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Why did the Wildlings Cross the Wall?


Corvo the Crow
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To get to the "Other" side. Joke aside, this thread is intended for a serious discussion unlike some others I open for the fun of it.

Why do the wildlings live beyond the wall in the first place? If they lived beyond that point already, surely they must've noticed the huge wall being built that would cut them off from the rest of humanity and leave them on the Other's side. Earliest account we have on people beyond the Wall is of Joramun, who lived during the time of the 13th LC, who was probably the Last Hero and actually not the 13th but the 1st LC, only thought as 13th because he was the sole remaining member of the party of thirteen. Ancestors of what would eventually become the Wildlings, whether the LC was actually 13th or the 1st LC remembered as 13th wouldn't be too much different than the rest of the First Men of the time, they had their "king" just like the rest of the First Men at the time and in fact we know that Thenns have managed to preserve a society structure so the wildlings must've only devolved after being left on the Other side of the wall. If they weren't that different from the rest of the First Men, why did they went/stayed north of the wall? Why did Brandon the Breaker not allow them to come south? 

My guess is they may have been the descendants of the original NW, Joramun helped bring down the Night's King, he may even have done it by himself(well with his own followers) without help from the Starks but Brandon expelled them beyond the wall. That is why Joramun tried to come south and why Starks didn't allow them, a people who they should have had no bad blood at the time since the Long Night, building of the Wall, Night's King etc was all very recent events. As for why/how they have women among them, it has long been speculated from Sam's answer to the  Black Gate's question "Who are you" that original NW wows probably didn't have the "I shall take no wife, father no children" bit.

What are your thoughts?

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I would assume that, when the Wall was built, there were already people living further North. They didn't have to cross the Wall; they just stayed where they had lived for centuries.

Here on Earth, there are people who live in very cold places, as well as very hot places, and other places that are difficult or dangerous to live in for one reason or another. Most of these people could leave if they wanted to, and live somewhere safer and more comfortable; but they don't. People tend to form an attachment to the place where they grew up; and humans are extremely good at adapting to live in any environment.

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There are such things as boats.  During any lulls in Other activity, people simply can't be stopped from getting beyond the Wall.  And once they get there, they can't be stopped from thriving and reproducing.  And if they don't have enough women, they can always raid and kidnap, which is apparently one of their specialties.

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26 minutes ago, Gilbert Green said:

There are such things as boats.  During any lulls in Other activity, people simply can't be stopped from getting beyond the Wall.  And once they get there, they can't be stopped from thriving and reproducing.  And if they don't have enough women, they can always raid and kidnap, which is apparently one of their specialties.

Why would someone go beyond the wall ? A cold desolate place with a sinister reputation, no towns or cities.

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2 hours ago, Tyrosh Lannister said:

Why would someone go beyond the wall ? A cold desolate place with a sinister reputation, no towns or cities.

To escape justice and competition.  And it isn't even above the tree line.  Pretty much all such places have been inhabited in our world.  And as for the bogeymen, there are many who don't even believe in them.

Why did people settle in Iceland?

Edited by Gilbert Green
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7 hours ago, Aebram said:

I would assume that, when the Wall was built, there were already people living further North. They didn't have to cross the Wall; they just stayed where they had lived for centuries.

Here on Earth, there are people who live in very cold places, as well as very hot places, and other places that are difficult or dangerous to live in for one reason or another. Most of these people could leave if they wanted to, and live somewhere safer and more comfortable; but they don't. People tend to form an attachment to the place where they grew up; and humans are extremely good at adapting to live in any environment.

But here on earth we don’t build walls that would cut them off from the rest of humanity and leave them on the Others side. Even if they were living on the Others side remember this is a short time after the Long Night they should’ve wanted to leave -and they did- and they should’ve been allowed -but they weren’t- to leave. Now that I think of it, this is all post Long Night, so it should be devoid of humans anyway due to both death and people escaping south, I really should’ve added this bit as well.

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1 hour ago, Gilbert Green said:

An ocean is a more impressive barrier than an ice wall.  And it did not stop the iceland settlers.  The ice wall stops the Others and their wights, and wildling in large numbers.  Small numbers can get through.

Problem is, Joramun tries to come south. If these were outlaws that escaped beyond the wall on their own volition, why try to come back and not even sneakily but in a large group?

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4 hours ago, Corvo the Crow said:

Problem is, Joramun tries to come south. If these were outlaws that escaped beyond the wall on their own volition, why try to come back and not even sneakily but in a large group?

Because people are always moving and doing things, regardless of what their great great grandparents did.

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Well, we know the Starks of old were competitive, brutal kings.  They subjugated everyone else in the North.  Maybe there were no people beyond the Wall (I suspect that was part of an agreement with the Children) before people moved there to escape the Starks.  The Free Folk are a collection of tribes, not one group of people.  Maybe all the family lines that didn't want to live under ancient Stark rule made their way North?

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1 hour ago, Ring3r said:

Well, we know the Starks of old were competitive, brutal kings.  They subjugated everyone else in the North.  Maybe there were no people beyond the Wall (I suspect that was part of an agreement with the Children) before people moved there to escape the Starks.  The Free Folk are a collection of tribes, not one group of people.  Maybe all the family lines that didn't want to live under ancient Stark rule made their way North?

But why were they allowed to cross? They shouldn't have been allowed to cross to north of Wall, because with the memory of Long Night still strong, leaving people beyond it means a supply of fresh, or rather decaying, bodies for the Others if they choose to attack.

Edited by Corvo the Crow
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44 minutes ago, Corvo the Crow said:

But why were they allowed to cross? They shouldn't have been allowed to cross to north of Wall, because with the memory of Long Night still strong, leaving people beyond it means a supply of fresh, or rather decaying, bodies for the Others if they choose to attack.

We don't really know how long ago they crossed.  After thousands of years, with the Starks basically leading the manning of the Wall, if there were other tribes of people and they wanted to get away from the Starks and the memory of the others had passed into legend...what better place to go than beyond this giant boundary that your enemies say they don't want you to cross?

Basic human nature.  Any authority figure that is seen as oppressive, unfair, wrong, etc.....if that authority attempts to exert control, many people will invariably do the exact opposite.

Edited by Ring3r
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22 hours ago, Gilbert Green said:

To escape justice and competition.  And it isn't even above the tree line.  Pretty much all such places have been inhabited in our world.  And as for the bogeymen, there are many who don't even believe in them.

Why did people settle in Iceland?

But then wouldn't some part of their culture remain? 

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8 hours ago, Ring3r said:

We don't really know how long ago they crossed.  After thousands of years, with the Starks basically leading the manning of the Wall, if there were other tribes of people and they wanted to get away from the Starks and the memory of the others had passed into legend...what better place to go than beyond this giant boundary that your enemies say they don't want you to cross?

Basic human nature.  Any authority figure that is seen as oppressive, unfair, wrong, etc.....if that authority attempts to exert control, many people will invariably do the exact opposite.

The guy Joramun fought is supposed to be 13th commander, it wouldn’t be thousands of years it would be a couple of hundred years at most if he indeed was 13th LC and not the 1st LC, Last Hero, 13th member of the company. It may seem long to us but for Westerosi it’s nothing, Robert’s Rebellion may as well happened yesterday and Aegon the Impotents invasion happened a week before in the eyes of these people. They not only cross to north but also try to come back within the same generation.

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1 hour ago, Gilbert Green said:

I don't understand the question.  The wildlings have the same language as Westeros.

Yeah that was wrong on George's part. 

Also the Thenn speak the old tongue . Wonder where they came from and why they decided to live there ? The valley they live in seems to be better off than other parts of this land 

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I think criminals and other people who had reasons to make haste made their way north of the wall, and there they mixed with the small number of indigenous people who lived there to begin with.

That could explain the almost identical dialect they speak with the Northmen and the fact they even speak the common tongue to begin with.

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1 hour ago, hnv said:

That could explain the almost identical dialect they speak with the Northmen and the fact they even speak the common tongue to begin with.

Poor world building explains it better. Since there’s no explanation of the Northman speaking common tongue in the first place.

1 hour ago, hnv said:

I think criminals and other people who had reasons to make haste made their way north of the wall, and there they mixed with the small number of indigenous people who lived there to begin with.

And why did they even want to return under Joramun’s leadership?

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5 minutes ago, Corvo the Crow said:

Poor world building explains it better. Since there’s no explanation of the Northman speaking common tongue in the first place.

And why did they even want to return under Joramun’s leadership?

Well the simpleton might answer they are all blood thirsty people. 

I think the truth is closer to what happened with Viking expansion. The lands beyond the wall can't support a lot of people and every now and then they get overpopulated, and a big cohort of young people becomes politically unstable and seek expansion.

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