Wildlings is a derogatory term used by those south of the Wall to refer to the people living north of the Wall. Wildlings refer to themselves as Free Folk, free from the subject of kings and lords. The Wildlings refer to those living south of the Wall as “kneelers.” The Wildling philosophy is that each man and woman should live a free life and not have to pledge fealty to a certain king or lord. They do not believe in the structure of Westeros set up by Aegon the Conqueror where all are subject to one king, who has the sworn fealty of overlords across the continent.
In reality, the first Wildlings were merely a population of the First Men who were on the northern side of the Wall when it was built. Ever since then, Wildlings have been mostly cut off from the rest of Westeros society and culture. As such, they have developed a culture and lifestyle of their own. Most still speak the Old Tongue of the First Men, and live a more primitive lifestyle, as did the First Men. Wildlings are split up into many different clans, each with unique characteristics. At times, Wildling clans may go to war with one another, but in a much smaller capacity than the wars fought south of the Wall.
Over the years, Wildlings have often found ways to get south of the Wall and raid towns in the North. Their raids generally include the theft of valuables, but also include the rape and kidnapping of women. For this reason, Wildlings have a savage reputation south of the Wall. And, in the absence of White Walkers for so many thousands of years, Wilding raids have become the main target of the Night’s Watch defense.
Currently, as winter approaches, Mance Rayder has united the different clans and species of Wildlings in an effort to march them south of the Wall. He has been able to unite them all with one simple fact: If they do not get south of the Wall, they will all die.
SIGNIFICANT WILDLING CHARACTERS
Mance Rayder, otherwise known as the King Beyond the Wall, was once a sworn brother of the Night’s Watch. After breaking his oaths and fleeing north of the Wall, Mance Rayder has successfully united many Wildlings in a march on the Wall.
Craster was an unfavorable Wildling who proclaimed himself a god. Yet, unlike almost every other Wildling, he was a friend of the Night’s Watch and often allowed the brothers of the Night’s Watch refuge at Craster’s Keep.
Tormund Giantsbane is a fierce Wildling warrior and leader of the war party that Jon Snow and Ygritte were a part of.
Orell is a Wildling skinchanger that often changes into his eagle. As an eagle, he attacked Jon Snow, just before Jon Snow took his life.
Ygritte is a fierce Wildling girl who falls in love with Jon Snow.
Osha is a Wildling woman who was taken captive south of the Wall by House Stark. In exchange for her service, she was spared her life. She goes on to loyally serve Bran and Rickon.