Ivan Vorpatril

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Name: Ivan Vorpatril
Occupation: ImpSec
Relationships: Tej Vorpatril (wife), Alys Vorpatril (mother}, Padma Vorpatril (father), Miles Vorkosigan (cousin), Gregor Vorbarra (cousin), Byerly Vorrutyer (cousin), Aral Vorkosigan (uncle), Cordelia Vorkosigan (aunt), Donna Vorrutyer (lover), Simon Illyan (mother's lover), Duv Galeni (boss)
Fandom: Vorkosigan Saga
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Ivan Vorpatril is a major character in the Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold. Introduced in the novel Barrayar, where he is born shortly after his father's murder during the Vordarian Pretendership, Ivan appears as Miles Vorkosigan's sidekick in many subsequent novels, particularly in The Warrior's Apprentice, Cetaganda, Brothers in Arms & Memory, before getting to be the hero in Captain Vorpatril's Alliance (CVA). Widely referred to as 'that idiot Ivan', he nevertheless manages to reach adulthood sane while being third in line to the Barrayaran throne.

Fannish Opinion

Ivan is, in appearance, the Perfect Vor lord: tall, dark, handsome, and wearing a military uniform. Aral calls him "That Idiot Ivan," which is kind of unfair; Ivan just looks dumb compared to Miles, and considering the plots and counter-plots swirling around the society he lives in, and his mother’s pressure to marry, have kids, and make something of himself, making himself seem stupider than he is is actually a pretty good survival strategy. Ivan's the master at not getting into trouble or, if he does stumble, sliding sideways out of it. His goal is to get laid a lot, have some fun, advance in his career as much as necessary, stay out of the spotlight, and generally maintain a peaceful, easy life. Pity for him, then, that he's related to Miles, because he’s forever getting drawn into Miles’ schemes. (Crack Van overview)[1]
[H]e's popular in the fandom, justly so in my opinion. He's the reasonable Everyman who isn't more than averagely brave despite his heroic appearance. (Raveninthewind)[2]


Ivan's charm, good looks & habit of getting Miles out of difficulties make him a highly popular character in fanworks, with many fans foregrounding his adventures before Bujold got the idea. Sahiya commented in 2006 that Ivan's story not having come to a conclusion makes him attractive to fanwriters.[3] There seems to have been an uptick in Ivan-centric fanworks with the 2010 announcement of a forthcoming Ivan novel.

There are many gen works about his childhood with Miles, Gregor Vorbarra & Elena Bothari, as well as humour focusing on him evading his mother's matrimonial ambitions or his reaction to her relationship with Simon Illyan. His canonical claustrophobia after the events of Brothers in Arms features in some stories.

The most popular pairing for the character is Ivan/Byerly, which is one of the major slash pairings of the fandom. Occasional slash partners include Gregor & Duv Galeni. In het, his affair with Donna Vorrutyer is sometimes explored, and his canonical relationship with the Jacksonian Tej Arqua has a small following. He is only rarely paired with Miles[4] or any other canon character, but got a range of female original character partners before Tej's introduction in CVA. His good looks make him a popular subject for fan art.

Example Fanworks





Fan Art


Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.


  1. ^ crack-van: Vorkosigan Universe: An Overview (accessed 2 July 2016)
  2. ^ crack-van: Foolproof by Millefiori (PG) (accessed 2 July 2016)
  3. ^ In the comments to Bujold Fanfic Musings by Kilerkki (accessed 2 July 2016)
  4. ^ bujold-fic: Something I never see (accessed 2 July 2016)