The free folk, or "Wildlings", are a race of people who live beyond the Wall. There are tens, possibly hundreds of thousands of them, split into different cultures, tribes, clans, and villages. Some are reasonably cultured, while others are quite savage and hostile. The free folk refer to themselves as such to differentiate themselves from the "kneelers," or the people south of the Wall who are subject to lords and kings. They view these "kneelers" as lacking freedom, whereas the people of the Seven Kingdoms view the "wildlings" as being lawless and primitive.
The Wall, which separates the free folk from the rest of Westeros, in many ways also defines them. Due to their isolation they remain a free people - free of states, nobles, kings, and laws, and following whatever leader they please. Keeping to the ways of the First Men, they believe that the gods made the earth for all men to share and that when the kings came with their crowns and their steel swords, they stole it - claiming that it was all theirs and theirs alone.