Beyond the Wall the free folk kneel for no man, while kneelers are subject to lords and kings. The free folk view the kneelers as lacking freedom, whereas the people of the Seven Kingdoms view the "wildlings" as savage, lawless, and primitive killers, rapists, and thieves.
I know your kneeler's knees must be itching, for want of some king to bend to.
You call us thieves, but at least a thief has t' be brave and clever and quick. A kneeler only has t' kneel.
When your enemies defy you, you must serve them steel and fire. When they go to their knees, however, you must help them back to their feet. Elsewise no man will ever bend the knee to you.
The free folk despise kneelers. Let them keep their pride, and they will love you better.
No man has ever died from bending his knee. He who kneels may rise again, blade in hand. He who will not kneel stays dead, stiff legs and all.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 41, Jon V.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Wall and Beyond: The Wildlings.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 39, Jon VIII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 15, Jon II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 53, Tyrion VI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 10, Jon III.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 42, The King's Prize.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 51, Theon I.