Fantasy Author Rebecca Yarros Is Facing Backlash for Several Different Reasons

Rebecca Yarros is facing controversy for her use of the Gaelic language in her novels and for her stance on the conflict in Gaza.


Nov. 8 2023, Published 11:12 a.m. ET

The Gist:

  • Fantasy author Rebecca Yarros has faced controversy for her use of Gaelic in her novel, which she doesn't pronounce properly, and for her anti-war stance on the conflict in Gaza.
  • Rebecca has responded to the criticism surrounding her position on Israel but has yet to address the issues some have with her use of Gaelic.
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Fantasy author Rebecca Yarros has achieved enormous success thanks in large part to her novel Fourth Wing, which is the first book in a planned saga, and has already been optioned for an adaptation at Amazon. The novel tells the story of a young girl who finds herself thrust into the world of dragon riding as war brews outside the walls of her kingdom.

The book's enormous success has meant plenty of publicity for Rebecca, but it's also meant that the author has faced some backlash both for her public statements, and for the way she uses language in her book. The sequel to Fourth Wing, Iron Flame, released on Nov. 7, 2023.

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What is behind the Rebecca Yarros controversy?

The first controversy around Rebecca and her writing stems from her use of Gaelic to name many of her characters. In a video which has gained traction on TikTok, a Scottish user named Muireann (@ceartguleabhar) slams Rebecca for her inability to pronounce the names of her own characters correctly.

“After seeing that video I have personal beef with Rebecca Yarros,” Muireann says in the video, explaining that her errors range from bad vowel usage to adding needless extra syllables.

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Source: TikTok/@ceartguleabhar

Muireann says that she finds it offensive when American authors use Gaelic without feeling the need to do any research or even learn how to properly pronounce the words they're using. She doesn't appreciate authors who use these languages in a "disrespectful way. They’re just pronouncing them like English speakers.”

It's a fair critique, and one rooted in the Scottish desire to maintain its own culture and heritage.

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Rebecca Yarros has also been condemned for her position on Israel.

In addition to her use of Gaelic, some have also criticized the author for her position on the ongoing conflict in Gaza. In a post on Instagram from Oct. 15, Rebecca attempted to clarify her position. Rebecca said that she was against war in all forms, and also added that the discussion of this conflict shouldn't be centered on her "white, privileged voice."

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"To those tagging me and throwing around accusations that I support genocide, I will say this: As someone whose grandfather survived a Nazi concentration camp as a POW and suffered the lifelong physical effects of torture, I find your accusations not only false, but personally insulting," she continued.

"I abhor war in every form, which is why every military book I write delves into the myriad of ways war irrevocably harms people," she continued. "I’ve received dozens of documented, nauseating, and frightening D* and R* threats in the past due to my anti-war views, which leaves me hesitant to speak on THIS platform. I’d rather ACT by boosting other voices and donating money, which I have."

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