Editorial Game of Thrones Season 1 Season 4

Player of Thrones: Mance Rayder (The King Beyond the Wall)

In the Game of Thrones you either win or you die. There is no middle ground. Within the Game of Thrones there are many players to take into consideration. We’ve focused on a few that are very familiar to us or just starting to grow on us.

One Player that I have enjoyed getting to know better is one that we heard a lot about early on in the show, but did not meet until the Season 3 premiere. We’ve only seen him a few times since then, and have yet to see him in Season 4. However, we know that he and his army of Giants, Cannibals, and Spearwives (oh my!) are on their way to pay Jon Snow a visit, and light the biggest fire the North has ever seen. This man, that we have all heard mentioned as The King Beyond the Wall, is none other than Mance Rayder.

  Mance Rayder as played by Ciarán Hinds


In this post I plan to talk about Mance Rayder, but also the other Freefolk we have come to love…or hate…

It is said that Mance was born above the wall as a Wildling. When his group was attacked and killed, he was brought to the wall to be a part of the Night’s Watch. He became a very good ranger, as he grew in his duties with his brothers. Mance was saved by a Wildling woman above the wall after being attacked by a shadowcat. She saved his life and helped him recuperate. He journeyed back to the wall only to feel restricted by the sworn vows. One night while on duty at Shadow Tower, Mance decided to depart the wall, forsake his vows, and become Freefolk once again.

As time grew on so did his influence with the Freefolk. He continued to grow into more and more of a leader for multiple clans, but never asked them to bend the knee to him. He began to learn their languages and cultures. They were free men and women able to promote their own lifestyle with out being judged by a king and his rules. Once the Others and their wights began attacking smaller wildling villages, Mance had to bring them together to survive, but they couldn’t stay above the wall. Mance brought together over ninety clans to march below the wall to survive against the Others. The Wall would protect them as it has from the realm for so long. But they couldn’t just come through the gate they would have to march south and fight the Night’s Watch to secure a spot south of the wall.

Some of the mentioned groups that Mance was able to bring together were as follows:

Ygritte: A fierce young woman who is a spear wife in Mance Rayder’s army. Captures Jon Snow, captures Jon Snow’s heart, shoots Jon Snow…He really knows nothing…how could you leave Rose Leslie  Ygritte? She is on Fire! (meow) Ygritte as played by Rose Leslie

Tormund (Giantsbane): One of the most famous wildling raiders. He is a broad man that is instantly mistaken by Jon Snow as Mance Rayder. He leads the climb over the wall and the wildling group that infiltrates south of the wall. I want his beard… Tormund Giantsbane and Mance Rayder. Tormund is played by Kristofer Hivju

Lord of Bones (Rattleshirt): A wildling leader who is known to be sly, cruel, and treacherous. He is an excellent fighter. We first meet him when Ygritte has captured Jon Snow. Do you know how bad ass he is? He wears a helmet made from the skull of a giant….BAD ASS…. Rattleshirt and wildlings. Rattleshirt is portrayed by Edward Dogliani.

Orell: A warging, wildling raider, is jealous of Ygritte and Jon’s relationship, and skeptical of Jon and his allegiance to Mance. He can step inside the consciousness of his eagle, and is an important scout for the Wildling army. He is killed by Jon Snow, but still lives inside of his eagle who carries on the hatred of the crow. Some people are into getting into animals…weird… Orell as played by Mackenzie Crook

Styr and the Thenns: Styr is the Magnar of Thenn and a wildling leader. He leads the Thenn clan, who are all considered to be very hungry individuals with a rare appetite… human. Styr is a ruthless leader that demands his fellow Thenn show him respect. They meet up with our wildling raiding party at the beginning of Season Four. I fucking hate Thenns…. Styr the Magnar of Thenn played by Yuri Kolokolnikov

Giants: Big, ugly, mystical, strong humanoids that will destroy everything in their path if provoked…except maybe the others. Now that’s a scary sight. A wight walker giant… Jon Snow sees one when he first gets to Mance’s camp. FEEE FIIIEEE FOOO FUM. Giant as played by….uh…a Giant…

When Mance is talking to Jon Snow we also learn that he has brought together the Hornfeet clan, known for not wearing shoes hence the name, The Ice-River Clans, who are cannibalistic, and the Cave people, who no one likes and dwell in caves.

All of these clans have come together to form a host of over a hundred thousand men, women, and giants. This host is only hours away from the Wall and plan to take it, for it’s life or certain death for them all. They’ve all journeyed under the trusting leadership of Mance Rayder, to attack the wall and save their people before they become extinct, or worse, walkers.

Title: The King Beyond the Wall, The Mance
Current Role to the Throne: Enemy, Leader of the Freefolk that threaten the realm.
Lands: None.
Wealth: Very little if at all any.
Army: The biggest host in all of Westeros.
Likelihood to become the next King of Westeros: Although he has no claim to the Throne, through sheer number of supporters, he could march out of the north and towards King’s Landing. A lot of people warring against each other right now would have to come together. THE THREAT IS REAL.
King Name: King that Killed Every Noble Family from The Wall to Kings Landing and Beyond.

Because Mance was able to bring together tribes that have been warring against each other for centuries, and is a big people person, I think he will be able to negotiate with influencers below the wall to strengthen his position. But the first obstacle laying in his way are the Others and Walkers. Can he and his host make it to the Wall without being overcome by the overwhelming amount of lethal killers at their backs? Once they make it to the Wall can they take all of the castles being guarded by the Night’s Watch? If he makes it past the wall can he secure the North from the Bolton and Iron Born hosts? Will he be able to win in the Game of Thrones? We shall see!

I would love to hear what you all think about Mance Rayder below. He is one of my personal favorite characters in the books and the HBO show Game of Thrones. What do you like about him what do you not? Make sure those SPOILERS are concealed behind the crow veil.

Check out these other Player of Thrones posts:

Oberyn Martell, The Red Viper
Melisandre, The Red Priestess
Jojen and Meera Reed, The Crannogmen
Petyr Baelish, Littlefinger
Ser Davos Seaworth, The Onion Knight
Sandor and Gregor Clegane (The Hound and The Mountain)
Roose Bolton (Lord of the Dreadfort)


Done in the light of the Lord…



  • crickets…

    Wait…there’s a character named Mance on this show? I thought he was a myth.

  • What the hell is a Mance? Supposed to light a big fire? I’m guessing that’s a type of lighter fluid/charcoal

  • Yeah, there is that huge army of his approaching the wall, but what the hell happened to his lute?

  • MANCE IS RETURNING IN EP9 – It’s confirmed in one of the many trailers

    But my question is whether the Lord of Bones (Rattleshirt) is returning… he had such a presence in the latter episodes of s2 and vanished after s3 ep1… plus he might be needed for future events

  • My biggest complaint with this season, other than that scene in episode 3(you know the one), is, once again, the Night’s Watch/wildling storyline. They are going to dedicate the all important 9th episode to this part of the story, but we have yet to see Mance. All of the NW scenes at Castle Black are focusing on how incompetent the leadership is. Making Thorne acting LC was a mistake. All of his scenes are one note, antagonize Jon scenes. My expectations for episode 9 are quite low. Unlike with ‘Blackwater’, which was great because of the quieter scenes, I expect ‘Watchers On The Wall’ to be 100 percent about the action, and very little else.

  • Seems rather obvious they like Ciran Hands but may have realized they cast him in the wrong role. Is there any other explanation for his absence? And them stalling for time from the book story is really no longer an excuse seeing that they have been inventing many different stories and scenes for characters that may have thin material at this point in the books.

    I really don’t see any other reason for him missing other than that. I feel like Dominic West declining really threw them for a loop.

  • Tyrion Pimpslap,

    Agreed. Would have liked a scout or two to crest a hill and see the onslaught coming (Jon did mention in ep 7 that they did see the army approaching) but I guess a substantial part of the budget has been directed to these final 3 episodes. There is so much stuff to pack into 56 min!

    The dysfunction at CB would have been nice to explore as well as a bit more buildup of Mance’s strategy with his army, which is composed of wildlings, Thenns, giants, and a variety of other groups. (All working together?)

  • Well we know he’s in it from the trailers but I think they could use his absence to their advantage. I think ep9 should open with him lighting the fire.

  • Doug,

    Fuck me with a bloody spear, Dominic West would have been a much more accurate Mance. Not that I have an issue with Ciaran Hinds, he’s just far too old for the part and has less swagger. Could he at least get cast as Euron? With a wig and an eye patch, he will look the part.

  • Mance isn’t even on the show. HotPie’s got more screen time then the king beyond the wall lol.

    btw HotPie is awesome.

  • Tyrion Pimpslap,

    Yeah. I’ve been fine with the wildling scenes so far, but I wish we had a bit more Mance. He’s one of my favorite antagonists from the books and I actually thought Hinds was good in the three scenes he was in last.season. I kind of doubt we’ll see him next episode, but a short scene with him could do wonders for him being the villain of Ep9.

    I would refrain from criticizing “Watchers on the Wall” tho till after we see it. I mean, what is the basis for thinking it will be all action?

  • I find myself impartial to the debate as to whether or not Ciaran Hinds is right for the role. Once they cast him I did think he was a bit old for the part but he is now the actor I associate with that role. On a side note, I am sooooooo happy they didn’t get Dominic West for the role. He’s a great actor but there’s just something about that face that doesn’t seem right… maybe it’s just me.

  • jentario,

    Agree. Completely wrong for the role. Its the only role that I feel was not well cast. Maybe its because we have seen so little of him. I was hoping for a scene or two of him planning “the biggest fire the North has ever seen.”

  • I feel like all some of u do is complain, he hasn’t had screentime because they have been loyal to the books in which he has had no PoV characters near him to give him any screentime. If he had been given scenes you guys would still complain but this time say they r arent staying loyal to the books.

  • man this is just frustrating and i cannot stress enough that i have full confidence in the casting of this show and the ELITE level of stars its constantly gets butttt BY FAR i think the character they have miscast/messed up has been mance rayder i was all onboard when i remember MCnultys name being pushed around for mance which i thought was perfect not to old not to young and badass enough(centurion and neil marshall directed that so i thought it was almost a lock but i digress) mance in my opinion is a VERY important character not only to jon but the northern storyline and i just think they have horribly dropped the ball with ciran hinds mance (full disclosure i LOVE ciran hinds , aberfoth and road to perdition sp?) alas im off my soapbox now and sorry for my horrible editing im doing this in between conference calls ;)

  • After The Feast,

    Antagonist. Doesn’t mean evil. In fact, the reason why I like him so much is because he’s not that bad a guy. But he’s still an antagonist, he’s still someone who the protagonist has to overcome in order to achieve their goal.

  • Can I just say, I don’t care who the actor is, none of them would have made an enormous impression with the three scenes given to Mance. I think the fandom’s frustration with the casting is a combination of Hinds not fitting the book description of Mance and not getting enough material to impress and therefore outweigh the fact that he is rather different in appearance from book!Mance.

    In his first scene I thought Hinds was very good, although he didn’t have a monologue describing his origins and whatnot so I think his acting went under the radar. His second scene (“I told them that we were all going to die if we didn’t get South”)was mostly spoiled by trailers/special features that I, at least, saw before the episode aired, and overall wasn’t the best written scene. And his third scene was pretty much just plot set up, sending Tormund and Jon over the Wall and describing his plan to light a giant fire. They depended too much on Hinds’ natural charisma to communicate Mance’s awesomeness, but even Charles Dance needs something to do/say in order to channel that charisma.

    Just my two cents, though.

  • Thoros,

    But the first obstacle laying in his way are the Others and Walkers.

    You seem to be confusing the various names for the enemy of mankind.

    White Walkers = The Others, while the undead bodies lumbering around in a murderous rampage are Wights.

  • Tyrion Pimpslap,

    I disagree somewhat. I do think they could have done more with the Wall storyline this season but I think Ep 9 is going to be amazing and it will indeed have enough of those more subtle moments like in Blackwater. They haven’t let us down on the big scenes imo so far, so they’ve earned my trust until they do. Seems to me they haven’t shown Mance because he’s not a POV character. We only ever met him because Jon was in his camp so we met him through his eyes. Correct me if I’m wrong but after Jon leaves we don’t hear from him in the books either. I know they’ve shown other non POV characters with their own scenes like Littlefinger but he was in a location where other main POV characters were also present. Keeping him off screen for this long just makes a stronger impact when/if he finally attacks the wall.

  • After The Feast,

    I just read it again and you’re right, sorry, I was being the dick there. Oh well, meant more like “person good guys need to stop” when I said villain. Sorry

  • Castle Black and north of wall have suffered since season 2. I think the decision to film an Iceland was a mistake as it was too damn cold to nail the scenes. Also, the limited hours of daylight added to the problem. The Quorin Halfhand arc was completely mishandled as was anything interesting that went on with Jon Snow after season 1 with few exceptions (Jon and Ygritte scenes). Quorin should have been extremely badass and their fight should have been epic as hell. The Jon and Mance scene could have been better. Have Mance playing a lute like in the books and have him talk about how he was at Winterfell when Robert came to name Ned hand. End rant

  • Turncloak,

    Season 1 spoiled us with epic fights: Bronn vs Ser Vardis, Jaime vs Ned, Jorah vs Mago, Khal Drogo vs fatality bait, The Hound vs The Mountain

  • I think Rhaegar is not Jon’s father. I think Mance is. Jon loves wildlings so much it only makes sense!

  • Hodor Targaryen,

    I feel like every character is an antagonist in someway shape or form. Every move each character makes in the Game of Thrones in some way shape or form effects the Game. I’m not entirely sure if we have a protagonist. However I would argue that Tyrion would be our protagonist up to this point.

  • Thoros,

    I would say that there are a few protagonists on the show, at least one per storyline. I tend to think of protagonists as characters from whose perspective we are seeing the story, whether that person is someone we cheer for or not. The show has to essentially be about their struggles. This obviously makes it easier to pick up protagonists in the books rather than the show, since you get POV chapters of a limited group of characters. I’d say each storyline has at least one protagonist and a group of supporting players, and King’s Landing has a handful. Tyrion, Jaime, Cersei, Dany, Arya, Sansa, Bran and Jon are all characters I would consider protagonists, maybe Sam too.

    Mance easily is an antagonist, even if he’s a sympathetic one. The show doesn’t follow his struggle, it only features him as he relates to Jon’s struggles.

  • I agree with the other comments about Ciaran Hinds being miscast. He is a gifted actor who was a horrible choice for the Mance role. There is something too “regal” or proper about him — not an ounce of wildling in him at all — he simply doesn’t fit in. In the books, Mance has an almost minstrel element to him, in addition to being former nightwatch and overall badass. This is one of the very few miscasts in the show (The only other one I’ve hated is the Michael Huisman as the new Daarius). Thankfully, Ygritte and Tormund, and pretty much everyone else, have been AWESOME.

  • Turncloak,

    I so agree with you about the mishandling of Quorin and Mance. They should have spent just slightly less time on Ygritte and John second season and a little more on Quorin and John. Ramp up the importance of Johns commitment to NW and Quorin a bit more instead of the meandering walks with Ygritte. We DID need to build up the lust but they could have cut in on that a little. Mance needed his Artsy side to show through a bit… That way his bad ass side would be even more pleasing. Kinda like Prince playing kick ass ball with Charlie Murphy on the Dave Chapelle show. Lol.

  • The Wildlings are the most ridiculous thing ever in Game of Thrones. Can the Night Watch please kill them all? Thanks.