The Ibbenese are a people 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 considered by maesters to be different from the other races of mankind. They are a heavy, broad-shouldered, and broad-chested people. The Ibbenese 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. A myth falsely claims that Ibbenese women have six breasts. The Red Book states many Ibbenese women sold into slavery were deemed too ugly to serve as bed slaves and too savage to use as field hands. As such, many enslaved Ibbenese women ended their days in the fighting pits of Meereen, Yunkai, and Astapor.
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. Some scholars have speculated that certain groups have some Ibbenese blood in their heritage, such as the Skagosi.
Maester Yandel reports the Ibbenese to be a taciturn but cunning folk, composed of skilled craftsmen, able hunters and trackers, and doughty warriors. The Ibbenese speak their own language, which has been described as grunting and rasping.
The Ibbenese are a suspicious people, and Ibbenese of old believed that a man would be cursed if he ventured inland away from the sound of the sea. Visitors from foreign lands are restricted 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. The Ibbenese who live in the woods and mountains of Ibben are even more suspicious of strangers. These foresters, goatherds, and miners prefer to make their homes in caves or houses of grey stone which they dig into the earth. The inland Ibbenese do not live in towns, instead preferring to dwell in solitary. They only gather for weddings, burials, and worship.
Despite their 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 whose big-bellied ships are a common sight in ports all over the world. Ibbenese ships are renowned for their strength, as they are built to withstand any storm of the largest leviathans they might meet. The Ibbenese are fond of chewing blubber.
The ferociously-strong Ibbenese excel over Westerosi at their favorite sport, wrestling. Some Ibbenese are fond of carrying axes into battle, as well as shaggy brown shields. Some Ibbenese have found employ as sellswords in the Brave Companions.
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 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.
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. Some two hunded years ago, however, the Dothraki destroyed the Ibbenese settlements on the mainland, aside from the small colony of New Ibbish.
A Game of Thrones
A Clash of Kings
After making arrangements for Shae to be taken care of at a manse near the Iron Gate in King's Landing, among those hired by Varys to guard her are two Ibbenese that are fond of one another, according to Tyrion Lannister.
A Storm of Swords
An Ibbenese axe-man is among a group of foragers that Nymeria slaughters in the riverlands. Carrying shaggy brown shields, several Ibbenese Brave Companions are encountered by the brotherhood without banners during the battle at the burning septry.
A Feast for Crows
A Dance with Dragons
- The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: Ib.
- The Lands of Ice and Fire, Central Essos.
- 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.
- So Spake Martin: Ibben and Armor (November 9, 2002)
- The World of Ice & Fire, The North: The Stoneborn of Skagos.
- 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.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 11, Daenerys II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 18, Catelyn IV.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 11, Theon I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 29, Tyrion VII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 3, Arya I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 19, Tyrion III.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 57, Daenerys V.
- A Feast for Crows, Prologue.
- A Feast for Crows, Appendix.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 34, Cat Of The Canals.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 25, Brienne V.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 6, The Merchant's Man.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 15, Davos II.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 44, Jon IX.