Win or Die
The free folk are a race of people who live beyond the Wall. They are more commonly referred to as "wildlings" everywhere south of the Wall.
There are tens, possibly hundreds of thousands of free folk split into hundreds of cultures, tribes, clans, villages and raiding parties, some reasonably cultured, others savage and hostile. The free folk refer to themselves in that way to difference 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 to the south view the "wildlings" as lawless and primitive killers, rapists and thieves.
The Wall which separates the free folk from the rest of the Westeros in many ways defines them. Due to their isolation, 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. 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.
Their society is made of many tribes and clans, spread across hundreds of small villages, each with their own peculiarities and customs; some recognize chieftains, and others exist in a perpetual state of conflict, warring against each other and themselves. The free folk place importance in a man keeping his word.
Most free folk have never made any considerable technological advancements. They are harsh people who live in harsh lands, although some are reasonably cultured, such as the Thenns who live in tightly knit communities in the far north, or the people of Hardhome, which is the closest place the free folk have to a city. Some are semi-nomadic loners, held down only by their own needs. Raiders from the Frozen Shore or the more savage ice-river clans feed on the flesh of other men. There are cave dwellers that dye their faces blue, purple and green.
There is little in the way of law or property rights in the lands of the free folk. They take what they can and keep what they can defend and have little interest in marriage.
The free folk keep to the ways of the First Men and there are many languages beyond the Wall, including the Common Tongue. The Old Tongue of the First Men is still spoken by some, such as the Thenns.
The free folk do not hate northmen as much as they hate the "crows" of the Night's Watch, who represent the gate keepers holding them beyond the Wall. The free folk do not spare brothers of the Night's Watch, unless they break their oaths and prove it. However, the two groups are not beyond some form of cooperation. The two groups sometimes trade at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea lost brothers have been aided by free folk, and the Watch sometimes take free folk children and raise them to be members.