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Bran Vras

Is Marwyn the Mage an Ibbenese, at least partly?

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First the evidence. Recall the appearance of the mastiff.

“Sam,” said Alleras, “this is Archmaester Marwyn.”

Marwyn wore a chain of many metals around his bull’s neck. Save for that, he looked more like a dockside thug than a maester. His head was too big for his body, and the way it thrust forward from his shoulders, together with that slab of jaw, made him look as if he were about to tear off someone’s head. Though short and squat, he was heavy in the chest and shoulders, with a round, rock-hard ale belly straining at the laces of the leather jerkin he wore in place of robes. Bristly white hair sprouted from his ears and nostrils. His brow beetled, his nose had been broken more than once, and sourleaf had stained his teeth a mottled red. He had the biggest hands that Sam had ever seen.

And a little more info had come in the prologue of AFfC:

People said that he kept company with whores and hedge wizards, talked with hairy Ibbenese and pitch-black Summer Islanders in their own tongues, and sacrificed to queer gods at the little sailors’ temples down by the wharves. Men spoke of seeing him down in the undercity, in rat pits and black brothels, consorting with mummers, singers, sellswords, even beggars. Some even whispered that once he had killed a man with his fists.

On the other hand, Maester Yendel tells us that:

The Ibbenese stand apart from the other races of mankind. They are a heavy people, broad about the chest and shoulders, but seldom standing more than five and a half feet in height, with thick, short legs and long arms. Though short and squat, they are ferociously strong; at wrestling, their favorite sport, no man of the Seven Kingdoms can hope to equal them.

Their faces, characterized by sloping brows with heavy ridges, small sunken eyes, great square teeth, and massive jaws, seem brutish and ugly to Westerosi eyes, an impression heightened by their guttural, grunting tongue; but in truth the men of Ib are a cunning folk—skilled craftsmen, able hunters and trackers, and doughty warriors. They are the most hirsute people in the known world. Though their flesh is pale, with dark blue veins beneath the skin, their hair is dark and wiry. Ibbenese men are heavily bearded; wiry body hair covers their arms, legs, chests, and backs. Coarse dark hair is common amongst their women, even on the upper lip. 

Hence Marwyn is short, squat, broad in the chest, with sloping brow, huge jaw, abondant facial hair, large forelimbs – all like a genuine Ibbenese. Moreover he speaks Ibbenese, and fights like an Ibbenese (supposedly killed a man with his own fists). No mention of strange accent though. Some say that GRRM has modeled the Ibbenese on the Neanderthals (short stature, sloping brow, large chest, fighting prowess etc).

If Marwyn were a trueblood Ibbenese, people, even people such as Pate, would have noticed or been told. Indeed Ibbenese sailors pass through Oldtown and the Mage consort with them. Moreover, they look so alien that people recognize them at once (partly because of the smell of their ship though).

More likely, we have the case of a hybrid Ibbenese. Evidently Marwyn has been raised in Westeros. I would suggest that he is the bastard of an Ibbenese sailor and possibly a highborn woman (influential enough to find a place at the Citadel for such an undesirable offspring). We are told that Westerosi-Ibbenese hybridation is difficult, but we see another case in the person of Casso Mogat.

In any case, everyone at the Citadel could notice what I have noticed, so Marwyn's pedigree should not be a big secret especially since people already whisper abundantly about him.

An interesting chunk of history: the historical Ibbenese expanded their realm into a forest at the expense of what seemed to be Children of the Forest. To this day, Dothraki don't dare going into that forest even though they proudly fought and defeated the Ibbenese. So I am inclined to think that the Ibbenese had something to their advantage in their confrontation with the Children or, like the First Men, they eventually found an agreement. But they are a secretive people. Maester Yandel has been unable to collect anything from them about this, except « None of the Ibbenese that Bryan of Oldtown met could say they had ever seen a woods walker, but claimed that the little people blessed a household that left offerings of leaf and stone and water overnight. » His other sources were from the Dothraki side. Marwyn might know more.

Further possible developments: if Marwyn reaches Daenerys, the whalers form Ib could be invaluable in the transportation of people from Essos to Westeros, probably not the Dothraki though, due to noted bad blood with the Ibbenese.

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Not bad. Some maesters suspect that the Skagosi, who are also said to be squat and hairy, have Ibbenese blood as well. So mayhaps the Mage is part Skagosi?

Also, contrast Marwyn's description with the Elder Brother: tall, yes, but with a large square head and heavy jaw. 

Or Bronze Yohn Royce: Also tall, but with bushy eyebrows and large gnarled hands.

Not saying there are connections here, but I'm not saying there aren't either.

 

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2 hours ago, Bran Vras said:

First the evidence. Recall the appearance of the mastiff.

“Sam,” said Alleras, “this is Archmaester Marwyn.”

Marwyn wore a chain of many metals around his bull’s neck. Save for that, he looked more like a dockside thug than a maester. His head was too big for his body, and the way it thrust forward from his shoulders, together with that slab of jaw, made him look as if he were about to tear off someone’s head. Though short and squat, he was heavy in the chest and shoulders, with a round, rock-hard ale belly straining at the laces of the leather jerkin he wore in place of robes. Bristly white hair sprouted from his ears and nostrils. His brow beetled, his nose had been broken more than once, and sourleaf had stained his teeth a mottled red. He had the biggest hands that Sam had ever seen.

And a little more info had come in the prologue of AFfC:

People said that he kept company with whores and hedge wizards, talked with hairy Ibbenese and pitch-black Summer Islanders in their own tongues, and sacrificed to queer gods at the little sailors’ temples down by the wharves. Men spoke of seeing him down in the undercity, in rat pits and black brothels, consorting with mummers, singers, sellswords, even beggars. Some even whispered that once he had killed a man with his fists.

On the other hand, Maester Yendel tells us that:

The Ibbenese stand apart from the other races of mankind. They are a heavy people, broad about the chest and shoulders, but seldom standing more than five and a half feet in height, with thick, short legs and long arms. Though short and squat, they are ferociously strong; at wrestling, their favorite sport, no man of the Seven Kingdoms can hope to equal them.

Their faces, characterized by sloping brows with heavy ridges, small sunken eyes, great square teeth, and massive jaws, seem brutish and ugly to Westerosi eyes, an impression heightened by their guttural, grunting tongue; but in truth the men of Ib are a cunning folk—skilled craftsmen, able hunters and trackers, and doughty warriors. They are the most hirsute people in the known world. Though their flesh is pale, with dark blue veins beneath the skin, their hair is dark and wiry. Ibbenese men are heavily bearded; wiry body hair covers their arms, legs, chests, and backs. Coarse dark hair is common amongst their women, even on the upper lip. 

Hence Marwyn is short, squat, broad in the chest, with sloping brow, huge jaw, abondant facial hair, large forelimbs – all like a genuine Ibbenese. Moreover he speaks Ibbenese, and fights like an Ibbenese (supposedly killed a man with his own fists). No mention of strange accent though. Some say that GRRM has modeled the Ibbenese on the Neanderthals (short stature, sloping brow, large chest, fighting prowess etc).

If Marwyn were a trueblood Ibbenese, people, even people such as Pate, would have noticed or been told. Indeed Ibbenese sailors pass through Oldtown and the Mage consort with them. Moreover, they look so alien that people recognize them at once (partly because of the smell of their ship though).

More likely, we have the case of a hybrid Ibbenese. Evidently Marwyn has been raised in Westeros. I would suggest that he is the bastard of an Ibbenese sailor and possibly a highborn woman (influential enough to find a place at the Citadel for such an undesirable offspring). We are told that Westerosi-Ibbenese hybridation is difficult, but we see another case in the person of Casso Mogat.

In any case, everyone at the Citadel could notice what I have noticed, so Marwyn's pedigree should not be a big secret especially since people already whisper abundantly about him.

An interesting chunk of history: the historical Ibbenese expanded their realm into a forest at the expense of what seemed to be Children of the Forest. To this day, Dothraki don't dare going into that forest even though they proudly fought and defeated the Ibbenese. So I am inclined to think that the Ibbenese had something to their advantage in their confrontation with the Children or, like the First Men, they eventually found an agreement. But they are a secretive people. Maester Yandel has been unable to collect anything from them about this, except « None of the Ibbenese that Bryan of Oldtown met could say they had ever seen a woods walker, but claimed that the little people blessed a household that left offerings of leaf and stone and water overnight. » His other sources were from the Dothraki side. Marwyn might know more.

Further possible developments: if Marwyn reaches Daenerys, the whalers form Ib could be invaluable in the transportation of people from Essos to Westeros, probably not the Dothraki though, due to noted bad blood with the Ibbenese.

A lot of good work here and I would easily believe your idea of Marwyn being the child of an Ibbenesse and high born westerosi (whether rape or love or whatever). My only issue is this: despite your excellent work piecing together the evidence for the argument that he is, there is nothing here saying what that would mean for our story, Westeros or the larger World of Ice and Fire.

Let's say as a hypothetical you are right. The question becomes: So What? Maesters renounce their family and family name. The Ibbenese don't have any particularly interesting traits that would make Marwyn special (other than being an odd looking minority) and even if they did have some magic resulting in whatever went on in those woods....there is no real magic apparent in Marwyn.

So that is my question for you: I will assume you are right. Can you tell me what, if anything, that changes about things?

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I noticed that Axell Florent and Marwyn look a lot alike. That may explain Selyse being unattractive and hairy.

If Marwyn and the Florents are both partially Ibbenese, then it may be that the Ibbenese goes further back and the traits breed truer in some than others.  The Florents themselves claim to be the strongest blood of the Gardener Kings which gives them some commonality with the Ibbenese in regards to the CotF, and maybe that hinted at agreement with the Pact too?

 

https://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/148868-wow-i-never-noticed-that-v16/&do=findComment&comment=8175018

 

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7 hours ago, Bran Vras said:

 

More likely, we have the case of a hybrid Ibbenese. Evidently Marwyn has been raised in Westeros. I would suggest that he is the bastard of an Ibbenese sailor and possibly a highborn woman (influential enough to find a place at the Citadel for such an undesirable offspring). We are told that Westerosi-Ibbenese hybridation is difficult, but we see another case in the person of Casso Mogat.

 

 

Marwyn is noted to be fond of chewing sourleaf - according to the Wiki/So Spake Martin, the Ibbenese are fond of chewing whale blubber.

Probably meaningless but it stuck out to me!

They are also described as venturesome, which Marwyn definitely is!

Edited by Legitimate_Bastard

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Marwyn comes from a family that was historically opposed to the Citadel.  That's why they can't trust him.  I would think he's either a Celtigar or a Velaryon.  One of the traditional Targaryen allies.  

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20 hours ago, YOVMO said:

So that is my question for you: I will assume you are right. Can you tell me what, if anything, that changes about things?

As to whether Marwyn is really an Ibbenese, note that his appearance is weirder than Casso Mogat, 

Casso Mogat was a mongrel of  the narrow sea, fathered on a Sisterton whore by an Ibbenese whaler. Only five feet tall and very hirsute, he dyed his hair and whiskers a mossy green. It made him look like a tree stump in yellow boots. Despite his appearance, he seemed a good sailor, though a hard master to his crew. 

Clearly Marwyn fits better as an Ibbenese.

As to the meaning of this for the wider story, I don't really know. But here are a few thoughts. Recall this interesting passage from TWoIaF. 

 The God-Kings of Ib, before their fall, did succeed in conquering and colonizing a huge swathe of northern Essos immediately south of Ib itself, a densely wooded region that had formerly been the home of a small, shy forest folk. Some say that the Ibbenese extinguished this gentle race, whilst others believe they went into hiding in the deeper woods or fled to other lands. The Dothraki still call the great forest along the northern coast the Kingdom of the Ifequevron, the name by which they knew the vanished forest-dwellers.
The fabled Sea Snake, Corlys Velaryon, Lord of the Tides, was the first Westerosi to visit these woods. After his return from the Thousand Islands, he wrote of carved trees, haunted grottoes, and strange silences. A later traveler, the merchant-adventurer Bryan of Oldtown, captain of the cog Spearshaker, provided an account of his own journey across the Shivering Sea. He reported that the Dothraki name for the lost people meant “those who walk in the woods.” None of the Ibbenese that Bryan of Oldtown met could say they had ever seen a woods walker, but claimed that the little people blessed a household that left offerings  of leaf and stone and water overnight. 

At its greatest extent, the Ibbenese foothold on Essos was as large as Ib itself and far richer. More and more of the hairy men crossed over from the islands to make their fortunes there, cutting down the trees to put the land under the plow, damming the rivers and streams, mining the hills. Ruling over these domains was Ibbish, a fishing village that swelled to become a thriving port and the second city of the Ibbenese, with a deep harbor and high white walls. 

[...]

 Ib retains a modest foothold on Essos even to this day, on a small peninsula surrounded by the sea and defended by a wooden wall almost as long as the ice Wall of the Night’s Watch, if not a third as high, a towering earth-and-timber palisade bristling with defensive towers and protected by a deep ditch. Behind the earthworks, the men of Ib have built the town of New Ibbish to rule over their much-diminished domains, but sailors say that the new town is a sad and squalid place, more akin to Ib Sar than to the thriving city that the horselords reduced to ruins. 

I have a few remarks expanding on my first post.

The story of the Ibbenese is alike the story of the First Men in Westeros, conquering woodlands of "Children of the Forest", with interesting parallels. 

Definitely the Ibbenese were ruining the realm of the forest folk. So a peaceful coexistence seems unlikely.

The striking thing is that we have no information at all about this from the Ibbenese themselves, although the latter were the conquerors (Ifequevron is a Dothraki word). Surely they knew how to handle the forest folk, and the Dothraki didn't. All this happened fairly recently, just before the doom. Compare with the First Men in Westeros, thousands of years ago.  The question is whether any knowledge will transpire, and Marwyn could be an intermediary.

About the secrecy of the Ibbenese, here is again Maester Yendel:

Such matings are uncommon; though ships from the Port of Ibben are a common sight in harbors up and down the narrow sea, and even as far away as the Summer Isles and Old Volantis, the sailors who crew them keep to their own kind even when ashore and display a deep suspicion of all strangers. On Ib itself, men of other lands and races are restricted by law and custom to the harbor precincts of the Port of Ibben and forbidden to venture beyond the city save in the company of an Ibbenese host. Such invitations are exceedingly rare. 

While a lesser version of its Westerosi counterpart, the Ibbenese Wall is still impressive. I understand it as a defense against the Dothraki, not against the forest folk. But I might be wrong.  Note the parallel with what happened in Westeros: the Ibbenese/First Men conquer the woodlands, and destroy the world of the forest folk, a destructive race (Dothraki/Others) appears and the Ibbenese/First Men are forced to retreat behind a Wall to keep the Dothraki/Others at bay.

All this should be known to Marwyn, even if he is not an Ibbenese, as he has read Yendel, and has talked to Ibbenese people in their own tongue, perhaps to some of those who guard this wall. Did he understand something hearing Sam's story that we didn't?

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Is Axell one? I don't think there's much there.

 

Queen Selyse's uncle was a keg of a man with thick arms and bandy legs. He had the prominent ears of a Florent, even larger than his niece's. The coarse hair that sprouted from his ears did not stop him hearing most of what went on in the castle.

 

Ser Axell was short and muscular, with a barrel chest, thick arms, bandy legs, and hair growing from his ears.

 

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I have noticed too the resemblance to Axell Florent, but it is not as strong as one would think. Axell has indeed the barrel chest, hairy nose and ears, brow ridge and thick arms.

But he does not have the stature of an Ibbenese or Marwyn. He has bowed legs (not short and thick), no long arms are noted. He is stout but not short. His allure is not brutish (rather comical). He displays no special strength. No sign of a large head.

The prominent ears, broad nose, double chin, close set eyes of Axell are noted neither in Marwyn nor in the Ibbenese.

By contrast, Marwyn is really strong, short, has a brutish look, a square jaw. Long arms and sloping brow are not specified, but somewhat implied (extraordinary large hands, thrusting forward face and ridge).

Some features of the Ibbenese are noted neither in Marwyn nor in Axell: wiry hair, sunken eyes, dark blue veins.

Thanks @John Suburbs @Legitimate_Bastard for mentioning the Ib-Skagos connection and the chewing mania. @Lollygag there might be something to Selyse moustache, as Ibbenese women have a beard (or at least a moustache like Assadora in Braavos).

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On 11/1/2018 at 7:12 AM, Bran Vras said:

First the evidence. Recall the appearance of the mastiff.

“Sam,” said Alleras, “this is Archmaester Marwyn.”

Marwyn wore a chain of many metals around his bull’s neck. Save for that, he looked more like a dockside thug than a maester. His head was too big for his body, and the way it thrust forward from his shoulders, together with that slab of jaw, made him look as if he were about to tear off someone’s head. Though short and squat, he was heavy in the chest and shoulders, with a round, rock-hard ale belly straining at the laces of the leather jerkin he wore in place of robes. Bristly white hair sprouted from his ears and nostrils. His brow beetled, his nose had been broken more than once, and sourleaf had stained his teeth a mottled red. He had the biggest hands that Sam had ever seen.

And a little more info had come in the prologue of AFfC:

People said that he kept company with whores and hedge wizards, talked with hairy Ibbenese and pitch-black Summer Islanders in their own tongues, and sacrificed to queer gods at the little sailors’ temples down by the wharves. Men spoke of seeing him down in the undercity, in rat pits and black brothels, consorting with mummers, singers, sellswords, even beggars. Some even whispered that once he had killed a man with his fists.

On the other hand, Maester Yendel tells us that:

The Ibbenese stand apart from the other races of mankind. They are a heavy people, broad about the chest and shoulders, but seldom standing more than five and a half feet in height, with thick, short legs and long arms. Though short and squat, they are ferociously strong; at wrestling, their favorite sport, no man of the Seven Kingdoms can hope to equal them.

Their faces, characterized by sloping brows with heavy ridges, small sunken eyes, great square teeth, and massive jaws, seem brutish and ugly to Westerosi eyes, an impression heightened by their guttural, grunting tongue; but in truth the men of Ib are a cunning folk—skilled craftsmen, able hunters and trackers, and doughty warriors. They are the most hirsute people in the known world. Though their flesh is pale, with dark blue veins beneath the skin, their hair is dark and wiry. Ibbenese men are heavily bearded; wiry body hair covers their arms, legs, chests, and backs. Coarse dark hair is common amongst their women, even on the upper lip. 

Hence Marwyn is short, squat, broad in the chest, with sloping brow, huge jaw, abondant facial hair, large forelimbs – all like a genuine Ibbenese. Moreover he speaks Ibbenese, and fights like an Ibbenese (supposedly killed a man with his own fists). No mention of strange accent though. Some say that GRRM has modeled the Ibbenese on the Neanderthals (short stature, sloping brow, large chest, fighting prowess etc).

If Marwyn were a trueblood Ibbenese, people, even people such as Pate, would have noticed or been told. Indeed Ibbenese sailors pass through Oldtown and the Mage consort with them. Moreover, they look so alien that people recognize them at once (partly because of the smell of their ship though).

More likely, we have the case of a hybrid Ibbenese. Evidently Marwyn has been raised in Westeros. I would suggest that he is the bastard of an Ibbenese sailor and possibly a highborn woman (influential enough to find a place at the Citadel for such an undesirable offspring). We are told that Westerosi-Ibbenese hybridation is difficult, but we see another case in the person of Casso Mogat.

In any case, everyone at the Citadel could notice what I have noticed, so Marwyn's pedigree should not be a big secret especially since people already whisper abundantly about him.

An interesting chunk of history: the historical Ibbenese expanded their realm into a forest at the expense of what seemed to be Children of the Forest. To this day, Dothraki don't dare going into that forest even though they proudly fought and defeated the Ibbenese. So I am inclined to think that the Ibbenese had something to their advantage in their confrontation with the Children or, like the First Men, they eventually found an agreement. But they are a secretive people. Maester Yandel has been unable to collect anything from them about this, except « None of the Ibbenese that Bryan of Oldtown met could say they had ever seen a woods walker, but claimed that the little people blessed a household that left offerings of leaf and stone and water overnight. » His other sources were from the Dothraki side. Marwyn might know more.

Further possible developments: if Marwyn reaches Daenerys, the whalers form Ib could be invaluable in the transportation of people from Essos to Westeros, probably not the Dothraki though, due to noted bad blood with the Ibbenese.

Nope 

 

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A Targaryen bastard.  He's too old to be an Aerys accident but perhaps a Jaeherys sperm splash.  One of                    his serving women jumped in the tub after he took a long, hot bath and one of the little swimmers worked his way in.  

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