Beyond the Wall
The lands beyond the Wall are primarily wild, untamed and uncharted. The climate is harsh and bitter, especially in the far north in the Lands of Always Winter. The region immediately north of the Wall includes the haunted forest, a vast taiga-forest which covers most of the area, extending from the Wall to the furthest lands of Thenn. While no true roads exist, numerous game trails, paths, and old streambeds, called "ranger roads", are used by the Night's Watch and free folk alike.
The haunted forest extends from the eastern coast to a large mountain chain in the west, the Frostfangs. These inhospitable mountains extend an unknown distance to the north. Notable features include the Giant's Stair and the Skirling Pass. The Milkwater, the great river beyond the Wall, has its origins in the Frostfangs. Thenn is a hidden valley in the mountains.
Southwest of the Frostfangs is the Frozen Shore, a narrow strip of land between the mountains and the Bay of Ice. Along the east coast is the Antler River, which flows into the Shivering Sea. The easternmost region beyond the Wall is the forested peninsula Storrold's Point, which contains the ruins of the only free folk town, Hardhome.
Beyond all of these areas, in the furthest north, is the Land of Always Winter. The haunted forest ends and gives way to these polar regions, which are unexplored.
The people inhabiting the land refer to themselves as the "free folk", but are known by the people of the Seven Kingdoms as "wildlings". The lands beyond the Wall are bitterly cold year round, but many free folk reside from the furthest reaches of the haunted forest to the hidden valleys of the Frostfangs, including the valley of Thenn. The Thenns are surrounded by cave dwellers, Hornfoots, giants, and the ice-river clans. Other tribes include Nightrunners and men of the Frozen Shore.
Some free folk are little more than savage and primitive raiders, but other groups live in small, settled communities and villages. Due to the impracticality of agriculture in the far north, many of them are hunters.
Maesters believe that giants are extinct, but some still live beyond the Wall. A group of children of the forest reside within the cave of the three-eyed crow. The Others are rumored to originate in the depths of the Land of Always Winter.
Redwyn, a ranger of the Night's Watch, explored from the Shadow Tower to Lorn Point during the reign of Dorren Stark, King in the North. Another king, Theon Stark, joined the Night's Watch in a venture north of the Wall which weakened the free folk for a generation.
Brynden Rivers, Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, vanished during a ranging beyond the Wall in 252 AC. It is sometimes suggested that the lords of the north be allowed to extend their power beyond the Wall to end the threat of wildling raids.
Texts about the region include History of the Kings-Beyond-the-Wall by Maester Herryk and Hardhome: An Account of Three Years Spent Beyond-the-Wall among Savages, Raiders, and Woods-witches by Maester Wyllis.
A Game of Thrones
Ser Waymar Royce leads a ranging party in the haunted forest, but he is slain by Others and rises as a wight. Benjen Stark, the First Ranger, searches for Waymar beyond the Wall, but Benjen also disappears.
A Clash of Kings
Jon Snow participates in the great ranging to investigate the conflict beyond the Wall. The Night's Watch discover that Whitetree has been abandoned. Jon is captured by Rattleshirt in the Skirling Pass and fights Qhorin Halfhand to the death.
A Storm of Swords
Mance Rayder, the King-Beyond-the-Wall, leads the free folk into attacking the gate through the Wall at Castle Black. They are defeated by Stannis Baratheon in the battle beneath the Wall, however.
A Dance with Dragons
With Mance a captive of Stannis, the free folk host is broken, with some submitting to Stannis and the Night's Watch and others scattering. Jon Snow, now Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, frees Val so she can find Tormund in the wilderness and negotiate the passage of his followers through the Wall. Jon sends Cotter Pyke with ships to rescue free folk at Hardhome, but the free folk do not trust the Night's Watch and Maester Harmune writes of dead things in the water.
—thoughts of Bran Stark
Behind the Scenes
According to George R. R. Martin, the lands beyond the Wall are probably larger than Greenland. The terrain closer to the Wall is reminiscent of forested Canada, while the Arctic lands further north have tundra and ice fields.
- The Lands of Ice and Fire, Beyond the Wall.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 13, Jon II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 26, Jon III.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 39, Jon VIII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 51, Jon VI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Prologue.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 48, Jon VI.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 23, Jon III.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 35, Jon VII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 15, Jon II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 53, Bran VI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 13, Bran II.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Long Night.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 6, Jon I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Dawn Age.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The North: The Kings of Winter.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon V.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Wall and Beyond: The Night's Watch.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Wall and Beyond: The Wildlings.
- A Game of Thrones, Prologue.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 19, Jon III.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 21, Tyrion III.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 68, Jon VIII.
- A Storm of Swords, Prologue.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 18, Samwell I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 33, Samwell II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 75, Samwell IV.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 73, Jon X.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 53, Jon XI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 58, Jon XII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 66, Bran VII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 24, Bran II.
- SmarterTravel: George R.R. Martin Talks Season Two, 'The Winds of Winter,' and Real-World Influences for 'A Song of Ice and Fire' (March 26, 2012)