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/
What caught my attention in the chapter 43 is the man with the green robe. His name is Min and just like Seungho, he is a noble. (chapter 43) Here he is described by his friend with a black heart. However, in the first season, he was shown in different chapters (8, 9, 19, 33, 36, 41 and 43), but he was among others and as such, he was never properly introduced. His presence increased until the chapter 43 marking a pivotal moment. In the first version of this essay, I desired to prove that Min would play a bigger part in the second season. And this was proven correct. Nevertheless, I still need to introduce him. But who is this man, what do we know about him in the first season?
But first let’s go back to the chapter 41, where he was shown hunting with Seungho.
This means that he is quite close to Seungho, as the latter spends time with him outside the sex orgies. Striking is that in this chapter, the man with the green robe was tasting the water, when he asked Seungho to confirm the rumor about the incident at the tailor shop. Seungho warned him not to cross the line, as he could share the same fate than Jihwa. During that scene, the author draw two pictures focused on the hands. The man with the green robe grabbed the wrist of our main lead (chapter 41) and even put his other hand on his waist.
And these pictures are not random as usually. Remember how Seungho reacted, when Jung In-Hun touched his shoulder, he was about to kill the teacher. (Chapter 30) He was so upset, hence imagine how he felt, when he sensed Min’s hand on his wrist and then waist. With such a gesture, Yoon Seungho could only get more irritated. And here, our main lead only pushed his hand and insulted him by comparing the man with a mouse . His gestures towards our seme revealed something in my opinion. The waist is a very intimate place. It gave the impression that Min was interested in Yoon Seungho sexually. It was, as if this man wanted to become Yoon Seungho’s lover as well. The gesture is quite deceiving, which explains why Yoon Seungho thought that lord Min was wooing him. However, the protagonist was misinterpreting the gesture and interest. In truth the noble was lusting after the painter. This explains why Yoon Seungho was not sensing the danger coming from the “friend“. But then why doesn’t Jihwa feel threatened by him? Then remember that he grabbed Seunho’s wrist. A man in Asia will usually grab his girlfriend’s wrist. In other words, the man with the green robe was treating him like a woman (the waist, the wrist). Everything was pointing out that he wanted Seungho to be his uke. Yet, the reality is that he wanted to “screw“ the main lead. He wanted to ruin him out of jealousy. He desired to have the painter. “Screwing“ someone can have two different meanings. But there‘s more to it which I will explain more below
However, like I had really sensed right from the start, Min was in truth a seme, just like the protagonist, hence Jihwa never felt threatened by him. If I look back at chapter 33, his sexual role was implied, as he was smoking and still had his topknot on, just like Seungho, while the ukes in this scene had all their hair down. (Chapter 33) As conclusion, anyone observing the scene in chapter 41 would come to the conclusion, that this man wanted to have Seungho as lover, just like Jihwa, but in a different role. He would like to be the top. As conclusion, the lord Min was a seme who seemed to be interested in Seungho. Thus he considered Baek Na-Kyum and the red-haired master as rivals, whom he needed to eliminate. And that‘s how Yoon Seungho perceived his gesture and words in the woods. This explicates why he compared him to Lee Jihwa. In the main lead’s mind, Black Heart was paying attention to his every moves and was always updated about his interactions with the painter out of jealousy. The reality is that Min was terribly envious of the main lead. His real center of interest was in truth Baek Na-Kyum. Thus he kept looking at him during their first meeting. (Chapter 8) (chapter 9)
However, the chapter 43 revealed more information about the master Min and his personality.
The readers could realize his dangerosity here. Why? First, it was revealed that this seme knew all along about Jihwa’s feelings for Seungho, and he played with them. He enjoyed toying the red-haired aristocrat. Black Heart misled the childhood friend so that the latter would run to Seungho’s mansion, especially if you recall that during the same night, Yoon Seung-Won visited his brother. This explains why he lied in the inn. The noble with the mole knew about the deception, as he had a drop of sweat on his face. (Chapter 36) Naturally, here Kim had played a huge role in this deception too, as he allowed to leak information to the red-haired master’s servant. (Chapter 41) Yet, Min knew that Jihwa wouldn’t be able to resist and run to the lord’s mansion. He had already calculated that the childhood friend would discover the truth. He would be hurt and realize his mistake. He even ridiculed Jihwa by comparing him to a dog. (chapter 43) Here, he reminded me of Seungho with his sarcasm and his ironical comments from chapter 6. (chapter 6) He enjoys making fun of Jihwa and is as cunning as Seungho, though in reality the main lead‘s true personality is totally different. (Chapter 43)
Consequently, I couldn’t help myself associating Min to a snake… he was like the devil, inciting the stupid Jihwa to commit a murder. I would even say that he was employing the red-haired noble as his hunting dog. In my first version, I had suspected the man before to be jealous, as he was the one who had even asked Seungho to bring the painter to one of their sex parties. (Chapter 33) It was, as if he wanted to ensure that the artist meant nothing to the protagonist. As you can see, the vicious man gave the impression that he was jealous of the painter. His reproach towards the main lead sounded similar to the childhood friend’s. (Chapter 18) (chapter 41) It was, as if he wanted to play with Jihwa and get rid of Baek Na-Kyum at the same time. The latter is viewed as a source of danger, for Min keeps thinking about him. The noble considered the artist as a witch who put a spell on him, Here, he was projecting his own thoughts. (Chapter 43) It looked like both ukes represented a threat. He was definitely using Jihwa so that if anything would go wrong, only the red-haired aristocrat would be blamed. The man with the black heart tried to diminish the consequences of the murder. He said that the murder should look like an accident, hence this attempted murder can never happen at the mansion. Back then, I had envisioned that they would wait, until Baek Na-Kyum left the mansion, and this expectation was proven correct.
Now it becomes clear why the man with the black heart is doing such a thing. Although Min claims that he wants to be entertained, when he lied to Jihwa in the past, he had already prepared to set the trap for Jihwa. He knew where to hire the killer. (Chapter 43) He had already anticipated Jihwa’s reaction. While Min declared that it was funny, when Jihwa came crying, he added that he was disappointed that he only saw just tears. He wanted him to “come with his tail between his legs”. (chapter 43) And this outlines his cruelty. It was, as if he was “castrated”, had lost his masculinity and virility. As you can see, the guy was making fun of Jihwa and even insulting him. But the latter didn’t pay attention to these words, too wounded by the scene he had witnessed in the study of his friend. By acting like that, he gave the impression that he didn’t care. In truth, it exposed the antagonist’s naivety. He even didn’t see any danger coming from the man with the black heart.
But striking is that after Jihwa’s arrival, he proposed right away to the noble to have Baek Na-Kyum killed. He was indeed acting like a jealous man. (Chapter 43) Now, Yoon Seungho was neglecting him. But in order to convince the upset red-haired noble, Min added more fuel to the fire with his comments:
– His childhood friend had been bewitched
– At some point Baek Na-Kyum would become Seungho’s mistress
He was implying that the red-haired aristocrat was on the verge of losing his love. All this pointed out that the guy was manipulating Jihwa to ensure that the latter would decide to kill the lowborn. That’s the reason why we saw Jihwa’s imagination of that night. The Joker‘s words distorted the memory from the red-haired master. (Chapter 43) The words the man with the green robe said had a huge influence on him. Not only his mind is black, but also his heart which outshines this man’s evilness and dangerousness. Let us not forget that he is a seme… but since he has been forced to be the bottom because of Yoon Seungho, all his actions can be judged in a different light. People could see him as someone who has been longing to become the main lead‘s lover. Thus he said this in season 2: (chapter 52) and in season 3 (chapter 92) But this was just a deception, his real target was the painter. However, after season 3, I realized that in truth, Black Heart had only been a puppet himself, though Min seemed to be like a personification of the devil… his lies, his words in order to incite Jihwa to commit a crime, his words ridiculising Jihwa and even Seungho.
Some questioned this perception in the beginning, for when Min appeared in chapter 8, he was an uke, he couldn’t be a top.
But the readers were overlooking that the main lead got raped and he even used to be a bottom. So roles can be switched. It becomes obvious, when you read this scene. (Chapter 16) Here, the main lead desired to discover the painter’s sexual preferences. So when Min stroke the main lead’s waist, he never realized the true signification of his action. (Chapter 41) The main lead could only assume that Min was interested in him, he wished to become his only partner. Deep down, he desired to become the top, but since Yoon Seungho was not willing to change his position, Black Heart was willing to remain a uke. Note that Min invited the main lead in chapter 19 to the kisaeng house, and offered him wine, right after the main lead had cut ties with his childhood friend. (Chapter 19) It was, as if he was wooing him, hoping to take over Lee Jihwa’s place. Then in chapter 33, Min is the one asking for Baek Na-Kyum.
Striking are his words: “We would have all welcome him”… In the first version of this essay, I had demonstrated, that these words were the proof that Min was in fact a seme, but he was only a uke because of Yoon Seungho. The second season proved me right. He wanted Seungho to bring over Baek Na-Kyum so that they could taste him… I doubt that they would have allowed the painter to be a top. especially when sex sessions are viewed as battles. However, every action from Min were in fact ambiguous. He gave the impression that he was happy to be favored by Yoon Seungho (chapter 33), he would seek his company (chapter 51) (chapter 52) and he was jealous of the painter, for the protagonist was only paying attention to him.
As you can see, due to his words and actions, Min created the illusion that he wished to taste Yoon Seungho, especially when he acts like a hunter. Imagine how his reputation would change if Min was able to tame Seungho and have him become an uke. Min is a player and hunter because of his behavior and words (hunting scene, his offer, his manipulation with lies etc)… Thus, you comprehend why in my first version, I had the impression that his real target was not the painter, but Seungho. It was caused by the ambiguity of his actions. Striking is that in the shaman’s house, he never tried to taste the painter at all. He even allowed the other nobles to taste the painter first. (Chapter 101) Note that he even pushed Lee Jihwa to become a top. (Chapter 100) It was, as if Min was not interested in the painter at all. His true goal was to get rid of Lee Jihwa and Baek Na-Kyum, his rivals. But we know the truth… Black Heart wished to be noticed by Baek Na-Kyum, thus he said this to him in the shaman’s house: (chapter 99) But if he wanted to become his lover as uke, he would be not different from Jihwa. However, this man is definitely not seeking for Seungho’s love. His actions and words don’t fit the profile of an uke, of a person longing for Seungho’s love, rather he fits the profile of a hunter and player.
After season 3, I came to realize the cause for this contradicting attitude. In my eyes, Black Heart was already acting on the king’s behalf. The mysterious lord Song wished to keep the famous sodomite as his lover/wife, and the painter represented a hindrance. Using Lee Jihwa was the perfect tool to achieve his goal. He would get rid of two rivals at the same time. Yoon Seungho would blame his childhood friend for the painter‘s death, once alone again, the king could approach Yoon Seungho. Thus the latter was treated as a prey by Min in each season. But while he used the artist as an excuse to hunt his prey, the hell-raiser, he couldn‘t admit that he wanted to have the painter for himself. Baek Na-Kyum was a commoner. What appeared as a tool, became slowly a goal. (Chapter 56) But Min was still in denial, hence he justified his requests as an urge, while he was also longing for the painter’s affection.
Due to his words and the color of his robe, master Min reminded me of the snake in the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the one who brought misery to Adam and Eva, here in this case this seme is leading Jihwa to his own demise. Hence I came to develop this theory that Min would become the villain of the second season. My interpretation was just based on my own knowledge and European background. Striking is that this man persuaded Jihwa that nothing would happen to him, Baek Na-Kyum was a commoner and if this looked like an accident, then he wouldn’t get caught. (Chapter 43) And remember that Jihwa is a noble… and in the bible, God got aware of Adam’s original sin, hence the latter was banished from paradise. Thus I had been expecting that Lee Jihwa would lose his title as noble, as his crime would be discovered. And this prediction became true which the author revealed in the creator‘s note.
Finally, I would like to point out that Seungho compared Min to a mouse indicating that Seungho didn’t consider him as a threat, he even saw Min as harmless. (chapter 41) A mouse is small and has no real claws. This shows that Yoon Seungho was underestimating him, but also was misinterpreting Black Heart’s action. He was acting like a jealous concubine, thus he compared him to Lee Jihwa. Here, we had the impression that the protagonist was well prepared. He thought, he knew why Min asked him to bring the painter for their sex party and why the lord Min asked about the veracity of the rumor about the incident at the tailor shop. But no… he didn‘t detect the longing and envy from Black Heart towards the painter. I compared him to a snake due to his cunning behavior and his cynical and seductive words… But the reality was that he was a fool himself, for he had no idea about Yoon Seungho‘s past. The abduction did occur and this twice, but note that Min had to become involved himself in order to achieve his goal. The irony is that when Min said this to Yoon Seungho (chapter 102), he was again giving the impression that he had acted like a jealous man who was longing for Yoon Seungho‘s attention. He had acted like a vicious concubine, but in Joseon, „jealous concubine or queen“ would get sentenced to death, like the Queen Yun and the concubine Jang Ok-Jun. (chapter 101) No one in his right mind would torment a loved one like that. Yoon Seungho was not recognizing what jealousy and envy are and what these emotions could trigger people to do! Black Heart would torment Baek Na-Kyum, for the latter was rejecting him. So imagine the king‘s reaction, when he discovers that Min got killed. (Chapter 102) First, he lost his loyal helping hand, secondly he got misled and even betrayed by Lee Jihwa. In other words, the opposite had happened. Instead of obtaining Yoon Seungho, the king lost his “wife“ who decided to kill himself. To conclude, the villain from season 2 and 3 was in reality a pawn, the shadow of the true villain, lord Song. This explicates why Min‘s behavior was particularly ambiguous in season 1… All his actions and words could be perceived as a jealous man who desired to become Yoon Seungho‘s top!! The king would have never approved such a thing! And this could be the other reason why he will vent his anger on the Lees.
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