Behind The Monk’s Curse: Chapter Five

Behind the Scenes, The Monk's Curse - Prologue

In my opinion, this has to be one of the most exciting chapters in the entire novel. Of course the Prologue was exciting. As was perhaps Chapter Two – that is, in my opinion. But, like those two chapters, Chapter Five remains a firm favourite of mine, as the author.

Of course my opinion is skewed. But, unlike Chapters Three and Four, this stands with the chapters I mentioned above as one of the key chapters in the novel. As usual, I cannot say much without giving a spoiler. And, I did promise last week that the 31st of May would herald a comprehensive historical companion to The Monk’s Curse. Firstly, I shall keep my first promise – to not spoil much. Unfortunately, I cannot keep my second. Attempting to write a book encompassing all of my research is proving to be tedious. It is filled with historical detail. In any case, it will not release at the end of this month. Perhaps the end of next…

But as historical detail is important to that guide, so it is to this novel. And the detail begins to take shape in this chapter. That is what makes it so exciting. Spurred by discontent and doubt, the protagonist is led to a shocking discovery which will only lead to more shocking historical discoveries. I did promise monasteries and the like in the blurb. This comes close to that promise, but not quite. I also love this chapter because it links back to another of my favourites – the Prologue.

But, let me leave it there. To sum it all up, this chapter propels the novel in the direction it is to take more than any previous chapters. This novel introduces what will come to be the impetus for many important discoveries. This is where the history begins.

My only hope now is that I may deliver a historical companion to all of this, if not for my satisfaction, the hopefully for the readers of The Monk’s Curse.

World Parliaments – Constituencies versus Proportional Representation

Of late there have been many elections taking place around the world. This year we have seen the elections in Malawi, in South Africa, and in India. We have also recently witnessed a UK general election as well as a USA Presidential election. The next USA election is set to take place next November. Considering these elections brings to the fore the matter of the legislature. While the USA has a separate vote for the legislature, it is still one worth considering.

In any case, there are two main systems for the elections of legislatures. Some legislatures are called Parliaments. Others are called Houses or Sabhas. Whatever the nomenclature, most countries have a system of a bicameral Parliament. That is, there are two houses of Parliament – an upper and a lower one. Often, the executive is constituted of members of the lower house of Parliament. Such is the case in the United Kingdom, India, and the Republic of South Africa.

Of course there are far more differences in a nation’s system of government. However, in this post, I wish only to discuss the means by which a legislature is elected.

Constituency Based Election

This is where the nation is divided into constituents or areas. Each constituency sends a member of Parliament. This member is determined by an election in that constituency. Called the first past the post system, the member who attains a majority of the vote in the constituency becomes that constituency’s member of Parliament. This means that a party may gain a majority if enough constituencies are won. This also means that the majority party may not necessarily get a popular vote equivalent to their percentage of seats. For example, if a member wins the constituency with only 51%, and if every member of that party won in every constituency with that majority, they will be represented 100% in Parliament even though 51% of people voted for them. This presents a clear disadvantage of the system. Effectively, even if a party got a major popular vote, they may never win a seat.

This aspect is contentious as it means that people like Donald Trump can come into power even though they do not win the popular vote. Similarly, populists like Narendra Modi may also win, even though their popular vote might have been lower than the seats in Parliament that they receive.

But this system does have its benefits. Notably, members of Parliament, elected by ordinary people in their area, remain accountable to the people of that area. Accountability is a crucial aspect of government.

Proportional Based Election

In terms of democracy, this is a clear winner. Citizens vote for their desired party. The votes are tallied. The percentage that the party wins of the popular vote determines the same percentage that they will receive in Parliament. This means that the people’s choice is clearly represented. This has proved to be a good system in South Africa where it ensures adequate representation of women in Parliament due to the ruling party’s policy. Obviously, this may change if the ruling party changes.

A disadvantage of this system is that members are deployed by the party and not the people. Thus, they are accountable to the party and not the country. This is to the detriment of accountability.

A compromise?

Both systems have their flaws and benefits. As a result, it is seen in some countries that half of Parliament is appointed by popular vote while the other half is constituency based. This is definitely a winner, maintaining both accountability and the people’s choice.

Considering election styles is definitely something worth worldwide attention. To be complacent with any style is to be unable to see its flaws. To question it is to potentially bring about a government that is true to democracy; serving the people. Thus, awareness regarding politics and government is a crucial aspect to civil society.

Behind The Monk’s Curse: Chapter Four

Behind the Scenes, The Monk's Curse - Prologue

Today marks the fourth week since my original post promising weekly additions to this blog, mapping out the behind the scenes of each chapter of The Monk’s Curse.

But first, I would like to announce an exciting venture. Writing these posts mean that they have to be strictly spoiler free. This does not make for a very interesting journey. Of course my research is mentioned as the story slowly gets fleshed out in these posts, but there is so much that is held back. To remedy this I shall be releasing a companion guide to The Monk’s Curse on the 31st of May. This guide will focus on the real history that inspired The Monk’s Curse – a novel which has heavy historical detail and background. This guide will be available on Amazon and on Prolific Works, for free.

Now, with that done, and without further ado, behind chapter four!

Unlike Chapter Three, this chapter is quite a lengthy one.

As a chapter, it is the first real delve into the head of the protagonist as he reels in shock, dismay, fear, and confusion after the events and revelations of chapters one and three. This reveals a state of mind that will come to the fore in following parts of the novel. It is also a state of mind that is particularly to note in its similarity to the state of mind of another character later in the book. Most importantly, this state of mind is what sets things in motion as the protagonist is plunged into a search for his truth.

This state is exacerbated by a conversation that the protagonist overhears. Revealing crucial information, it only deepens his desire to search for the truth. And, met with the opportunity in the next chapter, he jumps at it. This leads him to find information that ties back directly to the Prologue.

So, as with the previous chapters, this one sets the scene. It sets the scene for the unravelling of what is to become an intricate tapestry of history – a history that will be explored in the book to release on the 31st.

Until next week.