The Ibbenese are an ancient and taciturn race of islanders who live on the island nation Ibben, composed of the islands Ib and Far Ib, several smaller islands, and the small foothold on the northern shore of Essos ruled by the colony located at New Ibbish.
The Ibbenese are heavy, broad-shouldered and broad-chested people. They are short in stature, seldom reaching a height more than five and a half feet. Their arms are long, while their legs are short and thick. They have sloping brows with heavy ridges, small sunken eyes, great square teeth, and massive jaws.
The Ibbenese have the most body hair of all known peoples in the Known World. Beneath their pale skins run dark blue veins, but covering their skin is dark and wiry hair. Ibbenese men have dark, wiry hair covering their arms, legs, chests, and backs, while Ibbenese women commonly have coarse dark hair, even on the upper lip.
The Red Book, written by someone from Yunkai and translated by Maester Elkin, makes passing reference to the fact that many Ibbenese women sold into slavery are deemed too ugly to serve as bed slaves and too savage to use as field hands. As such, the Ibbenese women sold into slavery end their days in the fighting pits of Meereen, Yunkai, and Astapor.
There is a myth claiming that falsely claims that Ibbenese women have six breasts.
The sailing Ibbenese have a deep suspicion of strangers. When people from other lands visit Ib,they are restricted by law and custom to the harbor precincts of the Port of Ibben. They are only allowed to venture beyond the city in the company of an Ibbenese host, but such invitations are rarely made.
Despite these suspicions, the Ibbenese who live at the shores are a venturesome people. Fishermen travel the northern seas in search of cod, herring, whitefish, and eel. Most famously are the Ibbenese whalers; Big-bellied Ibbenese whaling ships are a common sight in ports all over the world.
The Ibbenese who live in the woods and mountains of Ibben are even more suspicious of strangers than the sailing Ibbenese. These foresters, goatherds, and miners prefer to make their homes in caves or houses of grey stone which they dig into the earth. These Ibbenese do not live in towns, instead preferring to dwell in solitary. They only gather for weddings, burials, and worship.
The Ibbenese are considered to stand apart from the other races of mankind. Although they can reproduce with the people of other lands, the children Ibbenese men father upon the women of other lands are frequently malformed and always sterile, while Ibbenese women, when impregnated by men from other lands, birth only stillbirths and monstrosities. Such couplings are uncommon, however. Regardless, scholars have speculated that certain groups of people have some Ibbenese blood in their heritage.
Culture & Customs
Main article: Ibbenese language
The Port of Ibben has ruled over Ib and the lesser isles since "the dawn of days". From that city, the Ibbenese were ruled over by the God-Kings from their castle until the last of these kings was thrown down in the aftermath of the Doom of Valyria. Today, Ib and the lesser isles have been ruled over by the Shadow Council, whose members are chosen by the Thousand, an assembly of weahtly guildsmen, ancient nobles, priests, and priestesses – similar to the councils of magisters of the Free Cities.
Ibbenese ships are renowned for their strength, as they are built to withstand any storm of the largest leviathans they might meet.
The Ibbenese sent their most notorious criminals to Ib Sar, the only town on Far Ib. These criminals were often mutilated first, so they might never return to Ib. This practice came to an end after the fall of the final God-King, although Ib Sar had not been able to lose its unsavory reputation.
- Togg Joth, an Ibbenese member of the Brave Companions
- Assadora of Ibben, an Ibbenese prostitute in Braavos
Ben Plumm, a sellsword from the Second Sons of mixed ancestry, claims to have a half-Ibbenese grandmother. Casso Mogat is said to be the son of a Sisterton whore and an Ibbenese whaler.
There is evidence of Ibbenese settlements on the Axe, the Lorathi isles, and along the shores of the Bitterweed Bay, the Bay of Tusks, Leviathan Sound, and even the Thousand Islands. History also tells of several Ibbenese attempts to seize the mouth of the Sarne which brought them into war with the Sarnori cities Saath and Sarys.
Under the rule of the God-Kings, the Ibbenese succeeded in conquering a huge swath of land of the northern EssosI coast in the region directly south of Ib, a densely wooded region the Dothraki call the Kingdom of the Ifequevron, after their name by which they knew the race that inhabited this forest. The Ifequevron may have been annihilated by the Ibbenese, although some claim that this gentle race has simply gone into hiding, or fled the area.
At its greatest extent, the Ibbenese foothold on Essos was as large as Ib itself and far richer. More and more Ibbenese crossed over from the isles to make their fortune on the mainland, cutting down trees, plowing land, damming the rivers, and mining the hills. They continued with this until the Dothraki began making incursions in the land taken over by the Ibbenese some two hundred years ago.
The Ibbenese refused to pay tribute to the Dothraki and chose to fight, winning several notable victories, including destroying the huge khalasar of Khal Onqo. However, the Dothraki returned in greater numbers every time, pushing the Ibbenese farther and farther north. Ibbish was first sacked by Khal Scoro, who broke through the Whalebone Gates to loot the temples and treasuries and carried off the city's gods to Vaes Dothrak. The Ibbenese rebuilt, but a generation later the city was sacked again by Khal Rogo, who put the city to the torch, and marched ten thousand women to slavery.
Eventually, Khal Onqo's grandson, Khal Dhako, arrived at the city, ready to sack it. Learning of his approach, the inhabitants of Ibbish fled across the sea back to Ib. Infuriated by this cowardly move, Dhako put the city and much of the surrounding land to the torch, resulting in the loss of most of the lands the Ibbenese had ruled on the northern coast of Essos. Following the destruction of Ibbish, a new Ibbenese colony constructed the town New Ibbish on a small peninsula surrounded by te sea and defended by a wooden wall almost as long as the Wall of the Seven Kingdoms. From this colony the Ibbenese rule over their modest remaining foothold on the Essosi lands to this day.
A Game of Thrones
A Clash of Kings
After making arrangements for Shae to be taken care of at a manse in King's Landing, among those hired by Varys to guard her are two Ibbenese that were fond of one another, according to Tyrion.Arya Stark observes several Ibbenese sellswords arrive at Harrenhal as part of a mercenary group, the Brave Companions.
A Storm of Swords
An Ibbenese axe-man is among a group of foragers that Nymeria slaughters in the riverlands. Several Ibbenese sellswords of the Brave Companions are encountered by the brotherhood without banners squatting in a remote sept, carrying shaggy brown shields during the ensuing battle.
A Feast for Crows
Togg Joth, an Ibbenese member of the Brave Companions, is currently on the run as one of the last known survivors of the disbanded sellsword company. At Gulltown, a harpooner on an Ibbenese whaler offers to Brienne of Tarth to buy Podrick Payne from her.
A Dance with Dragons
- The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: Ib.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The North: The Kings of Winter.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Lorath.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Norvos.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: The Grasslands.
- The Lands of Ice and Fire, Central Essos.
- So Spake Martin: Ibben and Armor (November 9, 2002)
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 3, Daenerys I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 28, Bran IV.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 30, Arya VII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 39, Arya VII.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, New Ibbish.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 11, Daenerys II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 3, Arya I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 19, Tyrion III.
- A Feast for Crows, Appendix.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 25, Brienne V.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 44, Jon IX.