death.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: She takes care of Varamyr's wound and brings him food, only for him to attempt to take over her body.
- Dark Action Girl: We don't see her fighting, but she comes across as one.
- Mook Lieutenant: Has a decent amount of authority in the party.
- Sarcastic Devotee: She doesn't seem to have that much respect for her leader.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Only appears in A Clash of Kings and only near the end of the story, but disagrees when Rattleshirt wants Jon killed and plays a role in him being allowed a chance to join the wildling army.
Varamyr Sixskins, Haggon, Lump
- "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."
A Wildling who is a powerful skinchanger and is the POV of the prologue to A Dance With Dragons.
- Awesome Mc Coolname: 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 in thrall.
- The Beastmaster: He is a warg who can wear the skins of six different animals at once, not all of them wolves.
- Bears Are Bad News: One of his beasts is a huge snow bear (polar bear).
- 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 Wildling 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. However, unlike the Starks and their direwolves, Varamyr doesn't actually care about any of his animals; they are simply tools to him and he'll coldly leave them to die in a heartbeat when necessary.
- Creepy Souvenir: He keeps locks of hair from women he has raped.
- Dirty Coward: When Stannis Baratheon attacks Mance's army, Varamyr turns and runs in a heartbeat.
- 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.
- Enfant Terrible: When he was just six years old, he skinchanged into one of the family dogs to murder his two year old little brother out of envy.
- Even Evil Has Standards: While he's a truly vicious and evil character even by Westeros's standards, even he refused to Body Surf and take over another person's body for most of his life, although this is downplayed as he ends up doing it anyway to save his own skin from the Others. Ironically, while he's the Evil Counterpart of Bran, this means that Bran unintentionally is breaking even more skinchanger rules than Varamyr did
- 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.
- Fate Worse than Death: Even after the wights kill his physical body, he lives on in his wolf, gleefully living out the very thing he stole from his mentor... Until he comes across a Warg even more powerful than himself: Bran. Varamyr is quickly overpowered and dominated, forced to spend the last of his days as nothing more than a member of Summer's wolf pack.
- To Bran, primarily. However, if any of the Stark kids (like, say Arya) were to go off the rails with their gift, this guy is who they could become.
- He's like the Wildling version of Euron. Both of them are powerful magic users with a Lack of Empathy, who willfully break the sacred taboos of their culture. Also like Euron, Varamyr fathered a lot of children, but doesn't care about them and sees them as worthless.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: He started as a weak and unwanted child, but once he discovered his powers, he became powerful, influential and widely feared.
- Hypocrite: Varamyr resents his parents for not caring enough about him, but clearly doesn't give a damn about his own kids.
- I'm a Humanitarian: He eats other people through the bodies one of his wolves, including his mentor Haggon. While he's dying, he even thinks it would be nice to eat his own human corpse when he begins his second life as a wolf.
- It's All About Me: Varamyr only cares about Varamyr — and, he throws a prima donna strop if somebody either doesn't fear him or simply doesn't rate him.
- Karmic Death: His attempts to steal Thistle's body only draws the Wights to their location.
- Lack of Empathy: Even though he knows exactly what it's like to be other creatures, he really couldn't give a fuck about what they want as individuals. His toys!
- Laser-Guided Karma: He spent his first life as a human using his powers to dominate and control others. In his second life as a wolf, he's forced to submit to Bran.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: He "blessed" many women with children. Like him as a child, they were small and puny, but none had the ability to skinchange.
- 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, thus 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 even farther in some respects than even Varamyr was willing to go.
- Panthera Awesome: He also controls a shadowcat.
- Psychological Projection: When Thistle goes out to try to find food, Varamyr assumes she abandoned him. That's exactly what he would have done in her position. Instead, she comes back to try to save him from the wights.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Skinchanges 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, might take your own body over.
- Robbing the Dead: After he tries to take a cloak off a dead woman's body, her son stabs him. Though Thistle tries to nurse him back to health, the wound becomes infected. This is what ultimately kills his human body.
- Savage Wolves: He controls a small pack of three wolves.
- Serial Rapist: Until he was press-ganged into Mance's army, Varamyr primarily used his powers to force women to do whatever he demanded. If anyone from their villages tried to rescue them, Varamyr would murder them.
- 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.
- The Sociopath: He has a grandiose self of sense, believes that he is entitled to take whatever he wants by force, is incapable of love or empathy, and has no regard for conventional morality.
- The Unfavorite: To his strong, healthy younger brother Bump, which is why he killed him.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Varamyr makes a habit of completely screwing over the people who try to help him. He starts by stealing his mentor's wolf, and his final act is to try and steal the body of the woman who risked everything to save him.
- 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.
A 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.
A 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.
- Full-Boar Action: He keeps a boar as a pet.
- In-Series Nickname: The Boar.
- Uncatty Resemblance: He's described as looking like his boar: hulking, black-browed, with a flat nose, heavy jowls dark with stubble and small close-set eyes.
- Villain Respect: Instantly identifies Jon Snow as a Warg and refers to him as "brother".
A 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: Forcibly 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" in every possible way.
- Berserk Button: Being called a bastard or a niggard will send him into a rage.
- Big, Screwed-Up Family: With a patriarch like him, that's an understatement.
- Deal with the Devil: 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.
- Even Evil Has Standards: The one person he absolutely could not stand is Rattleshirt, though it's probably a case of Evil Versus Evil. Gilly tells Jon that Craster threatened to kill the Lord o' Bones if he so much as showed his face around Craster's Keep.
- Evil Old Folks: The old man rapes his daughters and sacrifices his sons.
- Foil: To Mance Rayder: Both are bastards of a man of the Night's Watch and a Ranger. While Craster has become subservient to the Others, Mance is fleeing them. Mance has united all Free Folk under his banner, Craster insists on his so-called "freedom".
- Gaslighting: Craster maintains his authority over his wives by keeping them ignorant of the world beyond his "keep" and limiting their contact with outsiders whenever he receives the Night's Watch.
- Hate Sink: In every chapter he appears in, he's either abusing and raping his wives and daughters, killing his sons, or screwing over the protagonists, and he ends up being so vile that even his supposed allies kill him off when they're fed up with his mistreatment.
- Human Sacrifice: He offers his sons up to the Others; this evidently pacifies them enough to leave him and his daughters alone.
- Hypocrite: He refuses both Mance Rayder's offer to join his army and Lord Commander Mormont's offer of sancutuary south of the wall, boasting he's a free man, yet he's bound to what amounts to a protection racket with the Others. The "freedom" he so boasts is nothing more than that to keep the women in his keep under his boot.
- 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. He also insists he has nothing to fear of the "cold winds rising" because he's a "godly man", yet without sons he's resorted to sacrificing sheeps and dogs to the Others...
- 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.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: Craster lives in a remote keep with his 19 wives, many of whom are also his daughters. He regularly fathers more children on them; the girls are raised to become more wives, while the sons are sacrificed.
- 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 bastard-born.
- 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 so he may keep his wives under his rule.
- Token Evil Teammate: For the Night's Watch, who reluctantly work with Craster because he is willing to offer shelter to any rangers who pass by his keep but turn a blind eye to the systematic rape of women and the sacrifices to the Others he's performing.
- Wife Husbandry: He raises his daughters to be his wives. And so on...
- You Are What You Hate: Hates other bastards for reminding him of what he is.
One 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:
- When she becomes pregnant with her first child, she fears for its life, because if it's a boy, Craster will sacrifice it to the Others. It is this fear which pushes her to ask Jon and Sam for help.
- Later, being forced to give up her child and having to be so far from him. While this plan saves another baby and Jon assures her own baby will be safe and raised under his protection, she's still understandably absolutely heartbroken and miserable about being separated from her child.
- Animal Motifs: Along with being small and slender, Gilly's large, brown eyes are compared to those of a doe.
- Conditioned to Accept Horror: She's not horrified by having to become Craster's wife, because that happened to all the other women in her family. Even after leaving Craster's keep, she still refers to herself as "Craster's wife and Craster's daughter."
- Floral Theme Naming: Her father named her for the gillyflower.
- Heroic BSoD: She spends most of the voyage on the Blackbird in tears, having been forced to switch her son and Dalla's boy to protect the latter from Melisandre's fires.
- 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.
- No Sympathy: From various men, including Stannis and the crew of the Blackbird, who view her with contempt and/or consider her a whore for having sex with her own father, apparently forgetting or ignoring that it wasn't her choice to make.
- Parental Incest: She is forced to become one of her father's wives.
- Screaming Birth: When she gives birth to her child, her screams are so loud they make Sam wince.
- Sex for Solace: She and Sam first have sex after Maester Aemon dies.
- The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Though Craster isn't much to write home about, she is described as pretty, with large doe eyes.
The Abomination, The Little Monster
The 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. It's considered bad luck among the wildlings to name a child before they reach two, due to the high rates of infant mortality beyond the Wall.
- Val affectionately gives the baby the milk name 'Monster,' referring to him as her "sweet little monster". A milk name is a temporary name used for wildling babes until they are given their official name at two years old.
- Protectorate: Sam promised to protect him from the time Gilly was still pregnant, and has kept his promise, helping Gilly save him and bring him south of the Wall. Currently, Sam has been sent to Oldtown to train to be a maester and the boy remains in Castle Black. The child is now under Jon Snow's protection, tended to by wet nurses, and frequently looked after by Val, who has grown close to the boy.
- Sole Survivor: The only son that Craster couldn'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.
Historical Free Folk
The legendary first King-Beyond-the-Wall. According to legend, Joramun blew the Horn of Winter and woke giants from the earth.
- Enemy Mine: Joined forces with Brandon the Breaker, the King of Winter, to bring down the Night's King.
- The High King: Like all the Kings-Beyond-the-Wall since, Joramun was effectively high king of the Wildlings, ruling over all the other clan chiefs, magnars, and raiders.
- Iconic Item: The Horn of Winter aka the Horn of Joramun.
- Shrouded in Myth: A legendary figure.
Bael the Bard
Sygerrik of Skagos
Bael the Bard, is a former King-Beyond-the-Wall. According to legend, he was one of the greatest Free Folk raiders of his time, who outwitted the Northmen and even managed to kidnap and impregnate Lord Brandon Stark's daughter; he was also a bard who wrote songs about his own life, which are still used to this day. His tale inspires Mance Rayder to infiltrate the Bolton-occupied Winterfell as "Abel the Bard".
- Abduction Is Love: He states that will take away Winterfell's most beautiful flower. He meant the lord's daughter.
- The Bard: His nickname it's not wasted, he appeared to be such a fine singer that Lord Stark granted him with everything he wished. He wished his daughter.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Impregnated Lady Stark because her father called him a coward.
- Famous Ancestor: If his story is true, then he is this to the Starks.
- Flower Motifs: The winter rose of Winterfell played a role in his story.
- Mance Rayder. Mance idolizes him, and models himself on him even before going on a mission in Winterfell to save 'Arya Stark'. They both happen to be gifted singers and deadly fighters, and brave enough to sneak to Winterfell under Lord Stark's nose. Although as Mance himself notes, Mance didn't steal any Stark daughter (probably because the current Lady Starks are just kids).
- Rhaegar Targaryen. The parallelism between their lives is uncanny. The former heir of Westeros was a Warrior Prince who shared Bael's taste for songs, Stark ladies, blue winter roses and style of courtship. Both love affairs brought misery to House Stark and ultimately to their deaths - Lord Brandon almost died without heirs but Bael's son with his daughter is the next Lord Stark who ends up killing Bael himself; Rhaegar Targaryen just invited a civil war that killed another Brandon Stark and ultimately leads to his death - and while Lady Stark eventually gave birth to Bael's son and commits suicide after his death, Lyanna Stark died but also with the strong possibility she had just given birth to Rhaegar's son before that.
- Long Dead Badass: Long dead, and badass enough to take away Lord Brandon Stark's daughter.
- The Lost Lenore: Becomes this to Lady Stark after their son kills him.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: He was slain by his son Lord Stark, unaware of his true parentage.
- Meaningful Name: While infiltrating Winterfell he takes the name of Sygerrik of Skagos - which means deceitful in the language of Skagos.
- Off with His Head!: By his own son, the new Lord Stark.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: With the daughter of Brandon the Daughterless.
- Patricide: He's killed by the new Lord Stark who ignores that he's Bael's son. Bael doesn't fight back.
- Warrior Poet: Even before carrying off Lord Stark's daughter, he was already famous as both raider and bard.
A legendary wildling raider. Arson tried to cross the Wall by digging through its base. When he was midway under the ice, he was discovered by a patrol from the Nightfort. Instead of trying to stop the wildling, the patrol decided to wall Arson in alive. The legend says that by listening with an ear against the Wall, one can still hear the sound of Arson's axe digging the ice. Since this time, the Night's Watch send infrequent patrols along the base of the Wall on its North face to look for traces of excavation.
Gorne and Gendel
Brothers who ruled as Kings-Beyond-the-Wall, who led a failed attack into Westeros. Gorne led the wildling army through underground caves. When he was killed, Gendel and the remains of the army retreated back into the caves and got lost.
A King-Beyond-the-Wall from the time of Lord Willam Stark.
The Red Raven
The 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.