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|“||We do not kneel.||„|
|~ Mance Rayder|
|“||The freedom to make my own mistakes was all I ever wanted.||„|
|~ Mance Rayder to Jon Snow.|
Mance Rayder is the major antagonist in A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones. He is a former member of the Night's Watch who defected to the Free Folk (also known as the wildlings), his real people, eventually rising to become their leader, officially styling himself as the King-Beyond-the-Wall, as other wildling kings did before him.
He is one of the main antagonists of the Night's Watch storyline during Seasons 2, 3, and 4.
Though he is considered a villain because he is a major enemy of the Night's Watch, Mance is not inherently evil and is more of an anti-villain, because he genuinely cares for the well-being of his people and has many honorable qualities.
In the television series, he was portrayed by Ciarán Hinds, who also played Steppenwolf in the 2017 Justice League film, Mephisto in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Botticelli Remorso in The Tale of Despereaux, Henry Burke in Trip to Witch Mountain, Bill Maplewood in Life During Wartime and Jonathan Reiss in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life.
Mance is a charismatic, determined and easygoing man with strong leadership qualities. It is these qualities that allowed him to defect from the Night's Watch to join the Free Folk, and quickly rise to the title of King-Beyond-The-Wall. Mance's exceptional social skills enabled him to unite the diverse wildling clans, no matter how different they were from one another or how much they wanted to kill one another. He is shown to be quite imaginative when he loves songs, freedom, and wildling women.
Mance is also very aware of the threat the White Walkers will pose to the entire world and used it to his advantage in convincing the wildlings to unite as a singular army. Because of his honest yet stern persona, he earned the great respect and admiration of the toughest of wildlings and even giants. However, Mance states himself that his trusting nature is also a weakness of his; having honestly let himself believe that Jon Snow was truly defecting from the Night's Watch as he did.
However, even when faced with such betrayal or adversity, Mance keeps a calm and levelheaded attitude, not even growing overly angry when discovering Snow's attempt to assassinate him. Above all else, Mance cherishes the Free Folk and their culture, performing dangerous and world-changing actions in the hopes of finding them safety from the coming winter.