Behind the Trees: Episode 11 Girls Gone Canon
Good morning all, and welcome back to Behind the Trees, your little snippet of information on the latest Isle of Faces Episode.
Episode 11, where I hosted the Girls of Girls Gone Canon, was one of my favourite episodes so far, and one I had been looking forward to since I came up with the whole idea. First question is first, how did we get from Episode 3 to 11 so quickly? The answer, as with all things, is given to us by television. For Season 8 of Game of Thrones myself and my dear wife, Lady Buckley, have been doing mini-casts on the lesser known aspects of the season, trying to get to the hidden parts that deserve some light, and generally being pretty darn positive (so it is likely not for everyone). We also argue a lot about Daenerys and Sansa, so that’s fun.
The episodes can all be found wherever you normally find our episodes, so please do go have a listen if you fancy.
All those minicasts did not really warrant a ‘Behind the Trees’ of their own. But this one does. What was once Episode 4 became Episode 11, and what was once a vague hope in my mind became a reality. Lucky me.
Episode 11 is special for two reasons. Firstly I got to chat with two superb staples of our fandom, and great people besides, but I was also able to (with the girls’ blessing and encouragement, which was sorely needed) announce that my LARGE ASOIAF PROJECT was actually a book: THE GREAT CASTLES OF WESTEROS: An Unofficial Guide. Needless to say, this project is very close to my heart and it was an honour to announce it on the cast and on this particular episode seeing as Chloe was the very first person I told about it! It’s all come full circle, you guys!
There is plenty to say on the castles book but I shall save that for a separate post. The bulk of the episode is about Girls Gone Canon, and the post should follow suit.
I’ve mentioned this in various places already, including the episode itself, but I will do so again here. I am always excited to talk with whoever is guesting on the podcast, but this was something else. Not only was it great to have two guests at once again, but they were two guests who are dear, dear to my heart and who played a huge role in my getting to the Isle of Faces in the first place.
Eliana, as one of the co-hosts of Maester Monthly, is and was truly inspiring to me with her unique takes and analysis of the series (and the episode reveals where she honed these abilities). The format of the show and particularly Eliana’s attitude on it resulted in one of the first times I thought “Hey maybe I can contribute something to this fandom too.” No doubt their mission seeped into my brain also. Maester Monthly is about shining light on the highlights of the ASOIAF subreddit. And what is the Isle of Faces doing if not shining light on our content creators?
Chloe takes even more of the blame. Way back when in early 2018 Chloe was the first person to ask me to be on a podcast, and I really can’t do justice to how that made me feel. To me, it was validation, it was an unbelievable comment and I suddenly felt I had my feet on the same mountain as everyone else (even if I was still at the bottom.) On top of that I mentioned about the Castles Book, almost in passing, and she couldn’t have been more encouraging. It was just a single conversation, but I truly doubt I would have finished the book without it. It is Chloe who really gave me the tools to kick off the Isle of Faces. I’ve lost count of the times she’s sent me encouraging tweets or lambasted me for my lack of confidence. She has pushed me, motivated me, and inspired me.
So add these two together, with both possessing incalculable intelligence and analytic, incredibly friendly and welcoming attitudes and the very best of chemistry, it is easy to see why Girls Gone Canon is as popular as it is.
All of this, obviously, had me wanting to get them on the show. It must have been autumn or early winter when I first reached out, and I knew the chances of getting both free at the same time were stupidly small. These are two of the busiest people in the fandom, each of them with their own multiple projects and a weekly podcast on top. Plus, in the words of Nute Gunray, “now there are two of them”, so it is always logistically difficult. I was also working a rather horrible job at the time where I was doing some like 4000 hours a week, or so it felt.
Such was the difficulty that I believe we actually agreed the girls would have to do separate episodes. A shame, for sure, but either one of them would have made a superb guess and I was beside myself with just getting a ‘yes’, so if memory serves the original plan was to have Eliana come on first and then arrange a further episode with Chloe somewhere down the line (I’m fronting here, it could easily have been the other way around).
But the Old Gods are kind; the heavens opened and a weekend in January became available for the both of them. Needless to say, I leapt on the opportunity. And so it was that in the last week of January I was able to record with the both of them, like the lucky son of a gun I am.
Unfortunately, I was still very much in the backlogs at this point. I had recordings of Jinx Lierre and Vanessa Cole from December I had not even touched yet, and the Castle Book was nowhere near ready to be announced. So to my much-deserved shame the girls had to wait a fair few months for their show to be published. Again, because of my luck and their brilliance, neither of them could have been nicer about it.
There is a further shame to add to the episode. When I finally did come to editing and listening back our three voices, it really hit me how different I sounded. I remember, clearly, the day on which we recorded. I had been at work for nine hours (on a Sunday, no less), was in the throes of a particularly bad term, and generally was not having much fun. The effect the place had on my darling wife made it about fifty times worse. I don’t wish to use it as an excuse, but I believe you can really hear the weight of that job coming through in our chat, which saddens me. I have a rather flat and heavy voice at the best of times, no one ever thinks I get excited about anything, so adding this really didn’t sound good. Which is a shame, because I was genuinely excited. In addition, I suppose, is the fact I was still new to the mic. Since then we’ve done something like 8 minicasts and I’ve been on three live streams of History of Westeros, so I like to think I’ve made at least some small steps in how I come across on a mic.
I can only offer my apologies to the girls. I wish I sounded a bit more like I do now, free of that horrible job, during our chat. I suppose it is yet another reason to get you back on the Isle of Faces as soon as possible.
Luckily, people don’t come to the Isle to hear me anyway! The episode was absolutely brilliant, the girls explain to us how they each came across the series, their other loves of literature, the importance of cosplay, how awesome Ice & Fire con is, Eliana even sings for us and needless to say their famous chemistry flows right through the recording. A good 70% of it is just the three of us laughing. Add that to some supreme takes on their favourite POVs, which character they would most want to host a podcast with and of course they give copious shout outs to others in the fandom.
I can even tell you that the technical difficulties aspect from episode 3 seemed largely resolved. The only downside was that I ended up deciding to cut a conversation we had about episode 8. Being that we recorded in January we were obviously just short on any kind of details and seeing as this was released just a few days before the series finale it just didn’t quite work to hear our very-wrong predictions and guesses (on my part especially). The shame of it was that the girls had some very profound and genuinely emotional stuff to say about how the series will live on, and the fandom itself also, about how the friendships we’ve made are going to stick around, and I guess they are the best example of that. I did try my best to sneak that part of the convo in, but it just didn’t stick.
Nethertheless, a superb episode, that I very much enjoyed. Here’s hoping they both visit the Isle again.
Come, Click a Link with me then
Chloe’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/liesandarbor
Eliana’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/arhythmetric
The Girls Gone Canon Twitter: https://twitter.com/girlsgonecanon
Maester Monthly Twitter: https://twitter.com/MaesterMonthly