It is said that a long time ago Brandon the Builder enslaved giants by magic and forced them to build the Wall. Afterwards, he kicked the Free Folk to the other side and raised an army to keep them there. The Free Folk do not follow a man because his father tells them to. If the king's son was brave and strong, they would follow him as they did his father. If he was not...
While keeping the Free Folk out, the Wall also keeps the Southerners in. They follow laws they did not make, kneel to kings they did not choose and pray to gods they never hear from. Beyond the Wall, the stars shine bright and clear and any gods there are not listening to the likes of men. The Free Folk worship the Old Gods of the Forest, who live in the trees that shelter them and the rivers that feed them. The gods gave the land for all to share. The Free Folk fish, farm and hunt when they need. If a man wants a woman, he has to prove he will give her strong and cunning sons. When she tries to slit his throat, he does not let her. With the Free Folk, you get what you can take and you keep what you can hold, no more. If the Free Folk did not hop over the Wall, would the Night's Watch still be set to guard it? The Southerners are rich and always have more steel, gold and daughters. Perhaps they are afraid. Those who have always knelt do not know what freedom is. If they have never been beyond the Wall, they do not know what fear is. They will.
- King Brandon Stark, the "Builder" (not mentioned by name)