Beyond the Wall is the colloquial term given for the northern-most part of the continent of Westeros, that part which lies north of the Wall. This region is not controlled by the Iron Throne, instead being home to tribesmen and villagers known as the Free Folk, whom those south of the Wall usually call wildlings. This region is bordered to the north by the endless frozen wasteland known as the Lands of Always Winter, to the east by the Shivering Sea and to the west by the Sunset Sea. The Wall and the Bay of Ice form the southern edge of this region.
The lands beyond the Wall are divided into several lesser regions. Immediately north of the Wall lies the immense Haunted Forest, which extends northwards for several hundred miles. The forest is home to several wildling villages, such as Whitetree, and various homesteads such as Craster's Keep. In the north-east lies the peninsula of Storrold's Point, at the tip of which lies Hardhome, the largest wildling settlement in their history. This settlement was destroyed by fire several centuries ago under mysterious circumstances.
To the east of the Haunted Forest lies the Frostfangs, a substantial mountain range extending from the Lands of Always Winter south into the North of the Seven Kingdoms. There are two major passes through the mountains, the Skirling Pass and the Giant's Stair. The tallest peak in the chain is the Forktop. The Milkwater River runs along the feet of the Frostfangs and is fed by streams running off the peaks. The Fist of the First Men is a notable hill overlooking the Milkwater and the Frostfangs in this area.
Beyond the mountains lies the Frozen Shore, a more open area bordering the Bay of Ice to the south. Fisherfolk and raiders live in this area, sometimes sailing south to attack Bear Island and the lands around Deepwood Motte.
In the far north of the Frostfangs lies the hospitable valley known as Thenn.
The wildling territories extend northwards from the Wall for approximately 700 miles before petering out in the endless ice of the Lands of Always Winter.
Most of the time, the lands beyond the Wall are divided between tribes, clans and villages which are independent and ruled by their own chieftains, petty kings or warlords. They spend more time raiding one another than they do troubling the Night's Watch or Seven Kingdoms.
However, on rare occasions, a charismatic or capable warleader will emerge and unite most of the clans behind him. These Kings-beyond-the-Wall, commanding immense manpower, will usually attempt to use these resources to breach the Wall and invade the Seven Kingdoms. The most successful recent attempts were by Raymun Redbeard, who invaded the North before being defeated at the Battle of Long Lake by the Starks and Umbers, and by Mance Rayder, whose host assaulted the Wall at Castle Black before being defeated by the Night's Watch in alliance with Stannis Baratheon.
The wildlings consist of archers, swordsmen, axe-wielders and spearmen. Unlike in most parts of Westeros, women fight alongside the men and are known as 'spearwives'. There are few horses north of the Wall, denying the wildlings heavy cavalry. However, they do employ giants riding mammoths as heavy shock troops under extreme circumstances (the small numbers of both discourages throwing them away too easily).
The discipline and reliability of wildling troops varies notably from clan to clan and tribe to tribe.
The wildlings are strongly descended from the blood of the First Men. However, deserters from the Night's Watch have also spread the blood of the Andals and Rhoynar amongst them. The wildlings are especially notable for their alliance with the giants, a non-human race dwelling in the Frostfangs.
Eight thousand years ago, after the War for the Dawn, the Wall was raised by Bran the Builder to prevent the return of the Others. However, some people refused to abandon their homes north of the Wall and chose to continue living there, despite the risk from the Others. As the millennia passed and the Others did not reappear and faded to myth, the wildlings grew in number, warring with one another and the Night's Watch manning the Wall. This led to the belief that the Wall was meant to keep out the wildlings, not the Others.
Recently, Jon Snow has forged an alliance between the wildlings, the Night's Watch and the forces under Stannis Baratheon to stand against the threat of the Others. However, Snow was cut down by his own followers amongst the Watch and apparently slain, and the future of the alliance is now uncertain.