This is where you can read the manhwa. https://www.lezhinus.com/en/comic/painter 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: https://bebebisous33analyses.wordpress.com/2020/07/04/table-of-contents-painter-of-the-night/
It would be great if you could make some donations/sponsoring: Ko-fi.com/bebebisous33 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.
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.
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:
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 :
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
– he rushes to BNK’s side (chapter 12, 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.