Ivan was a tall, handsome young man with bronze skin and wavy, brown hair.
Ivan had two brothers, an uncle, and a father who served in the First Army and died fighting in the wars. Ivan was eventually tested by a Grisha Examiner and taken to a school to be trained as a Grisha. He was asked to travel with the Darkling, an honor Ivan gladly accepted.
He eventually became one of the Darkling's favored Grisha and was given permission to claim an amplifier for his own: a Sherborn bear which he proceeded to kill and claim for himself, taking the claws of the bear's forepaw to wear it on a chain around his neck.
Ivan grew to develop fierce loyalty for the Darkling, believing that only he could save them and give them peace, so he fully supported him in the plan to take over the Fold. When Alina Starkov was taken to the Little Palace after her powers were first discovered, the Darkling often assigned Ivan to look after her.
When Alina was brought back after a failed attempt to escape, he tried to let her see as he did by telling her about his past.
Ivan accompanied the Darkling in his hunt for Alina that took them to Crofton, a town near Novyi Zem. Aboard a whaler provided by the notorious privateer Sturmhond, Ivan continued to follow the Darkling's orders. He went up against two of Sturmhond's crew, the twins Tamar and Tolya, threatening them with his power when they stood up to him for pushing Alina around.
Later during Sturmhond's mutiny and escape with Alina, Mal, and his crew, Ivan attempted to kill Tolya, unaware that he and his twin sister were Heartrenders as well. He and Tolya engaged in a power struggle, with Tolya emerging victorious, crushing Ivan's heart and killing him.