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The Jingo

Down with the Free Folk

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Did anyone else get this feel when they were reading the books? Like I know the Jon Snow POVs are suppose to endear us to them and prove like I don't know, these people are 'just like us only differently cultured' and so forth. But I feel it falls flat because every time we turn around the Wildlings are just generally doing heinous stuff.

Like I don't know. I know that the Others are a thing but it's honestly hard for me to muster up anything resembling sympathy for a bunch of violent raiders and rapists. I kind of feel like you know if they could get away with it the Watch should have just forced them to stay North of the Wall.

It seems kind of unfair that they can attack and terrorize a society for thousands of years and then demand that society's protection simply because a new kid and his zombie bois move into the neighborhood. Just like the Ironborn - screw those guys too.

(Logistically impossible I know because they'd become an unstoppable corpse army, but still if it was possible)

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4 minutes ago, The Jingo said:

Did anyone else get this feel when they were reading the books? Like I know the Jon Snow POVs are suppose to endear us to them and prove like I don't know, these people are 'just like us only differently cultured' and so forth. But I feel it falls flat because every time we turn around the Wildlings are just generally doing heinous stuff.

Like I don't know. I know that the Others are a thing but it's honestly hard for me to muster up anything resembling sympathy for a bunch of violent raiders and rapists. I kind of feel like you know if they could get away with it the Watch should have just forced them to stay North of the Wall.

It seems kind of unfair that they can attack and terrorize a society for thousands of years and then demand that society's protection simply because a new kid and his zombie bois move into the neighborhood. Just like the Ironborn - screw those guys too.

(Logistically impossible I know because they'd become an unstoppable corpse army, but still if it was possible)

I get the 'All the likeable characters' in this verse deserved to die' vibe from you.....-_-

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1 minute ago, DR Supporter said:

I get the 'All the likeable characters' in this verse deserved to die' vibe from you.....-_-

No. I like Robb Stark, despite arguing his decisions were really stupid. I didn't want him to die. I would have rather seen him pay for his mistake but live and learn from it and become a better-for-it lord. Hence why I really do like post-Red Wedding fics where Robb lives.

I liked Theon too. I didn't care for the whole gelding and flaying thing Martin has going on with him. He's a flawed character and he's paying for those flaws.

What I don't like is when these mistakes are played off on the basis on period-atypical expectations. Robb maybe did the right thing by modern standards which privileges love, but he did the wrong thing by Westerosi standards which privileges oaths and honor, and he should be subject to the setting he lives in. He should pay for that mistake in some way or another, not be given a karma pass because it makes people feel good.

As it relates to this topic - who among the wildlings is actually likeable? They're just a bunch of dudes like Rattleshirt that kill people for the lulz, or they're like Mance and Ygritte who just go "u no nothin jon snow u fekin kneeler' and arrogantly mock the culture and people that they expect to protect them. If being one of the 'Free Folk' is so great then go do that rather than stealing from the 'kneelers'.

It's pretty hypocritical to look down on someone while doing everything you can to steal the fruits of his way of life.

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2 minutes ago, The Jingo said:

No. I like Robb Stark, despite arguing his decisions were really stupid. I didn't want him to die. I would have rather seen him pay for his mistake but live and learn from it and become a better-for-it lord. Hence why I really do like post-Red Wedding fics where Robb lives.

I liked Theon too. I didn't care for the whole gelding and flaying thing Martin has going on with him. He's a flawed character and he's paying for those flaws.

What I don't like is when these mistakes are played off on the basis on period-atypical expectations. Robb maybe did the right thing by modern standards which privileges love, but he did the wrong thing by Westerosi standards which privileges oaths and honor, and he should be subject to the setting he lives in. He should pay for that mistake in some way or another, not be given a karma pass because it makes people feel good.

As it relates to this topic - who among the wildlings is actually likeable? They're just a bunch of dudes like Rattleshirt that kill people for the lulz, or they're like Mance and Ygritte who just go "u no nothin jon snow u fekin kneeler' and arrogantly mock the culture and people that they expect to protect them. If being one of the 'Free Folk' is so great then go do that rather than stealing from the 'kneelers'.

It's pretty hypocritical to look down on someone while doing everything you can to steal the fruits of his way of life.

Gilly.

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Just now, DR Supporter said:

Gilly.

Yeah, actually Gilly is a nice girl. But Gilly doesn't really seem to identify as one of the "Free Folk".  She seems to have no real problem following the rules and expectations of the 'kneelers', which I suppose doesn't make her a proper wildling at all.

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Also, you're like 'the Free Folk killed for the lulz, so they're bad', and then turn around to say 'oh, yeah, this dude killed this younger dude for the lulz, but the younger dude was stupid and deserved to die' in the same breath.

Edited by DR Supporter

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It's reasonable to make a compromise. Maybe this generation will not become fully integrated, but their children might.

To say wildlings don't deserve a chance to be civilized is like saying all tribes of old didn't deserve it in the real world. But they actually managed and look, not barbaric anymore.

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2 hours ago, The Jingo said:

Did anyone else get this feel when they were reading the books? Like I know the Jon Snow POVs are suppose to endear us to them and prove like I don't know, these people are 'just like us only differently cultured' and so forth. But I feel it falls flat because every time we turn around the Wildlings are just generally doing heinous stuff.

That's a bit of a sweeping statement.

The people who crossed south of the Wall haven't been doing anything heinous as far as I remember. The first wave was told to burn weirwood branches and give up their gods. The second wave of people gave up hostages and valuables.

2 hours ago, The Jingo said:

 Like I don't know. I know that the Others are a thing but it's honestly hard for me to muster up anything resembling sympathy for a bunch of violent raiders and rapists. I kind of feel like you know if they could get away with it the Watch should have just forced them to stay North of the Wall.

Off the top of my head, Varamyr who is a self-admitted rapist died, the Weeper is still north of the Wall, Rattleshirt was burned, Alfyn Crowkiller was killed all the way back in ACoK.

Is Ramsay any better than these men? He lives south of the Wall, he is a rapist and a murderer, he has been terrorizing women, he has raped Jeyne Poole repeatedly and wanted her to do things with his dogs. He himself, is a child of a violent rape. Gregor Clegane, Euron Greyjoy, Amory Lorch, the Brave Companions, the man of the Night's Watch at Eastwatch who has seven-pointed stars tattooed on him for every septa he raped. I guess all these people are more civilized than the wildlings, then? The Night's Watch alone has become a penal colony for rapists and murderers.

Val had reminded him of that, on his last visit with her. "Free folk and kneelers are more alike than not, Jon Snow. Men are men and women are 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 you do." (Jon V, ADwD 21)

Edited by Alexis-something-Rose

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1 hour ago, The Jingo said:

Did anyone else get this feel when they were reading the books? Like I know the Jon Snow POVs are suppose to endear us to them and prove like I don't know, these people are 'just like us only differently cultured' and so forth. But I feel it falls flat because every time we turn around the Wildlings are just generally doing heinous stuff.

~snipped~

Most all of that is false fear from certain people’s south of the wall that “need” an enemy  because they have forgotten their way. It is exaggeration for many reasons. Sure, those like the Weeper are the “wildlings” but *most* are simply free folk of various clans. This is part of Jon’s purpose, to give readers a first point of view of this truth that, like Val says, they are the same as everyone else- a mix of good and bad. And they also have first hand experience with fighting wights/Others as well as just generally being able to survive in extremely harsh (post apocalyptic?) conditions. While many will die from all sides, Westeros needs people with this knowledge and experience, which is why GRRM put Jon into his own college/learning/hippie free folk arc. 

Justy wait, you’ll see they ain’t so bad when it comes to the crunch :D

Think about it, the true monsters in the story are the ones like Roose, Tywin, Vargo Hoat, etc... 

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3 hours ago, Alexis-something-Rose said:

Val had reminded him of that, on his last visit with her. "Free folk and kneelers are more alike than not, Jon Snow. Men are men and women are 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 you do." (Jon V, ADwD 21)

I think that's a little bit too bright an interpretation. Of course there are good and bad people among the wildlings. That's trivial. The problem is the innate cruelty and aggression of their culture. The people of the Seven Kingdoms do not routinely raid and plunder the lands beyond the Wall, do they? They don't steal their women, property, and winter provisions, right? They never invaded their lands in a concentrated effort to conquer them as far as we know (whereas the entirety of the known history of the 'united wildlings' seems to be the attempts of their so-called kings to invade and conquer the Seven Kingdoms/North).

In fact, since Aegon's Conquest the only war the people of the Seven Kingdom waged outside their own territory was the War of the Ninepenny Kings, resolving a Westerosi issue.

None of that makes their culture particularly pleasant. And it is indeed utter hypocrisy by Mance Rayder to attack the Seven Kingdoms/Night's Watch and at the same time trying to seek refuge in the Seven Kingdoms and enjoy the protection of the Wall/NW.

Not to mention the harshness of the society due to their limited resources and long winters. One assumes that there fifty Gillys for a single Ygritte.

Edited by Lord Varys

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3 hours ago, The Jingo said:

Did anyone else get this feel when they were reading the books? Like I know the Jon Snow POVs are suppose to endear us to them and prove like I don't know, these people are 'just like us only differently cultured' and so forth. But I feel it falls flat because every time we turn around the Wildlings are just generally doing heinous stuff.

Like I don't know. I know that the Others are a thing but it's honestly hard for me to muster up anything resembling sympathy for a bunch of violent raiders and rapists. I kind of feel like you know if they could get away with it the Watch should have just forced them to stay North of the Wall.

It seems kind of unfair that they can attack and terrorize a society for thousands of years and then demand that society's protection simply because a new kid and his zombie bois move into the neighborhood. Just like the Ironborn - screw those guys too.

(Logistically impossible I know because they'd become an unstoppable corpse army, but still if it was possible)

The wildlings are an awful people.  Picture a people who does not want to have to answer laws, they are disgusted by those who kneel and obey laws, but on the flipside, these barbarians cross the wall and murder the better man.  They raid those who are more civilized and are law-abiding.  The wildlings are disgusting.  Harma Dogshead, the Weeper, Tormund, Mance Rayder, Rattleshirt are all terrible people.  

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The wildlings are a mixed bag like everyone in Westeros. They do some stuff that I really, really don't like sometimes and I won't whitewash it, but when you logic it out, it makes a lot of sense. As for the rapists, yeah, there are rapists among the wildlings - just like the rest of Westeros. Southern Westeros holds that it's impossible to rape one's wife and that's just for a start. 

You can't live a southern sort of life north of the wall. Not possible. Have you tried to farm frozen dirt? Doesn't work so well. Try it sometime. Even much further south in Winterfell, they get summer snow. Hence, the wildlings are a raiding culture not unlike the Ironborn who also have terrible land for farming. I viciously hate their raiding of women, especially south of the Wall, but they're trying to keep the blood mixed and for good reason. Here's a timely real life example of why you need to keep introducing new blood. https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/16/health/amish-children-sudden-deaths-mystery-trnd/index.html. Val's wanting to off Shireen is very abrasively delivered and bordering on cruel, but there's a very logical reason for that too. Letting her live is a different cruelty - to everyone. It's kinda brutal, but it's a very hard place to live and proving their viability in that environment is essential to their survival. 

To a lesser degree, we live like this. In cultures where living is harder like cold climates, a lot of southern-favored niceties, frivolities and manners would have us dead in a cold, hard winter. The delicate stereo-typical Southern Belle would die in no time if she didn't toughen up fast so northern societies tend to have less defined gender roles. Look around the world - people in northern climates are harder because it's what required and those living in more temperate climates tend toward what Westeros' recognizes as Southern ways. 

 

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The cultural hero whom they admire was likely a rapist who went to war with his own son, born of rape - not a good lewk.

But they do serve as an interesting example of a realistic society, based around a clan.

I like the FF in general, but I don't really care for the main characters chosen to "speak" for them. I find Ygritte annoying, Val boring, and Tormund is basically the Greatjon with more lines.

Pretty much all I hear in every scene is:

"Hey king crow! [insert sassy dressing down here] you think you can [do a thing] better than us just because you're a southerner!" **threaten [to cut off balls/slit a throat/beat someone in the practice yard**

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7 hours ago, DR Supporter said:

Also, you're like 'the Free Folk killed for the lulz, so they're bad', and then turn around to say 'oh, yeah, this dude killed this younger dude for the lulz, but the younger dude was stupid and deserved to die' in the same breath.

Please stop wasting my time with pointless attacks about other arguments that aren't relevant to the topic at hand.

The Wildlings have a history of raping and raiding and killing people for other spurious reasons. Roose Bolton and Walder Frey committed an atrocity, but they did it explicitly to advance their families and secure peace with the crown. They weren't wildlings, who do such things as a general matter of policy.
 

6 hours ago, The Sunland Lord said:

It's reasonable to make a compromise. Maybe this generation will not become fully integrated, but their children might.

To say wildlings don't deserve a chance to be civilized is like saying all tribes of old didn't deserve it in the real world. But they actually managed and look, not barbaric anymore.

I would say that the only wildlings that deserve to be in the North are those willing to be civilized. If you are willing to take the knee, to swear by the gods to honor the laws and customs of the Seven Kingdoms, then sure there's no reason why you shouldn't be allowed to come south and have your farm and a mule or whatever.

But if you're willing to take the knee, then you're not really one of the 'free folk' to begin with.
 

6 hours ago, Alexis-something-Rose said:

Snip

 

6 hours ago, kissdbyfire said:

Snip

 

6 hours ago, The Fattest Leech said:

Snip

I think that Varys addressed most of these. Ultimately, while there are always exceptions in the sense that you can find a decent person here or there, we're not talking about individual cases. We're talking about the general culture of those who live north of the Wall. And that culture is one that reveres stealing and violence.

2 hours ago, Lollygag said:

The wildlings are a mixed bag like everyone in Westeros. They do some stuff that I really, really don't like sometimes and I won't whitewash it, but when you logic it out, it makes a lot of sense. As for the rapists, yeah, there are rapists among the wildlings - just like the rest of Westeros. Southern Westeros holds that it's impossible to rape one's wife and that's just for a start. 

You can't live a southern sort of life north of the wall. Not possible. Have you tried to farm frozen dirt? Doesn't work so well. Try it sometime. Even much further south in Winterfell, they get summer snow. Hence, the wildlings are a raiding culture not unlike the Ironborn who also have terrible land for farming. I viciously hate their raiding of women, especially south of the Wall, but they're trying to keep the blood mixed and for good reason. Here's a timely real life example of why you need to keep introducing new blood. https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/16/health/amish-children-sudden-deaths-mystery-trnd/index.html. Val's wanting to off Shireen is very abrasively delivered and bordering on cruel, but there's a very logical reason for that too. Letting her live is a different cruelty - to everyone. It's kinda brutal, but it's a very hard place to live and proving their viability in that environment is essential to their survival. 

To a lesser degree, we live like this. In cultures where living is harder like cold climates, a lot of southern-favored niceties, frivolities and manners would have us dead in a cold, hard winter. The delicate stereo-typical Southern Belle would die in no time if she didn't toughen up fast so northern societies tend to have less defined gender roles. Look around the world - people in northern climates are harder because it's what required and those living in more temperate climates tend toward what Westeros' recognizes as Southern ways. 

 

Whether you can live a 'southern sort of life' above the Wall is kind of irrelevant. No one is expecting the wildings to make silk and spin gold out of the ground. They subsist as they have to.

But if you're living somewhere where you can afford to survive without spending your days dodging past the Wall to murder and rape the people south of it, then you need to re-evaluate your priorities. Accept that you're growing overpopulated in your land and move south and agree to swear by the laws and customs of the south. God knows there's enough land in the North for everyone as long as they agree to work hard and live by the swear of their brow rather than what they can steal at the edge of a sword.

Further, while I understand the root causes of why the wildlings raid for resources and fresh blood, the same way that the Ironborn reave and rape in serach of those things, that's not the same as sympathizing with them. If you live in a deprived land I can understand why you would want to mount raids against your neighbors, but that doesn't make you any less immoral. It doesn't mean that said neighbor shouldn't mount up an army and exterminate your people down to the last child.

If your land can't support its people, then you need to move to another land. If you refuse to do so, then you're responsible for whatever befalls you afterwards.

Edited by The Jingo

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56 minutes ago, The Jingo said:

Whether you can live a 'southern sort of life' above the Wall is kind of irrelevant. No one is expecting the wildings to make silk and spin gold out of the ground. They subsist as they have to.

But if you're living somewhere where you can afford to survive without spending your days dodging past the Wall to murder and rape the people south of it, then you need to re-evaluate your priorities. Accept that you're growing overpopulated in your land and move south and agree to swear by the laws and customs of the south. God knows there's enough land in the North for everyone as long as they agree to work hard and live by the swear of their brow rather than what they can steal at the edge of a sword.

Further, while I understand the root causes of why the wildlings raid for resources and fresh blood, the same way that the Ironborn reave and rape in serach of those things, that's not the same as sympathizing with them. If you live in a deprived land I can understand why you would want to mount raids against your neighbors, but that doesn't make you any less immoral. It doesn't mean that said neighbor shouldn't mount up an army and exterminate your people down to the last child.

If your land can't support its people, then you need to move to another land. If you refuse to do so, then you're responsible for whatever befalls you afterwards.

By southern type life, I meant how small folk live in the south, not how the highborn live. 

Bold 1: they aren't overpopulated at all and that's not how people work. People don't change cultures like they change clothes and it would be bad writing. Especially rural people who come from a very specific culture. 

Bold 2: That's it. You're supposed to sympathize with being born in a hard place and being stuck there. That's enough. You don't have to sympathize with how they handle it. They don't have good options which are believable for characters (see above). Classic GRRM. 

I agree that Northerners have good reason to not like or trust the wildlings. I wouldn't forgive them either for their attacks or if they stole my daughter and I never saw her again. But the Northerners also signed up for it with the Wall business. That's kinda part of the Game of Thrones theme.

I don't think we're supposed to excuse or rationalize immoral acts in the books. We're just supposed to understand them. There's a difference. 

 

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One has to keep in mind that the people beyond the Wall aren't all the same. They are not all free folk - some of them are, others are like Craster and his women, then there are the hornfoot men, the cave dwellers, the cannibals, the Thenns, the giants, the Milkwater tribes, the giants, etc. These are vastly different peoples who just appear as a vast cultural entity because most of them ended up acknowledging Mance Rayder as their king.

Under normal circumstances - and again after Mance is captured - they constantly war against each other. The things they do to the Night's Watch and the Northmen in their raids they also do to each other on a regular basis.

This kind of constant warfare and raiding definitely makes life up there more unpleasant than it is in the Seven Kingdoms. They have fewer resources and no lasting peace. Which is why the apparent equality they have only profits the elite women, i.e. such women who are as strong as Ygritte - meaning willing to say she is going to kill anyone who is trying to steal her against her will. Which, quite frankly, isn't the kind of thing every person living in that culture would be able to do nor is it something that's actually practical. Because if Ygritte were stolen by a band of raiders from her village they would carry her to another place where she would not be surrounded by her raper-husband but also by his family and friends - who would, one assumes, immediately avenge his death were Ygritte actually killing him in his sleep.

As for wildling life vs. smallfolk down south - I think the latter still have a better life. They are rulers and servants among the wildlings, too. Tormund is a clan chief living in a fancy long hall, meaning other people in his clan/sphere of influence are subject to his rule. There are masters and servants among the wildlings, too, just as there are lords and peasants among them (they aren't a hunter-gatherer culture, after all, living in in villages). The only difference between them and the Seven Kingdoms is that the situation north of the Wall is much more unstable, meaning the chances that some raiders come and take your women and your winter provisions and burn your homes are much, much higher than they are in the Seven Kingdoms.

As far their issues with the Wall - their ancestors must have known why the Wall was built and that they would be in danger from the Others and their wights beyond the Wall. Yet they insisted on staying there, it seems. They did have millennia to migrate down south just as they had decades and possible centuries since the Others have returned to conclude that the magical ice wall was indeed built to keep the ice demons out of the realms of men, meaning they should have asked the people down there for help and protection.

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

They are not all free folk - some of them are, others are like Craster and his women,

I can’t recall a single reference to anyone else being like Craster. In fact, Ygritte tells Jon that...

“Craster weds his daughters,” Jon pointed out.
She punched him again. “Craster’s more your kind than ours. His father was a crow who stole a woman out of Whitetree village, but after he had her he flew back t’ his Wall. She went t’ Castle Black once t’ show the crow his son, but the brothers blew their horns and run her off. Craster’s blood is black, and he bears a heavy curse.”

 

 

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3 hours ago, kissdbyfire said:

I can’t recall a single reference to anyone else being like Craster. In fact, Ygritte tells Jon that...

“Craster weds his daughters,” Jon pointed out.
She punched him again. “Craster’s more your kind than ours. His father was a crow who stole a woman out of Whitetree village, but after he had her he flew back t’ his Wall. She went t’ Castle Black once t’ show the crow his son, but the brothers blew their horns and run her off. Craster’s blood is black, and he bears a heavy curse.”

Oh, I didn't mean exactly like Craster. But do you have ever asked yourself how Craster was able to strike his deal with the Others if his father was a black brother? He must have learned that from his dear wildling mother or her family, kin, friends. Not all wildlings are like the better guys there. I expect many of them to worship the Others, some of which might now in south of the Wall.

Ygritte herself is no good person, either, by the way. She is a female raider and a cold-blooded murderess. She has no problems murdering people who are defenseless and weak.

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For all their faults, the Free Folk have still identified who the real enemy are.  The Nights Watch had unwittingly allied themselves to the Others.

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