Painter Of The Night: The chamber where everything changed

This is where you can read the manhwa. But be aware that this manhwa is a mature Yaoi, which means, it is about homosexuality with explicit scenes. If you want to read more essays, here is the link to the table of contents:

In this analysis, I will compare two major scenes (chapters 20-21 versus chapters 41-42), which happened both in Baek Na-Kyum’s study and chamber. In this chamber, our main lead, Yoon Seungho, has sex with the painter BNK.

The moment the lord Yoon Seungho forced the painter to live in his mansion, the latter was sent to the room next to Yoon Seungho’s bedchamber. One of the reasons for this was that it was much easier for BNK to enter the lord’s chamber in order to paint the erotic scenes. However this also outlined the special status the noble gave him. The noble would have never let someone live close to him whom he didn’t trust. He knew that the painter represented no thread to him.

Now, you are wondering why these scenes should be compared to each other. First, both scenes mark a turning point in the relationship between the lord and the painter. Secondly, through the comparison, you get a better understanding of the chapter 42 and why it also illustrates a crucial moment for the painter, whereas the chapters 20-21 marked a pivotal moment for Yoon Seungho.

What caught my attention was the way both scenes showed so many parallels. Let us a take closer look:

  1. both scenes were predated with an argument between the painter and the teacher Jung In-Hun. In the picture below, you can observe Seungho witnessed from far away how BNK got upset. chapter 19

The lord can not hear the content of the conversation but he observes that Baek Na-Kyum is hurt and upset due to the teacher. The latter has just discovered that the invitation and the support from Yoon Seungho has nothing to do with Jung In Hun’s abilities. Then he resents the low-born. In the chapter 41, Yoon visits the painter’s study because he heard from the servants that the painter wouldn’t leave his room and would keep painting without eating much. As you can see, the lord pays a lot of attention to the mental health of the painter. He knows from the way BNK is acting that something is wrong. The reason for BNK’s strange behavior is that BNK had just heard before from Jung In Hun that he was born to be a prostitute. His love for In Hun was so pure and for the teacher, BNK was just a prostitute.

The quarrel started because the painter asked the teacher what would happen to him, once the learned sir would succeed the civil service examination. The scholar refused to take any responsibility for the commoner, as he claimed that he was already experiencing a huge change and getting a lot of benefit from Yoon Seungho. The artist had to hear from the one whom he admired the most that he was just a prostitute in his eyes. (chapter 40) The main lead was definitely hurt. Nonetheless, Seungho never witnessed their conversation, unlike in the chapter 19. And in this chapter (19), the rich lord thought that the expensive bottle of wine that had disappeared had been snatched by the painter due to his emotional state. Since the aristocrat had already figured it out that the painter was upset, he decided to visit the artist’s chamber. In other words, in both cases, the lord showed some concern about the painter, and wanted to keep an eye on him. At the same time, he desired to discover the truth about the missing bottle of wine

2. In both scenes, the painter made the first move on Seungho, which contrasts so much to the artist’s normal behavior. The latter has always kept pushing away the rich lord. He always tried to avoid his touch and even his gaze.

chapter 19: here notice his gaze. He never expected a kiss from the artist.

In the chapter 42, BNK didn’t kiss the lord right away, he asked Seungho first to hold him. However, there was no reaction from the lord, since BNK had yelled at the noble before which led Seungho to slap the painter for his disrespect. Unlike in the chapter 20-21, there was no quarrel between the lord and the painter… but there was a huge misunderstanding. BNK mistook YSH for the teacher and thought, Jung In Hun was visiting, hence he kissed him. Back then, he was under the influence of alcohol, yet this revealed his deepest wish. He wanted to confess his love for the teacher. Striking is that in both kisses, Seungho keeps his eyes opened.

chapter 41

In the chapter 20, he was surprised and shocked, in the other chapter he is uncertain about the kiss. He has no idea why the crying, visibly upset BNK is asking for his embrace. Nonetheless, BNK’s kisses did affect Seungho whom I have been described in another post as someone detached and emotionless. While he criticizes the painter’s kiss in the chapter 42, this would not arouse him, in the earlier chapter he made no complaint. He saw it as an opportunity to finally taste the painter. He was not annoyed by the lack of inexperience unlike in the chapter 41. However, both kisses have something in common. Both outline BNK’s innocence and purity. These kisses are not here to excite the partner but to express a deep and pure love (chapter 19) or to ask for warmth and comfort (chapter 41).

3. The other similarity is the presence of Jung In Hun in that chamber, although the teacher is not physically there. In the chapter 19, the love confession BNK made was actually addressed to Jung In Hun and not Seungho. Furthermore, BNK kept calling Seungho “my learned sir” and that’s how the painter used to call his beloved teacher. Since BNK was drunk, he mistook the wealthy lord for his loved one. I would even say that BNK is actually imagining JIH’s presence. He is not really seeing the teacher as the author gave us a few pictures from BNK’s perspective. It was as if he wished, the teacher would be there. He drank so much in order to drown his sorrows but to be more precise, he drank in order to escape from reality, like he was in ecstasy. He preferred living in an illusion than facing the reality that the teacher has never loved him and will never loved him. For BNK, this night is like a dream. In other words, this night where BNK lost his virginity was an illusion and a dream. That’s why at the end, he cried out of happiness and even told Seungho that he was happy. But for Seungho, this night had another signification. First, he thought that it wasn’t too bad if BNK mistook him for JIH as he could finally taste the painter. However, as time passed on, he could no longer bear hearing from BNK “learned sir” hence he proposed BNK to call him “lord”. As you can see, the shadow of JIH in the room did bother Seungho. And for Seungho, this night in the chapter marked a pivotal moment as well. He heard a pure and innocent love confession and at the end, when BNK told him that he was so happy and his heart was full, Seungho’s heart was moved and touched. I doubt that Seungho had ever heard before that he could make someone happy. Since BNK had kept his virginity intact for his loved one and confessed to Seungho indirectly, this night gives the readers the impression of a wedding night. Back then, the husband usually joined the bride much later. But the problem here is that all this was also an illusion and a dream for Seungho as everything said and done was addressed to the learnt sir and not to our main lead. This explains why our seme is looking for a renewal of this night later.

As I had mentioned before, in both scenes the readers felt the presence of In Hun in this chamber. In chapter 41, his shadow is indicated by the drawing,

Notice Seungho’s reaction: his gaze shows his displeasure and shock.

Although the painter is kissing him and even asking him to embrace him, the lord refuses and becomes even angry at the low-born. He doesn’t want to become intimate with the painter because this is related to Jung In Hun. Our seme is even quite brutal and even grabs BNK’s hair. He even criticizes BNK’s kiss saying that with such a move he can not be excited. But this rejection from the lord doesn’t even upset the painter, hence he becomes more proactive. He grabs Seungho’s loin, undresses himself (chapter 41), he would have sex with the seme without any preparation. The lord is actually surprised by BNK’s actions because this doesn’t resemble him at all. He acts as a prostitute that’s why Seungho asks if the teacher has talked the painter into it.

But by comparing these two scenes, I noticed some differences as well. We can observe a huge contrast between these two scenes. While earlier, Seungho was just looking for sex, he found love or better said, he tasted the illusion of love and enjoyed it very much. Baek Na-Kyum was a virgin, totally inexperienced and innocent who asked the noble to be careful with him. And in chapter 41-42, the opposite is happening. The artist is actually acting like a prostitute… it was, as if he was looking for sex but this is not what Seungho wants. I say prostitute because BNK is acting as if he was doing a job and not seeking love and affection. He considers himself as a prostitute as he has received support from the lord all this time and he thinks that Seungho has always perceived him as such. There is no seduction in this scene as BNK has been “forced to prostitution”. Actually, the painter’s words contradict his words and his actions. He doesn’t say that he wants sex because he keeps begging for the lord’s embrace. Being hold is connected to warmth and affection. And here, the reader can feel the pain and despair from the painter. Jung In Hun’s words (“you are born as a prostitute”) are still in his mind. Here, BNK is doing the exact opposite of the night in the chapter 20. He is no longer running away from the reality and living in an illusion, BNK wants to face the reality. The slap from Seungho should be considered as a wake up call. Baek Na-Kyum can not ignore the lord’s status, he can not mistake him for someone equal to him. In both scenes, BNK overlooked the lord and this is not what Seungho wants. He wants to be perceived as the person he is: a lord who worries about the painter.

Then in order to underline the contrast between both scenes, while their first night took place during the night, the kiss in chapter 41-42 happens during the day. As you can see, the time reinforces the idea of illusion (chapter 20-21) and of reality (chapter 41-42). So since the artist is facing reality, he has decided to follow his lord’s orders (painting erotic pictures) and he acts as a prostitute, because he really believes what Jung In Hun said before. He is taking the teacher’s words as face value, while in verity Jung In-Hun has no idea that Yoon Seungho is treating BNK more like a lover and even “wife”. Back then, it was a custom that the lord visits the chamber of the wife and concubine. But the artist is not really aware of all this. And just like in the chapter 20, the aristocrat is annoyed and even jealous of the place the learned sir has in Baek Na-Kyum’s mind and heart.

Another difference is that in the chapter 20 Seungho wanted to sleep with BNK right away and BNK had to stop him. The painter had to confess his virginity and his fear and this confession surprised the lord as he never expected this from the low-born. Since the painter came from a gisaeng house and would paint sodomy, he naturally thought, he had experienced. In the chapter 42, Seungho does the opposite. While BNK wants to start right away, the noble questions BNK’s behavior and points out the need of preparation. And this difference out lines the special care the lord has for the painter. He really determines not to hurt BNK physically, while the latter doesn’t care at all. Like I had mentioned before, the physical pain is to replace the emotional pain.

Striking is that even in the chapter 42, their first night is even mentioned. The painter confesses that he did enjoy the night, he even concedes that he likes painting such erotic pictures. Since he is facing reality, BNK admits for the first time his homosexuality which had been suppressed by the teacher all this time. But at the same time, he is admitting that he is a prostitute which is shown through his actions. However, he can’t even say this to the lord. What caught my attention was the contrast between these scenes when it comes to eloquence. Although BNK was drunk in the chapter 20-21, his confession was well spoken (“I admire you”, “I pine for you”), in the chapter 42 he is neither sick nor drunk, yet he is unable to talk properly. He stutters and can’t even finish his sentences “I’m… a …”). The pain is so strong that he is left speechless.

He is so hurt that he wants to have rough sex (“harder”, “so it’s all the way in”). He wants to be physically hurt so that he can no longer feel any pain in his heart. It was as if he wanted to erase the words In Hun spoke from his mind. Hence he says “So I can’t think of anything else”. Strangely, BNK’s gesture and position show the change in their relationship. He is now facing the lord, he even grabs the noble’s hand and puts it on his stomach. It is such an intimate gesture outlining that this is much more than senseless sex. BNK has not realized the contradiction between his words (“harder”/ “to hold me”) and his actions (grabbing his loin/putting the hand on his stomach). We can see that BNK is actually lost and confused.

However, just like the night from the chapter 20 changed everything for Seungho, this night changes everything, as BNK is no longer running away from reality. (chapter 42) He is no longer suppressing his homosexuality and he is accepting to have Seungho by his side. Just thinking about In Hun causes pain to the painter here, while he was in ecstasy in the chapter 20. He even wrinkled the painting of the ceremony with In Hun which shows the huge pain in his heart. (chapter 41) For him, paintings are treasures. This gesture reveals some changes in BNK. The painter is well aware that the teacher has abandoned him as the former doesn’t want to assume any responsibility. Therefore, his disrespect for the picture is a sign of disrespect for the teacher. Although he has internalized In Hun’s words and views, he is so affected that he no longer admires In Hun like before. In the chapter 42, he no longer calls Jung In Hun “learned sir” but “my teacher” which illustrates that BNK no longer views IH as a noble (“sir”) but as a simple teacher. He only sees Jung In Hun in his actual position and not as his social status. We all know that despite being a noble, JIH is not rich and influential. He belongs to the lower nobility. IH is no longer put on a pedestal. But BNK has still some respect for IH as he calls him “my teacher”. So there is still a string between the teacher and the painter but it is about to disappear.

There is another common denominator in both scenes: the tears. While the artist cries out joy and happiness in chapter 21, here his tears are linked pain and sorrow, as the artist is heartbroken. (chapter 42) This time, it is the lord who initiates the embrace, something the painter had been longing. (chapter 41) Yet, this request only got fulfilled at the end of the love-sex session, the main lead put the painter on his lap while kissing him and even embraced him in an desperate attempt to console the artist. Simultaneously, this shows that Seungho is longing for warmth, love and tenderness. But despite this night, Seungho is well aware that Baek Na-Kyum is not loving him. He has sex with him because BNK has confessed before that he has never hated the things he did with Seungho which represents a huge step for the lord.

However, the huge contrast is that Seungho is unaware of the reason for the artist’s distress and pain in chapter 41-42. He thought that it was related to the scholar’s departure. Hence he made no move on the painter, and was even a little rough, when he thought that the scholar had asked him to do such a thing. This reasoning illustrates that Yoon Seungho didn’t realize that the scholar had backstabbed the painter. He couldn’t recognize the true cause for the artist’s pain. At the same time, he failed to grasp that the artist had already moved on from the teacher. Besides, he never noticed that the artist had lied for him twice. He had feigned ignorance about the content of the conversation between the main lead and his brother. He had not betrayed his sponsor and host. (chapter 38) Striking is that the painter blamed himself. From my point of view, the painter’s confession could only wound the noble’s heart. (chapter 41) He had the impression that he was somehow responsible for the artist’s tears. Yet after this night, Yoon Seungho had sensed that something had changed in their relationship, just like Baek Na-Kyum’s relationship with the teacher had changed. Notice that this room is connected to betrayal, love, sex and pain.

In conclusion, this chamber is full of symbolism. Here, a noble could feel warmth and love for the first time, although it was just an illusion. Yet he became addicted. As for the artist, this room represents the place where he decided to confront reality. In this room, the lord joins the painter which seems to indicate the future position in the couple: Seungho is willing to meet the painter. The reason for the connection between the study and the change is that in that precise room, the lord had experienced the same: betrayal, sex, love and pain. In my opinion, this is where he got sexually abused.

Feel free to comment. If you have any suggestion for topics or manhwas, feel free to ask. If you enjoyed reading it, retweet it or push the button like. My Reddit-Instagram-Tumblr-Twitter account is: @bebebisous33. Thanks for reading and for the support, particularly, I would like to thank all the new followers and people recommending my blog.

Truth and Memories: Memorist, Nobody knows, Find Me in Your Memories and The King: Eternal Monarch

Before we start to analyse different actual k-dramas under the aspect of truth and memories, we need to take a look at the definition of truth. This is what I found under the following website (

  1. the true or actual state of a matter:He tried to find out the truth.
  2. conformity with fact or reality; verity:the truth of a statement.
  3. a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle, or the like:mathematical truths.
  4. the state or character of being true.
  5. actuality or actual existence.
  6. an obvious or accepted fact; truism; platitude.

As you can observe, truth is not just simple, although it is a short word that is often used. Truth has different meanings. Even philosophers like e.g. Plato questioned the definition and essence of truth. In our case, the second and fifth meaning are the relevant ones because truth is in the center of crime series. Fact, verity and reality are the goals of police work. Police need facts and evidence in order to retrace the events. They attempt to find the whole truth hence they need to find the culprit for the offense as the identity of the perpetrator is often unknown. As such, people think that discovering the perpetrator is a synonym for truth as it is a fact and a reality (signification 2).

But is it correct to think so? Actually, we have to question this belief. Knowing the identity of the culprit doesn’t necessarily signify that the police know the truth… Sure, in order to unveil the truth, the police investigation has to bring physical evidence and testimony of witnesses. However, the motive and justification for the crime are all subjective hence the detectives can only guess those. They can reconstitute the whole crime scene but they can never retrace the thoughts of the culprit. Moreover, it’s very difficult to prove a motive, especially if the perpetrator is motivated by emotions (anger, jealousy, etc.) and even irrational thoughts (serial killers). The profiler and detective can only guess and make assumptions but there is no guarantee that their reconstitution is the truth. Finally, retracing the events can never become the reality and as such the truth, since the victim is already injured or dead. The crime has already happened. As you can see, finding the whole truth is not physically possible. The thoughts can never be shown, the reconstitution can only give a glimpse of reality.

But even so, in order to retrace the events, the detectives have to rely on evidence and the testimony of witnesses, like I mentioned above. Evidence is quite simple as these are traces, like a bill, a phone call etc. On the other hand, it is quite different for the testimony of witnesses. The latter have to remember and we know that memory is not reliable, as people tend to forget or the witness didn’t pay attention to the scene and could only get a small part of the event, or even misinterpreted the words or the scene. In other words, memories are very subjective and even fluctuate, yet for the detectives, the memories of a witness can become facts. That’s why in memories lie a certain danger and can never served as the whole truth. Memories are quite subjective but are often treated as objective by people. This explains why during a trial, the witnesses are questioned by the lawyer and the prosecutor. By analyzing the veracity (truthfulness) of a testimony from both perspectives, the trial is trying to retrace the crime and retrace the thoughts of the accused before the events. All of this in the attempt to find the whole truth. That’s why memories play a huge part in the investigation and this topic is treated in the following k-drama, Memorist.

Poster of Memorist

Detective Dong Baek (Yoo Seung Ho) has the supernatural ability to read people’s memories, when he touches them. Armed with this power, he tackles a mysterious serial murder case. And due to his ability, he catches criminals and is able to send them to jail. Initially Han Sun Mi, a profiler, dislikes the detective because she finds his method suspicious and quite dangerous. As you can see, the detective’s ability is perceived as an objective tool. We are not shown, how the criminals he caught were really convicted. He is the only one who can read their memories and in this drama, the viewer have the impression that memories read by DB are quite objective. Strangely, our main protagonist is suffering himself from amnesia. He knows nothing about his past, he only remembers the corpse of a woman. That’s why he is using his supernatural ability, he wishes deep down to discover his own past and the culprit of the murdered woman he keeps remembering.

Striking is that although Han Sun Min kept her distance from Dong Baek for a while, she relied herself a lot on her memories. She still wants to catch the culprit of her father’s murder. Only after many years, she realizes her mistake. She thought she saw a scar on the culprit’s face, while in reality she saw the mark of a face mask. As you can observe, the memories and their interpretation misled the profiler. Later, both protagonists are confronted with a crime, where the witnesses have no memories at all. All their memories have been erased and with no evidence, Bong Baek and Han Sun Mi have no lead to find the culprit. As the investigation progresses, they realize that they have to deal with a man with the supernatural ability to erase memories. At the end of the episode 12, DB touches Lee Shin Woong, Han Su Min’s superior, and read his memories. To his shock and surprise, he sees his younger self and the police commissioner confirms that it was DB who killed 7 people 20 years ago. As conclusion, the witness and the memorist believe these memories as the truth and fact. However, seeing is not the same as knowing. Dong Baek could have a twin brother hence Lee Shin Woong misjudged the situation. He thought, he saw DB, while it was not correct. Another possibility is that Lee Shin Woong manipulated his memories in order to mislead the memorist. All these events actually outline that testimonies should never be treated as the truth. That’s why we have trials where the reliability of witnesses is questioned. The use of DB’s ability for investigation is actually questionable. He is a human being and the memories read by him are also subjective.

Nobody knows

Then in this k-drama, the writer is already pointing out through the title “Nobody knows” that it is quite impossible to find the whole truth. Sure, the title is first referring to secret. All the persons involved have a secret which is revealed one by one. CYJ was the best friend of the 8th victim in the stigmata serial killing, HMS cheated on a test, KEH had discovered the identity of his biological father etc. In other words, discovering secrets play a huge part in discovering the truth but that’s not enough. It is possible that some secret will never be unveiled hence the whole truth won’t be known. Another parameter are the memories. Thus just like in the k-drama Memorist, the writer focuses on the importance of memories too.

The teenager Ko Eun Ho fell from the rooftop of the Millenium hotel in order to escape from the minions of the villain Baek Sang Ho. Striking is that after the victim wakes up, he is suffering from amnesia and wonders how he got injured. He is actually missing one month of his life. While the mother prefers her son not remembering the past month (“she declares that missing one month of his life won’t affect his future”), the young student expresses the desire to know the truth that’s why he questions the officer Cha Young Jin and his mother (“How did I get hurt?”; “Did I tell you something strange before getting hurt?” “why won’t anyone tell me anything?”) so that at the end, CYJ gives in and tells him how he got injured. She could retrace a huge part of the events but she couldn’t tell him why his minions were really after him. As she notices the teenager’s desire to know the whole truth, she tells him this.

episode 11

Striking is that for Cha Young Jin, retracing the whole event with evidence and testimonies, it means that she will get the whole truth. However, like I pointed out before… her promise can’t never be fulfilled in reality. Furthermore, when she made this, she believed that it was related to the book JKH gave to the teenager. And she knows nothing about Baek Sang Ho’s past and trauma as well. For KEH, getting his memories back is a synonym for knowing the whole truth. He is so determined to remember his lost month that he discusses the topic with his teacher.

Scene from the episode 11
The teacher LSW: “And even if you fail to remember, people around you will tell you bits and pieces of what happened and you fill up your missing memory.”
The teenager Ko Eun Ho: “But that’s not my own memory. I want to remember what happened myself. “

As you can read in their conversation, the amnesiac teenager doesn’t accept the memories from the others as he perceives it as a false reconstruction of the past. He knows deep down that their memories is subjective as they only knew a part of him. Remember that he has a secret buried in his brain, besides the people close to him weren’t by his side all the time, as he was often on his own. His mother neglected him and spent time with her lover, the friend and officer was busy with her investigation, his friend DM was busy working. So the proposition from his teacher is rejected… he wants to remember himself as he believes that only with his memories he can get the whole truth.

However, KEH is wrong too. He makes the assumption that with his memories he knows the truth as he was the witness and the victim. Yet, while he was sitting in the car waiting for BSH, he never saw how the driver CDH was forced to drink some drugged water. While he was eating a piece of cake, the driver CDH was lying in the trunk of the car and later killed by BSH’s minions. They faked his suicide. When his short term amnesia disappears, he remembers that he discovered CYJ’s photo with the cellphone of SJ, the 8th victim from the stigmata killer. What caught my attention with his scene is that with this revelation, the viewers realize that they had been misled. All this time the viewers thought, they knew the whole truth as we were shown the events that took place before the fall from the hotel.

However, at the end of the episode 12, we get aware that we only saw the events from BSH and his minions’ perspective. KEH never left the 10th floor in a hurry because he had realized BSH’s mistake (“You already bought the book again!”). With these words, BSH revealed that he was the one who stole his school bag. In reality, KEH got scared because he discovered the photo of CYJ and SJ with the cellphone in the drawer of the desk. This was a clever move from the writer because it outlines one more time that nobody knows. The viewers didn’t know KEH’s memories until the end of the episode 12. Yet viewers are usually the ones who can get the whole truth because the crime is usually shown in his entirety. The scenes are not memories… the director and the writer are the one who hold the whole truth. But the reality is different: the detectives have no director by their side to show them what really happened. The only truth the police know for sure is: someone has been injured or killed. Everything else can not be considered as “reality” and “fact” but just “a reconstructed truth”, not the whole truth.

Find Me in Your Memory

In this k-drama which is more a melodrama than crime series, our main protagonist Lee Jung Hoon is a famous anchorman suffering from hyperthymesia. This illness gives people the ability to remember an abnormally vast amount of their life experiences in vivid detail hence they can never forget. On the surface, it doesn’t sound terrible, nonetheless they have problems to deal with loss and breaks-up as they can never forget. Remember the saying: time heals wounds, for people like LJH, this saying doesn’t work at all. As time passes one, he can not forget, hence he is unable to move on. On the other hand, the female lead Yeo Ha Jin is suffering from amnesia. She has forgotten the most important moments of her life, as she couldn’t bear the loss of her best friend. 

The thing is that since LJH is suffering from hyperthymesia, people and even LJH himself believe that he knows the whole truth. He lost in front of him his girlfriend Seo Yeon who had been abducted and later pushed by the stalker Moon from the rooftop. However remembering and knowing something are two different things. JH only knows the story from his point of view. While he was dating her, she said things that HJ, her best friend, used to like or say. Furthermore,  Seo Y’s last words were strange : “I’m sorry”. This is not something you say, especially after being pushed from the roof. If I had been in her place, I would have named the culprit immediately in order to ensure that he gets punished. Or she could have said that she loved him … But no… she feels sorry for this. Then we know for sure that HJ discussed with the stalker Moon based on a small flashback. She got a glimpse of one lost memory. The journalist saw Moon showing around SY in the past, hence when he saw his flat full of pictures of his girlfriend, JH jumped to the conclusion that Moon was a stalker. Then the latter complained that if JH hadn’t showed up, he wouldn’t have ruined their relationship. Sure, hearing such words from Moon, JH thinks that he has to deal with a delusional man. Sure, the man’s words are not entirely reliable, yet we were shown glimpses that SY was not herself with JH the whole time. She acted as if she was HJ. Just like Moon was obsessed with SY, I have the impression that SY did everything in order to catch JH’s attention. JH never investigated SY’s past and her real relationship with Moon, as he considered Moon’s words and behavior as stalking. However, JH has always been a determined journalist who wouldn’t just rely on his hyperthymesia but also get fact in order to expose crimes or misbehavior (see the case of the abusive CEO in the beginning). So the whole truth has not been unveiled and our anchorman is not aware of it. He needs to dig the past but he doesn’t do it as he relies too much on his own memories. On the other hand, he doesn’t want HJ to regain her memories as he fears, she could try to commit suicide like in the past. However, her memories are important in order to understand what really happened in the past which led to SY’s death. But since JH is now showing signs that he is moving on as he is falling in love with HJ, the stalker Moon thinks that he is the only one who really loved SY and SY’s death was in vain. He can only remember her but he lost her forever. In other words, the stalker Moon lost SY, while JH is able to find a new love. Even having the best memory is not a proof that you can get the whole truth.

Sinopsis The King: Eternal Monarch Episode 1 | Tentang Sinopsis
Lee Lim in The King: Eternal Monarch

In an earlier statement, I said that knowing the culprit doesn’t mean that you know the whole truth. The best example is proved with the k-drama “The King: Eternal Monarch”. In this story, we already know the villain: Lee Lim. He killed the king and tried to murder the crown prince Lee Gon, as he was a witness. However, Lee Gon, as a young child, couldn’t identify his savior. He doesn’t even know how the black man could show up, why he left the ID of Jung Tae Eul. First, the witness thought that she was related to his mysterious savior, yet he realized, he was wrong. We know the culprit, even his reasons, but we don’t know how and what is really happening. In other words, the whole truth signifies here to discover the mystery of the savior and his reasons. The viewers is intrigued… he has to reconstruct the whole story: why doesn’t Lee Lim age, who saved Lee Gon, what Lee Lim is going to do in the future etc.

As conclusion, knowing the truth is not really possible in reality, only in watching crime or fantasy series. Only the director and writer know the truth. Memories are not reliable, there is too much subjectivity, hence they should be analyzed carefully.

Painter of The Night: Yoon Seungho: A tragic figure or a hell-raiser ? (second version)

This is where you can read the manhwa. But be aware that this manhwa is a mature Yaoi, which means, it is about homosexuality with explicit scenes. If you want to read more essays, here is the link to the table of contents:

It would be great if you could make some donations/sponsoring:  That way, you can support me with “coffee” so that I have the energy to keep examining manhwas. Besides, I need to cover up the expenses for this blog.

The seme, Yoon Seungho, in this story is introduced with this expression “a hell-raiser” by the uke Baek Na-Kyum. The latter has heard about Seungho’s bad reputation. Strangely, the more chapters we read, the more we realize that our main lead is different from what he appears to be.
What caught my attention while reading this manhwa was the way Seungho stands, when he interacts with people. First of all, as a wealthy and influential noble, he sits far away from the others, not just from the servants. There is always some distance or a table between him and the others. Let me show you a few examples.

In the chapter 12, Jihwa visits the main lead without any appointment. In this scene, notice that Jihwa doesn’t sit next to the seme but in front of him. This underlines the gap between Seungho’s status and Jihwa. Furthermore, there is no physical contact between them at all. Even Seungho is looking outside the window, while talking to Jihwa, that’s how he sees Baek Na-Kyum and decides to go to him. In other words, although Jihwa is physically closer to Seungho, the reader can sense the existence of an invisible wall between him and Jihwa.

Chapter 12, Seungho drinking tea with Jihwa on the right

But this doesn’t happen just once. Even after the long night spent with BNK who got so sick, we see Seungho sitting in the center of the room after a sex orgy and it was as if his sex partners would be below him, as if they were all standing at his feet. In this chapter (33), they are all asking for BNK’s presence… their request underlines the special status Seungho has over them. At the end, Seungho decides to leave the room which shows that Seungho is no pushover and makes sure to maintain the distance between him and his sex partners.

This contrasts so much to the interaction between Seungho and BNK. Right from the start, there is no gap and distance. Remember the first chapter where Seungho took BNK’s hands and even let him touch his own loin. Later, you see him always touching the painter’s face. However, there is one scene that caught my eye, it is in the chapter 16. Jihwa and Seungho had just a sex session and Seungho decides to go to BNK’s side.

chapter 16

Notice the contrast between Seungho’s behavior in the chapter 12 and here. Seungho is not even closing his robe, he even lays down next to the painter. And he keeps asking questions. He is very relaxed in opposition to the scene where he is drinking some tea. The way he is dressed contrasts so much: his robe is loose and open, while he is well-dressed with Jihwa. While he maintains an air of nobility and oozes mind control in the chapter 12, here he gives the impression of cheerfulness. It was as if he was playing as he has BNK’s hairband in his hand and keeps looking at it. Notice the huge opposition: Seungho is lying on the ground next to the painter, while with Jihwa he was sitting in front of him. This gives an explanation why Jihwa is furious and jealous. Seungho has never really rushed to go to his side, he even ignores Jihwa who is about to leave.
This behavior outlines Seungho’s curiosity for the painter and his wish to be close to his idol. He definitely shows an interest towards BNk, while he remains quite indifferent to Jihwa and the others. In this scene, there is intimacy and closeness and this is no coincidence that the noble calls the painter Na-Kyum while whispering. He is quite intimate and reveals his need to close the gap between him and the painter. In other words, Seungho has a different attitude towards the painter. While he maintains a gap between him and his sex partners, he is doing the opposite with BNK. He is not indifferent but curios and quite cheerful. He even smiles.

This closeness and intimacy is even underlined one more time, when Seungwon, Seungho’s younger brother, pays him a visit. The latter announced him that their father was ill and our seme should pay him a visit. Although the painter is a low-born, he is actually sitting next to Seungho’s side, while the brother is facing him. This shows that Baek Na-Kyum is even closer to him than his own family. He let the painter hide his face, yet he didn’t even ask him to be dressed. (chapter 37:

The painter is even turning his back to the brother which shows a certain disrespect, nonetheless this was certainly ordered by our lord.

Then after this scene, Seungho shared his bed with Baek Na-Kyum for the first time. The lord was even hugging the painter and let us not forget that he always sent his sex partners right away after their love session. Striking is that both chapters 16 and 37 have something in common: the lord is the one pleasuring the low-born and not the other way around. So, here the lord shows rather an “inferior” position, although from his social status he is above Baek Na-Kyum. This indicates that the social norms have disappeared.

Then I observed another phenomenon. I noticed that Seungho was often shown in front of a window (chapter 12, chapter 44) or under a roof (chapter 19 :

chapter 30 :

Chapter 30: Yoon Seungho hears about the painter’s return,

while he keeps watching BNK who is standing outside. It appears to me that the author has an intention with Seungho’s position. I get the feeling that Seungho had stopped living after the incident with the topknot and the purgery. In the chapters mentioned above, the noble witnesses:
-the disappointment of BNK, when In Hun hears that he was invited due to the deal with the paintings.
– the departure of In Hun from his room, just like he looks at BNK returning from the gate.
– how BNK leaves his bedroom after the punishment.

Striking is that Seungho shows two different kind of behaviors:
– he remains passive and indifferent on the surface but can’t help thinking about the painter

chapter 44

– he rushes to BNK’s side (chapter 12, 30)

episode 30

and touches him right away. He grabs his wrist, or touches his head… there is always this physical contact which Yoon Seungho never has even outside their sex sessions. Usually, he acts like that, when he is upset and very emotional. In other words, BNK is able to change Seungho, as the former ignites reactions from Seungho. My interpretation is the following: The noble only watches life from his window, meddles more and more in people’s life due to BNK. Remember that after meeting Seungwon, it looks like Seungho sent a painting of himself with his sex partners to his father. So far, he had ignored his father and his brother.
The lord is less and less indifferent. I have the feeling that for the first time, he is no longer feeling empty. Even after the rape, he can’t help looking for BNK in the bathroom. He is angry, feels guilty and jealous. The violence of his emotions can only be explained by the fact that Seungho felt nothing for so long. He is not able to control his emotions, and this illustrates that Seungho is no longer an indifferent, passive and emotionless person, quite the opposite. Seungho needs to learn to control his emotions, something he forgot. And you can observe that as time passes on, Seungho is able to show more and more affection. The so-called loyal servant Kim told BNK that Seungho had mood swings, which I explain so. Seungho could be either violent and ruthless or indifferent/broody. When he killed the servant, he showed no fear, no remorse… he just did it without feeling anything, though his face lets transpire sadness. While killing the domestic, the lord tried not to take it to heart. But his violence has nothing to do with emotions first, only when Seungho started interacting with the painter. In the first chapter, the noble had even announced that he would kill someone, which outlines his lack of emotions and empathy. And this shows that his brutality is not inherent to Yoon Seungho. His violent outbursts are also linked to his suppressed anger and rage due to his past trauma, as he was forced to accept his fate. Hence he started cutting himself from emotions… but in reality, he was like a dormant volcano, and his eruptions were caused by BNK’s reactions.

From my point of view, Seungho is starting to live for real, and the sex he had before was a way for him to pass time. This would also explain why Seungho had problems with erections before (he needed to be prepared, to have replenishing medicine and even the erotic books in order to get a reaction). This also explains why Seungho refuses to join In Hun in reality. He has been detached from the world for so long, he has no interest in politics and whatsoever. However, I sense that Seungho will be forced to act outside his courtyard in the long run. Being indifferent and detached from the outside world, is not right, as we can see that Jihwa is about to have BNK killed and In Hun might try to hurt BNK in order to weaken Seungho. In Hun has not forgotten the humiliation and I am quite sure, he wants a payback for that. Seungho will be forced to handle.
At the end of this season, Seungho remains passive and indifferent on the surface, yet his gaze never leaves BNK and even with In Hun, he thinks about him. He is no longer a robot, but a human being seeking for love and recognition. He knows that BNK has given up on his crush hence he feels much more confident than before that’s why he mentions BNK to In Hun before the latter leaves for the capital.

But now, you are wondering why Yoon Seungho became such an distant, passive and rather indifferent man, who was feeling rather empty. I mentioned before that Yoon Seungho was suffering from a past trauma. His loyal servant once told our uke that the lord had a tragic and painful past. However, we don’t know anything specific. The reader is just aware that the son is estranged from the father. While reading the manhwa for a third time, I came to the following theory. Naturally, there is no guarantee that this theory is the story imagined by Byeonduck.

From the start, Seungho was not a sodomite but due to the discovered conspiracy, the father decided to have his son to take the blame in order to escape the purge and divert attention. He created the rumor that Seungho was a sodomite and put on a show. This would explain why the father dishonored his son in such a ostentative way: cutting off the topknot which is not just a humiliation but also symbolizes a castration. Another possibility is that the father somehow “sold” his eldest son in order to escape the purge so that Yoon Seungho got raped by a higher-up official. Both theories have in common that the father betrayed his eldest son for his own survival and in order to ensure that his son would never reveal their connection to the conspiracy, he ruined his son’s reputation by declaring him a sodomite and cutting him the topknot. Why not a sodomite from the start? (sorry for the repetition)

We shouldn’t forget that we heard the lord drinks a lot replenishing medicine, which is an aphrodisiac. Now, Baek Na-Kyum is drinking the same thing and notice his reaction: he was hard… The servant was helping his master this way. Notice how happy Seungho was, when he noticed Na-Kyum’s reaction. Seungho was just writing and Na-Kyum was already reacting. Secondly, we read from Jihwa that the latter always had to prepare Seungho (blowjob) in order to get aroused. (chapter 3)

Finally, right in the first chapter, Seungho confessed that only with Baek Na-Kyum’s book, he could get aroused right away. (chapter 1)
This would explain why Seungho resents his father and said to Seungwon that he was living by the father’s principle… which is living as a sodomite because his father ruined his reputation and life. The father betrayed the son, when he declared him a sodomite. With this move, the father made it impossible for the son to become an official with a high position.

But now, I would like to add new aspects. Actually, Seungho was not sent away because he was a sodomite. It was actually the opposite. The family left the domain and went to the countryside, leaving Seungho behind. And this new detail is quite important… it was as if the father wanted Seungho to become the head of the family Yoon and if the authorities decided to punish Yoon’s family, then Seungho would have become the target. Since the father had left the property to his son, if the police had come to arrest Yoon, then the family could have said that Seungho was the one responsible as he was living in the courtyard, but the family had cut ties with him as he was a sodomite. In other words, not only the father humiliated his son but he also tried to turn him into a real scapegoat. The father thought that Seungho would be the one to take the fall. Furthermore, while the family left, it is said that all the servants were replaced which is a clue that all of them were killed. And I have the impression that Seungho was forced to get rid of them if he wanted to survive. With no witness, Seungho could survive the purge, however he couldn’t kill the loyal servant who had been by his side all this time.

As conclusion, since the family left the family domain, it means, the father not only pushed all responsibilities on his eldest son Seungho but wanted to sacrifice him. The latter was the one who had to dirty his hand in a way to survive. That’s why he is suffering from insomnia and has often nightmares. This is much more terrible than what I wrote a few days ago. This explains why Seungho really hates his father and had his hand shaking, when the younger brother mentioned the father’s illness. With Seungwon’s visit, it becomes clear that the father has decided that it is time to return to the family domain hence if Seungho visits his father, this represents a reconciliation and marks the return of the Yoon. Since the brother smiled, while receiving the letter, it looks like it was a good sign for the father. At least, Seungho wrote a letter to the father… I can imagine that during all this time, Seungho ignored his family that’s why he never replied to the brother’s letter. I can imagine that the father is asking for a visit and will ask that Seungho helps his brother to become an official. I even suspect that since the father has been so cruel and selfish, that he wants from Seungho another sacrifice. Since Seungho has a bad reputation as a sodomite, he can not become an official, the father ruined his life. However, I have the impression that Seungho might have been close to the deceased grandfather who had a high position in the government. Jihwa mentioned like some others that the Yoon family was declining. The reason is that no one after the grandfather took up a government post, like Seungho mentioned it to In Hun in the chapter 6.

And here is another speculation from my side. Since according to Yoon Seungho, the father never had a position, it looks like the young man has either repressed that his prostitution helped his father to get a high position, or he has no idea that his father sold him as courtesan for his own career. We know for sure that father Yoon had a high position and was forced to resign. (chapter 37)

I was wondering if the grandfather considered his own son as not suited for a high government post, and wanted his grandson to follow his footsteps. Besides, I had the impression that there’s some secret behind Yoon Seungho’s birth, which would explain why his official father truly loathed him. When Yoon Seungho lost his position as courtesan, because he was framed for an incident, the father used this opportunity to save his skin and get rid of his own son: create the rumor, he was a sodomite, cut off his topknot and leave the domain to Seungho so that he would take the fall. Though the protagonist is smart and cunning, he has never perceived father Yoon’s actions and motivations, for he was always longing for recognition and love. Besides, the long exposure to physical and sexual abuse could only ruin the main lead’s sanity.

But now time has passed on, and the father wants his younger son Seungwon to become an official which would underline one more time the disdain and even hatred between the father and Seungho. (chapter 37) However, I doubt that Seungho will accept all of this, especially after having been put through all of this. Besides, he will want to protect Baek Na-Kyum. Remember that Seungho decided to take his responsibilities towards the painter. He took Na-Kyum’s virginity which the painter had reserved for the loved one and latter he put the red point on his forehead symbolizing that he was his bride. (chapter 40)

And this would explain why at the end of the season 1, it is revealed that the father received an erotic painting of Seungho having sex with 2 men. (Chapter 44) The eldest son is showing the father the consequences of his past actions. He is a notorious sodomite with no boundary and the father is responsible for this. This gesture illustrates that the young master doesn’t want to reconcile with his own father. Yoon Seungho definitely wants to hurt and infuriate his father. It was as if Seungho was saying: “See… this is what I have become due to you!!” On the other hand, the delivery of the ruined painting was orchestrated by the butler without the main lead‘s knowledge. (Chapter 37)

As conclusion, Yoon Seungho seems to be more a tragic figure, especially if my theory is true. The way he had been living was a way to cope his own traumas and suffering.

And this interpretation was confirmed in the second season: he got raped, then drugged and gangraped to finally become the king’s courtesan.

Feel free to comment. If you have any suggestion for topics or manhwas, feel free to ask. If you enjoy reading it, retweet it or push the button like (tumblr- reddit- Instagram- Twitter account: @bebebisous33). Thanks for reading and the support.

Painter Of The Night: “The first meeting between Yoon Seungho and Baek Na-Kyum: the prelude of a special relationship”

This is where you can read the manhwa. But be aware that this manhwa is a mature Yaoi, which means, it is about homosexuality with explicit scenes. If you want to read more essays, here is the link to the table of contents:

For the first time, I’ll analyse a manhwa and this under different aspects. Just like in my other essays, this is not a summary of the story written and drawn by Byeonduck. A manhwa is the korean version of a manga. The huge difference between the manga and the manhwa is that the latter are usually in colors. “The painter of the night” caught my interest not just because of the beautiful drawings but because of the depth of the story. The characters are well-written. Actually, I just hope that after reading this post, your interest will be picked so that you want to start to read the manhwa.

If we pay attention to the first chapter, when Yoon Seungho, a wealthy and influential lord, and Baek Na-Kyum, a painter of erotic books about sodomy, met for the first time, we will realize that right from the start the painter already occupies a huge place in the lord’s mind and heart.
The moment Baek Na-Kyum confirms his identity, you can observe a huge change in the lord’s behavior.

Seungho turns into an innocent and enthusiastic noble which contrasts so much to the introduction of the young lord in an earlier scene. In the beginning of the first chapter, the young lord was taking care of his sword while talking to his domestic. In this scene, he already announced that someone would get killed. As conclusion, the lord was introduced as a distant, indifferent, serious and cold-hearted master. When he meets the young painter, we see not only a smiling Seungho, but also a warm and touchy lord. He grabs the painter’s hands and treats them as treasure, although he was quite rough. It’s because he can’t restrain his admiration.

He sees Baek Na-Kyum as a talented painter, he even doesn’t care if the painter was caught drunk and if he is a low-born. The contrast between Seungho’s two different behaviors reinforces the impression that he has a very high esteem for the author of the paintings. His respect for the young man goes further. He even lets the painter touch his loins, which represents a very intimate part.

Imagine, a noble lets a low-born touch his penis right after their first meeting. If Jihwa, a sex partner in love with Yoon Seungho, had been there, he would have been shocked. As you can see, their first meeting outlines that the painter has a special place in his mind and heart. But so far, he is only moved by his works. Yet, this emotional meeting ends very abruptly as BNK denies to the creator of these paintings. And in one moment, the noble’s mood switched to the opposite… as much as he was enthusiastic, as much as he becomes ruthless and heartless. He kills a servant in front of the painter. He can’t risk to kill Baek Na-Kyum because if it is revealed later that he had lied, then he wouldn’t never get any new pictures. And this illustrates the huge value the paintings have in Seungho’s heart.

Pay attention to the gaze of the protagonist. His eyes are showing his true feelings: anger, frustration, determination but also harshness. Imagine that his friendly attitude towards the painter was genuine but Baek Na-Kyum refused to tell him the truth. The dishonesty of the artist truly upsets the young master. Let us not forget that Seungho went so far to pay a visit to the painter, even he even sat down next to him. As you can see, the lord already lowered himself so much and the result for all this was a lie and insincerity. Let us not forget that Yoon Seungho is not someone who will usually visit other nobles. As conclusion, right from the start Seungho’s actions and behavior revealed how much the creator of the paintings meant to him. I mean, he could have sent someone to fetch the artist but he didn’t. He will do anything to get the creator by his side… it was, as if he couldn’t live without the painter any longer. For one year, BNK didn’t paint anything and it shows that Seungho needed new paintings from the author and searched for him desperately. I have the impression that he realized that the paintings were not enough any longer. He needed the painter by his side. I even suspect that BNK’s paintings had somehow become an addiction for the lord. This addiction is somehow insinuated in the following picture:

Then let us not forget that Seungho has an erection, when he meets his idol and we shouldn’t forget that Jihwa said later that he usually needed to prepare Seungho. So the mere presence of his idol has an effect on his body, Seungho is touchy and smiling… and keeps looking into BNK’s eyes the whole time.

Now let us focus on Baek Na-Kyum’s behavior. The first thoughts coming to the author are the rumors about Seungho’s bad reputation. He is unable to perceive the honesty coming from the young lord, just like the genuineness in the compliments. It was as if he was deaf and blind. In fact, there is an explication for this behavior. He has gotten used to the falsehood coming from the teacher Jung In-Hun. The painter has not learnt to perceive deception from honesty and frankness. The teacher’s manipulations and brainwashing are the cause for his mistake.

Due to these observations, I can’t help myself comparing BNK’s adoration for his teacher In Hun with Seungho’s admiration for BNK. Seungho acts the same way in this scene than BNK who adores his teacher. However, there is a huge difference… Seungho reveals that he is also physically attracted by the painter… his works and his presence affect his body, while the painter’s adoration for In-Hun remains very pure. It was, as if BNK would worship an idol and the mere touch would tarnish his idol.

And this explains why Seungho gets more and more upset and so jealous of In Hun. Imagine, your own idol ignores your compliment (“These are the talented hands”) and even shows no respect for you (he lies, he tries to touch the lord in order to get back the poem, he wants to run away twice). BNK even blushes by the mere thought of In Hun, whereas BNK shows no such reaction for Seungho in the beginning. Our seme was definitely happy to see BNK getting an erection or blushing more and more often, as Seungho had all these reactions (more or less: Seungho never blushes) right from the start. Finally, his hope that his idol will acknowledge him seems to come true.

And this also gives us a clue why Seungho was so determined to be painted by BNK. Imagine, you are the source of the inspiration of your idol. As a fan, you would be so happy. But this also explains why he even wanted to have BNK portrayed with him,

chapter 25

as time passed on. Then it is like a selfie nowadays, where a fan wants to be in the same picture than his idol. And to have a sexual relationship with an idol represents the highlight for a fan…

Sure, Seungho is not just a fan… he has fallen in love with Baek Na-Kyum for real, as he got to know the painter. More importantly, Seungho’s heart was deeply moved by their first night together. I believe that BNK’s love confession touched his heart:

– “I pine for you Sir”

The fact that he preserved his virginity for his loved one was a huge surprise for Seungho. Imagine, your idol tells you such words… it was always what Seungho had wanted. However, this scene is bittersweet, as the lord knew that he was not the real recipient of this love confession. That’s why Seungho had been longing to renew this night but this time, Seungho would receive love, respect and admiration from his idol. This is the reason why Seungho waited so patiently. He showed care and respect towards the painter hoping that BNK would realize this and show the same respect and admiration. But it never happened. Only in front of Baek Na-Kyum, the lord showed his real true self: his sincerity was there, when they met. He showed so many different emotions in front of the painter.

As conclusion, Yoon Seungho showed right from the beginning that he could be sincere and warm. At the same time, the first episode reveals that the painter is already able to awaken so many emotions in Yoon Seungho: happiness, admiration, anger, frustration and even sexual desires. The lord could no longer hide behind his harshness and indifference. On the other hand, we see that Baek Na-KYum can’t see this nice and genuine side of the young master, too blinded by Jung In-Hun faked smile and by his manipulations. So even at the end of the first season, Baek Na-Kyum has not really realized how deeply Seungho has fallen in love with him. So I am expecting in the second season that Baek Na-Kyum will little by little discover Seungho’s true personality and simultaneously perceive his love.

Feel free to comment. If you have any suggestion for topics or manhwas, feel free to ask. If you enjoyed reading it, retweet it or push the button like. My Reddit- Instagram-Tumblr-Twitter account is: @bebebisous33. Thanks for reading and for the support, particularly, I would like to thank all the new followers and people recommending my blog.

Nobody knows : adolescence and adulthood

This has been a long time, since I wrote an analysis about a drama. But this one got my attention as it focuses on two major topics which are quite interesting. How can children and teenagers become good adults? It is thanks to the parents or to the friends or to the school and their teachers or to their social status? Actually, the drama is trying behind the serial killing to answer these questions. Don’t expect here a summary of the story, in order to understand this analysis, you need to have watched the drama.

In this story, the viewers see a lot of different kind of parents: a single mother who is raising the protagonist Ko Eun Ho (KEH), another single father who abandoned his son DM, a rich mother who would do anything for her son HMS, a normal family with mother and father. Striking is that many parents are shown in a bad light which actually convey the following message. Just because they have parents, the teenagers or children don’t have it necessarily better than orphans. The parents can become a negative influence for their own children.

KEH’s mother is neglecting her son as his own existence reminds her that she failed to keep KEH’s father by her side. She actually fears all the time, KEH will abandon her as she had always prioritized her love life over her son. She gave KEH the impression that he was a burden hence he couldn’t get close to her. Since she neglected KEH, the latter was on his own and the result was that she realized after his accident that she knew nothing about her son: his friends, his dislikes, his size… She never saw him growing up. Striking is that HMS’s mother represents another form of bad parenting which contrasts so much to the behavior of KEH’s mother.

HMS’s mother is the exact opposite. She has expectations from her son HMS, she fears that he might not succeed in keeping his first or second position hence she asked for the answers. She forced her son to cheat for the next test. She controls her son’s life so much that he is suffocating. Remember that he has a booth in his home so that he spends so much time for learning. That’s why he keeps hurting himself… this is the only thing that his mother can’t control. His room at CDH’s flat reflects his desire to escape from his prison, it really shows that despite being 15 years old, HMS is still a child. CYJ was right to remind the caregiver KTH that KEH is still a child, since he is only 15 years old hence he should be treated as such. KEH’s “freedom” contrasts so much to HMS’s prison, the latter is forced to act like an adult…

Striking is that his mother is a bad person as she forces her son to commit wrongdoings: cheating, lying… KEH could grow up as a decent teenager because he met his neighbour Cha Young  Jin (CYJ), our female protagonist who lost her best friend as she was a high school student. We don’t know much about CYJ, yet since she is always shown on her own without any friend and family, only in the episode 13 we see her with her grandfather. Therefore we have to assume that she had lost her parents and was raised by her grandfather, which explains why she has no relative later. Strangely, KEH and CYJ connected so well right away, she helped even KEH’s mother as she was abused by one of her lovers. From that moment, KEH always sought her out, when he needed someone to confide and find some peace. CYJ accepted him and let him enter her own flat… asked him to take care of a plant. All these little moments made the young boy realize that she made him feel secure and good. She was such a good person in his eyes that she became his model. And here we come to the next aspect: the friend.

Just like KEH, CYJ had the chance to meet the detective Hwang who was investigating the serial killing “Stigmata murders”. The latter became her mentor and all this time, he has remained close to her. The writer shows through KEH and CYJ’s life that in order to become a good adult, parents are not necessarily needed, as the parents can give false advice or even neglect and abandon their children.

This view is even reinforced with the novel that is shown many times during the drama. The title of this novel in French is called “la vie devant soi” (Life ahead). It is a book written by Romain Gary under an alias Emile Ajar. He won an award for that book, prix goncourt. 

Summary of Life Ahead

 Mohammed, known as Momo, recounts his life in Belleville at the home of Mrs. Rosa, an elderly and sick Jewish woman, a survivor of Auschwitz, who, as a former brothel owner, raises children abandoned or left in boarding schools by prostitutes. Momo thinks he is ten years old, and he is the only one, with little Moses, who does not know his parents. He considers Mrs. Rosa to be his mother. She is more and more tired and hardly goes out anymore, because of the six floors without an elevator; she is given fewer and fewer children to look after. One day, Momo learns that Mrs. Rosa is suffering from senility. She goes through long periods of absence, and thinks she is reliving her past, dressing as a prostitute or waiting, with a suitcase in her hand, for the French policemen who once handed her over to the Germans during the Vel’d’Hiv round-up. To escape these painful moments, Momo wanders the streets and meets Nadine, a beautiful young woman who works for the cinema. One day, the teenager’s father reappears, claiming his son. Mrs. Rosa, conscious that day, makes him believe that she raised her son in the Jewish religion, and that he is in fact the little Moses. Momo’s father dies in shock. Momo learns that he is fourteen years old: Mrs. Rosa was bringing him younger to keep him close to her for longer. However, his condition worsens, but she refuses to go to the hospital because she wants to die without being “prolonged”. Momo, making the whole building believe that Mrs. Rosa is leaving for Israel, taken away by her family, leads her to the basement, in the “Jewish hole” she has made for herself, in fear of further persecution. That’s where she dies. Momo lies next to her for three weeks, until the neighbours discover them, and entrust him to Nadine, to whom the whole story was addressed.

As you can observe, this book is about the longing of love and abandonment. Momo’s fate resembles KEH’s fate in the sense that he prefers wandering in the streets and even going to the neighbor than being home. His mother has abandoned him, although he knows where she is. Momo in the book refuses to be happy and have a “life ahead” as the world is too rough and hard. Mrs. Rosa is his surrogate mother, just like YJ who also loves him but is not always attentive like the ex-prostitute. however, the huge difference is that KEH is influenced by YJ that’s why when he sees a crime, he wants to stop it.  

Here, the biological mother of KEH is jealous of YJ as she senses that KEH feels closer to YJ than her. She has the impression that CYJ has become his surrogate mother, yet CYJ has to remind her that she was and is still KEH’s mother.


Credit to @Ameera Ali from forum soompi.

She hated KEH’s gaze as she saw her own reflection: in his eyes, she could observe her own shortcomings. She neglected KEH, she kind of abandoned him as she chose her boyfriends over her son. She never thought that love from her son would be fulfilling. In the novel, the biological father of Momo appears but at the end, Momo decides to remain by Madame Rosa as she has become his surrogate mother. This difference contains in my opinion the same message: it doesn’t matter if you are the mother or not, as long as you help a child to grow up in a good way, giving him support when needed, having a listening ear as well and show understanding, even if the child or teenager did something wrong. Acceptance and open-mindedness are the qualities that adults need to be a good influence for the children and teenagers.

Then we have the school and the teachers who have a huge influence on the teenagers. Lee Sun Woo made a huge mistake in his past and has been regretting it. He mistook a victim for a bully, because the latter had a reputation as bully. After realizing his mistake, he tried very hard not to judge his students very quickly. So the relationship between the teenagers plays also a huge part in it. In the beginning, KEH is rather isolated, only DM is his friend but hides their true relationship by acting as a bully. As the story goes on, the teenagers can overcome their grudges, their prejudice and their mistakes which leads them to become true friends and this time in the open.

And then we have children and teenagers who were truly abandoned by their parents and put in orphanages. BSH, the villain, was abused by the church that supported him and no one helped him that’s how he came to the belief that people should rely on no one. And this explains why BSH turns into an avenger full of hatred and resentment. On the surface, he helps young people who were rejected by the society and turns them into his minions. He considers himself as a god, he has definitely a savior complex, but in reality, he is misleading them. He is himself full of prejudices (like f. ex. rich people will use their power in order to abuse weak people) but in reality, he is not different from them. He has not realized it yet, as he still sees himself as the weak orphan he was in the past. Unlike CYJ or KEH who were able to meet good adults, BSH had the opposite path. HE never met anyone hence he became a devil.

As conclusion, a lot of parameters are important in order to raise well children and teenagers. Parents or money are not enough, they need to have adults around them who are willing to trust them, to listen to them and support them.