- "We don't kneel for anyone beyond the Wall."
- ―Mance Rayder.
The Free Folk, known pejoratively as the Wildlings by the Seven Kingdoms, are a people who reside beyond the Wall, directly descending from the First Men. Following the end of the Long Night and the Wall's construction eight thousand years ago, the descendants of the Free Folk were trapped on the other side of it, and eventually had to adapt to the climate. Thousands of years later, the Free Folk reside in the land beyond the Wall, sandwiched between the Wall itself and the Lands of Always Winter.
The Free Folk are not culturally homogenuous. They number in the hundreds of thousands, and among them are hundreds of cultures, tribes, clans, villages and raiding parties, all of which have their own goals: neither are they particularly loyal to each other, and it is often that the wildlings will fight amongst each other as well as the Night's Watch, their main nemesis. It wasn't until prior to 300 AC that Mance Rayder began and completed a mission to unite all of the Free Folk under one banner, hoping to escape the return of the Others.