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Location of Ibben on the World map

Ibben (sometimes called Ib after its largest island) is an island nation in the Shivering Sea, which is the polar sea north of the eastern continent, Essos. The chief city of Ibben is the Port of Ibben, situated on the southern coast of its largest island, Ib.[1]



The largest island of Ibben is Ib, a forested and mountainous island containing the cities Port of Ibben and Ib Nor. South of Ib are scattered islands in the Bay of Whales. Southeast of Ib is a moderately-sized mountainous island called Far Ib, containing the city Ib Sar.[1]

South of the Ibbenese islands on the mainland of Essos is the city of New Ibbish, situated on a forested peninsula north of the Kingdoms of the Ifeqevron. Southeast of New Ibbish are the ruins of Ibbish, now known by its Dothraki name, Vaes Aresak.[1]


Most Ibbenese live on their large island and several smaller ones, with a few colonies on the Essos mainland.[2] They are whalers who live off the large population of whales in the Shivering Sea. They pilot fat-bellied whaling ships, hulls black with tar, and sometimes reach as far as King's Landing for trade.[3] The Ibbenese are usually described as hairy[4] and squat, with rasping voices[5] who chew blubber.[2] They are fond of axes[6] and carry shaggy brown shields[7] into battle.[8]

The Ibbenese are apparently a relict population of Neanderthals, or some other hominid closely related to Homo sapiens (keeping in mind that Neanderthals actually were not radically different from Homo sapiens). Perhaps because there were once other, radically different non-human races in the world such as the children of the forest and the giants, the humans of Westeros and Essos seem to feel that the Ibbenese are more similar to them than not, so they conceive of the Ibbenese as "humans" (in a broader sense of the term), though they acknowledge that they stand apart from other races of mankind. Ibbenese are never more than five and a half feet in height, but with very broad chests and shoulders, somewhat shorter legs and longer arms, and very well muscled. Their heads have sloped brows with heavy ridges and small, sunken eyes. The Ibbenese have massive jaws and unusually, square-shaped teeth. The Ibbenese are very hairy, both men and women - not so much that they have actual "pelts" like apes, but wiry hair covers most of their bodies. Underneath, their skin is pale and white. The Ibbenese are just as intelligent as any other "human" race, being skilled hunters, craftsmen, and shipwrights, and they are ruled by their own council of magisters (similar to several of the Free Cities). The main point indicating that the Ibbenese are really a different sub-species of hominid is that they have difficulty reproducing with other human races. If a man from Westeros or other lands impregnates an Ibbenese woman, the results are only stillbirths and monstrosities. Ibbenese men, meanwhile, can father children with women from Westeros and other lands, but they are often malformed and "inevitably" sterile, much like mules. It is not clear if the Ibbenese absolutely cannot interbreed with baseline humans, because at other points it is speculated that certain groups have some Ibbenese blood in their heritage. This in turn ties into the real-life debate over if Homo sapiens and Neanderthals actually could produce viable offspring together.[9]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Hairy men from the Port of Ibben are among the guests who attend the wedding of Daenerys Targaryen and Khal Drogo.[10]

A Clash of Kings

Arya Stark observes several Ibbenese sellswords arrive at Harrenhal as part of a mercenary group, the Brave Companions.[7]

A Storm of Swords

An Ibbenese axe-man is among a group of foragers that Nymeria slaughters in the riverlands.[11] 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.[8]

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.[12]

A Dance with Dragons

An Ibbenese whaler travelling in the Bay of Seals is commandeered by the commander of Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, Cotter Pyke, on the orders of Lord Commander Jon Snow.[13].

Behind the Scenes

George R. R. Martin describes Ibben as being the size of Iceland.[2]

References and Notes

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