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/
First, I had thought that I just had to update the essay about Min but I realized quickly that I would have to rewrite so many things that the old version would have been totally changed. Maybe you are now thinking that the conclusions in my first version were wrong. Fact is that I’m still perceiving Min as a second villain and my prediction is still the same: a struggle between Yoon Seungho and Min will happen in the second season.
What changed is that since I analyzed the scenes, the characters and their clothes much more precisely, I have come to a better understanding about Min. Besides, the purpose to leave the first version as such is to let you know how much insight I gained, as time passed on. The essay about Min was one of the first analyses I wrote on my blog.
Now, let’s talk about Min. The latter is only introduced much later because his name appears for the first time in the chapter 33.
Striking is that he is introduced by one of the sex partners during the sex orgy. We deduce that this noble is Min because he has just asked Yoon Seungho why he didn’t bring the artist that evening. First I wasn’t certain if Min was the one who participated at the sex session in the chapter 8 because his face looked a little different but now, I can say for sure that he was present (pictures from the chapter 8 and 9)
What I missed back then were the words said by the aristocrat (4th image above, chapter 33): “I heard from Master Min that he’s got a pretty little face”. This means that master Min had met Baek Na-Kyum and talked about him to other nobles. This proves to me that he was the one in the chapter 8. [This illustrates that I am not omniscient and can make mistakes by overlooking details therefore I am always glad to receive any feedback. But let’s return to the chapter 33.]
And what caught my attention to this picture are the words again. While we see Yoon Seungho’s mind thinking back to the painter’s poor physical condition, he has to hear from the acquaintances how the painter looked like. Notice that the low-born’s description is very precise which indicates that Min had paid a lot of attention to the artist’s reactions. First, he must have witnessed the locked gaze between them and also catch the arousal of the painter during the sex session between the master and the other noble (chapter 9). Moreover, in the drawing above, the aristocrat repeat the same expression “I hear”. We have twice “I hear”. All this implies that Min must have talked a lot about the painter to the other aristocrats. Hence he appears to be chatty as a magpie. They heard everything about Baek Na-Kyum through Min’s gossip. Not only he kept an eye on the low-born’s reaction during the sex session (chapters 8-9) but also he looked at the painting carefully. So now, why would he do that? Why would he talk to other nobles about Yoon Seungho’s painter?
If we go back to the chapter 8, when Min appeared for the first time without us knowing his name, we discover that he had already picked an interest in the painter. He had seen the erotic publications which Yoon Seungho was fond of but had never investigated the identity of the author because he thought that the creator was just an old man.
Moreover, not only he observed the artist during the sex session but also expressed his attraction, while he was having sex with Seungho. Look at his gaze aiming at the low-born.
As a first conclusion, we detect that Min had shown a lot of interest in Yoon Seungho and his likes, especially concerning Baek Na-Kyum. He knew about the erotic books, he heard about the painter, then he noticed the artist’s reactions and the good quality of the drawings, although initially he hadn’t anticipated that Baek Na-Kyum would be able to have such a discerning eye and even get aroused. It was as if he was gathering info.
It looks like Min’s life was revolving around the protagonist’s and his fascination for the painter. In my first analysis about Min, I had declared that he wanted to submit Seungho and become the protagonist’s lover due to this intimate gesture in the chapter 43, where he touches the seme’s waist, a very intimate place. One of my readers objected that Min was an uke in the chapter 8 hence he could never become a seme.
But if you remember now what I wrote about the function of these sex sessions, you’ll understand what Min really wants. He wants to replace our beloved seme and become the new alpha. The sex parties are battles in reality. So by submitting Yoon Seungho and turning him into an uke, it would signify that he had won against the old alpha and after his victory he would represent the ultimate power. And let’s not forget that Seungho became a seme because he was himself a victim of rape (my theory). Becoming the seme means taking control of the sexual encounter and having power.
So we are about to assist to a fight between both characters. Sex is war hence Min wants to isolate the main character and ensure that he loses everything so that he is literally destroyed and reduced to become an uke, an omega. Killing Baek Na-Kyum is not just getting rid of a rival in my opinion, he is well aware of the lord’s love for the painter. Even if the painter doesn’t get killed, in the worst case, Seungho will retaliate against Jihwa so that all the other aristocrats will distance themselves from the furious lord. So for him, it looks like a win-win situation, if Jihwa succeeds or fails. By getting rid of Jihwa, who was Seungho’s childhood friend, and the new found love, he wants to isolate the main lead and kill him symbolically. Min is determined to dethrone the notorious hell-raiser but for that he needs to exude charisma too to attract supporters so that he can become the new alpha in the sodomite community. There is this saying in Latin
“A man is a wolf to another man”,
that later Hobbes used in order to write his theory about the Leviathan. My point is that in this manhwa, Min is acting like a wolf to our protagonist. Since he wants to become the new alpha, he needs to act like one. That’s why he is imitating the noble in his gestures and his clothing. He smokes like Yoon Seungho,
read the erotic publications and has the same type of robes. He doesn’t have loose hair like the other aristocrats at the sex party, our protagonist is his model that he leans on. So why was he acting like an uke in the chapter 8?
If the beholder looks again at the picture of the penetration, then the person notes the similarity of Min’s action with Baek Na-Kyum’s gesture in the chapter 41.
In this situation, Seungho was bothered by the painter’s gesture because he was behaving like a prostitute. This is no coincidence. Min was willing to use his body because it meant, he would be allowed to approach the famous lord and spy on him. He acted like a snake, with the intention to backstab Seungho at some point. So becoming an uke was just a subterfuge and he was only biding his time.
I mentioned before that he needs to get supporters in order to become the new alpha and if you pay attention at the evolution of the story, you’ll notice Min’s slow intrusion and his growing influence among the aristocrats. Note that the man dragged away by the topknot is close to Jihwa hence he went running to the red-haired man in order to complain about the experienced humiliation. When they meet at the inn in the chapter 12, Jihwa is alone with the noble with the mole on his cheek.
However, in the chapter 36 when Jihwa is drinking his sorrow at the same tavern, Min is also present, more precisely, it appears that Min is following the man with the mole.
He knows how humiliated the man with the purple robe felt, as he witnessed it. Since they are coming together here, we have to assume that Min’s company has been accepted by the other. For me, it looks like he is already influencing him and he knows that he can only get close to Jihwa through him.
Note that the next time, they meet in the chapter 41, they must be at the lord’s house (the one with the mole) because of the expression “without any notice”. Moreover, the latter is sitting at the end of the table. From my perspective, Jihwa must have gone to this man’s house, just like the latter did when he got hurt by Yoon Yeungho. Both men seem to be very close. That’s why I believe that Min approached the man with the mole first and then Jihwa so that he would listen to him. He is definitely attempting to create a divide between Jihwa and the man with the mole on one side and Yoon Seungho on the other side. He is slowly isolating the powerful master. In a wolf pack, the omega lives as an outcast. Notice that he goes one step further at the pavilion. Besides, meanwhile the topic becomes dangerous with the suggestion of killing Baek Na-Kyum, one guest objects and even Jihwa hesitates. However for each objection, he has an answer. The beholder witness that he is taking the lead.
Little by little, he could convince them all. Strictly speaking, he has become the new leader of the pack.
Then if you scrutinize the chapter 33, you’ll notice the absence of Jihwa and his friend too. They didn’t participate in that sex orgy. Yet, we see Min’s increasing influence in that scene as well. The jealous man is actually challenging our famous protagonist which is reflected in this picture. Note that Min is standing on the one side, whereas Yoon Seungho is sitting on the other side and the others are lying on the floor. It was as if the powerful noble was sitting on a throne. Moreover, we have to imagine that Min’s gaze is directed at our main lead. However, if you pay attention more closely to the picture, you’ll detect that most of the nobles’ heads are turned to Min’s side underlining his growing influence. The fearless noble might still be sitting on the throne, yet Min has already attracted attention. Besides, the exchange of words is not harmless in this scene too. In reality, he is already challenging the seme.
With this simple question, he is asking for the noble’s explication. His question sounds more like a demand hence he acts as if they were on the same level. Min is behaving as if he had privileges somehow. He would like to taste the artist and Yoon Seungho should share his artist with the others. Min is pushing the boundaries and this simple question with the following suggestion (to welcome the artist properly) leads to a conversation about the painter. At the end, the other aristocrats are making some demands too.
As you can observe, Min influenced the other nobles with his gossips and his question so that the other nobles are now curios and unsatisfied with their current situation. Yoon Seungho should show more concern and even share his belongings. Interesting is the master’s reaction. He reminds them of their position. They have no right over his possession.
Despite the reminder, the protagonist leaves the scene and we should judge his behavior as if he was retreating… in other words, Min seems to have won the challenge.
This must be encouraging for Min because as soon as Yoon Seungho leaves the pavilion, the others keep chatting about him and he can definitely hear them.
They are talking behind his back while he is still in range and can hear their exchange of thoughts. This reveals a certain disregard towards the famous sodomite. His position is now weakened. Here again, Min is chatty as a magpie.
Now, you are wondering why I keep comparing the man with the green robe to a magpie. There are many reasons for that. First, the nobles I associated to animals were all birds: Yoon Seungho an eagle, Jung In-Hun a peacock and Jihwa a pheasant. So in my eyes, Min had to be a bird. He talks a lot, like a magpie. Thirdly, a magpie is famous for stealing hence it is associated to envy and jealousy. The final reason is that a magpie often eats eggs from other birds. It might look small and not dangerous but for many small birds, they are fearsome predators.
As you can guess, Min is in fact a mixture of a wolf, a magpie and a snake that crept close to Yoon Seungho so that he would bite him. In my first version, I already associated him to a snake due to the color of his robe and his words. His words were seductive but simultaneously had an effect like a poison. He was poisoning Jihwa’s mind with his so-called advice and news. He lied to him at the tavern and the master with the mole had no idea about it as he was not present at the sex orgy. If he had been there, he would have realized that after the challenge, Yoon Seungho never showed up again.
His words are alluring because they seem comforting Jihwa. Here, the “friend” with the mole is not stopping Min because he has no idea what happened at the sex orgy. Min had already anticipated Seungho’s reaction that he would distance himself from the sex partners. He started spreading the rumor about the existence of a lover, just after the powerful master left the building. Therefore in the chapter 36, Jihwa and his friend are still clueless because they don’t frequent the same circle. With his lies, Min is trying to gain Jihwa’s trust. Striking is in that moment, Jihwa mentioned the protagonist’s past and his secret. This would have been terrible if Jihwa had revealed it in front of him. Fortunately, despite the friend’s questioning, he restrained himself to comment any further.
Min knew exactly what Jihwa felt for the main character and used it to his advantage. Love is a weakness in his eyes. He wanted to create an opportunity so that Jihwa would get more hurt than before. Without dirtying his hands, he is trying to isolate and destroy Seungho.
And this reminds me of the way he hurt the pheasant during the hunt. He shot arrows… which makes me think of the small beak of a magpie. This black and white bird has to use its beak a lot in order to eat the whole content of the egg. Seungho killed the pheasant, he was not afraid of dirtying his hands.
And this leads me to my next observation, the way Min acts among people. He is influencing them with his words so that they are somehow incited to contest Yoon Seungho’s power and authority. There is actually a certain MO in his behavior, which leads me to compare him to a crow. Crows are birds living in a bird colony and it is not rare that crows sometimes target an eagle. They might never kill it but they can corner it and chase it away due to their number. And this is exactly what Min is doing: he is leading the nobles to question the main lead’s authority, first with small requests and at the end, with the advice to kill the painter. He lets the others attack the master, while he remains hidden. However, like I described it above, crows never really win against the eagle in the sense that they might chase it away but they can’t kill it. However, an eagle can definitely kill a crow, once the leader is found out. That’s why I believe that Min won’t be able to win this war in the end.
The more the reader met Min, the more they could observe how manipulative and cunning the noble was. If we examine the chapter 43, you have the impression that Min embodies the snake from the Bible, seducing Jihwa to commit a deadly sin. The latter is about to lose his innocence. Remember that he acts like a spoiled child so his spontaneous decision, incited by Min, will lead him to great suffering. Jihwa is too naive to perceive Min’s true motive. He has no idea that Min is a wolf disguised as a sheep. If he had just interrogated Min why he lied to him in the first place, he would have realized the manipulation. He can’t accept amusement as an excuse. He is not even bothered, when Min mocks him.
Jihwa is truly too blinded by jealousy and his own entitlement to understand Min’s true personality. It was as if Jihwa was not only blind but deaf as well. He doesn’t even hear that his friend called Min:
Black corresponds to the color of the magpie and the crow. So this man has truly perceived Min’s true nature. He didn’t like that the man with the green robe spread false info.
And Min keeps talking until Jihwa gives in. The former tries to diminish the consequences of Jihwa’s action. Even if he is found out, Jihwa can never get any punishment because he is a noble and the victim is just a low-born.
The question is if Min truly believes what he is saying or if these words are calculated lies. In my opinion, there are a mixture of both. He can’t envision that the lord’s fury will target him, as the one hiring the assassin is Jihwa. Besides as nobles they are protected. However, if anything happens, only the childhood friend will suffer from this. What the aristocrat fails to see is that the lord did notice his daring attitude because Yoon Seungho is not stupid, he can read people very well. Besides, he is not aware of the lord’s true personality. So far, he only knows the master as someone “consumed by lust”.
Then the man gives an explication for his lies. He did it out of amusement, nevertheless I doubt it. He had a goal behind this. He needs to weaken Seungho by spreading gossip, ridiculing him with his paramour as commoner and even siding with people who were humiliated by the seme, like f. ex. the noble with the mole. Examine the words used by Min to describe the main character. He “has been bewitched” by a charlatan insinuating that the seme is weak and controlled. He calls his action at the tailor shop “vulgar rolls”. In other words, Seungho is vulgar and no longer noble and honorable. He is possessive and behaves like a wild animal (“raises his hackles”). As you can observe, all these connotations are negative. All this speech serves to undermine Seungho’s authority. Jihwa is led to believe that if he kills the painter, he will save his friend’s reputation and name. That’s the reason why Jihwa agrees to the suggestion. This man is very dangerous and Jihwa is just too stupid to realize the manipulation.
But if we examine the hunt scene more closely, we can definitely sense that Min increases the pressure on the main character. He questions the veracity of the gossip, this time he grabs the lord by the wrist and even touches his waist. He is now very close to him physically, unlike in the chapter 33, where he challenged the protagonist from a certain distance. This doesn’t surprise the reader that Seungho reacts to this behavior by threatening the man with the green robe. For the main character, Min is just a mouse implying that he doesn’t represent any danger. However, he is making a huge mistake. First Min is not acting on his own which Seungho is not aware. There is a reason why the protagonist doesn’t feel frightened and it is related to his past. For him, the old men are far more dangerous because he experienced it himself therefore he keeps his distance from the capital and the government. This is clearly visible with the last words pronounced to Jung In-Hun. Yoon Seungho suspects more the officials than the young aristocrats living in debauchery.
He can’t imagine that someone might be looking at his throne, since the lord chose to become a sodomite out of revenge. So he can’t envisage that someone might like to take this kind of position. However, I believe that this battle between Min and Seungho will be a wake up call for our main character. He will realize that danger can come from anyone, not only the family and the officials but also from the decadent young aristocrats. It will help him to be prepared to fight other stronger opponents in my opinion.
What Min has not recognized yet is that love can be a strength and not just a weakness. It can push the master to ensure that his loved one is protected too. Taking responsibility is not just about comfort but also about the power to protect the loved one from others, in particular in such a violent and rigid order society. From my point of view, Yoon seungho will conceive that he needs to become proactive… so maybe he will realize that being an official has its advantage, especially if you are in a position where you can pronounce verdict. Nobles have a lot of privileges hence getting sentenced is quite rare. The question is how Yoon Seungho will retaliate against Jihwa and Min. Will he use violence in a rage? This would create a huge scandal and even endanger more his position. I doubt that he will act on an impulse. First, he has learnt to control his emotions and Baek Na-Kyum could represent the voice of reason. Finally, he has already created a network (chapter 6) which Min is not aware. While Jihwa used an assassin hired on the market place, I have the feeling that Yoon Seungho could use his own shadow guards.
Hence from my point of view, Min is making a huge mistake. He thinks that the main character just led a life as a huge sodomite, whereas in reality he has many connections. He kept his cards well hidden because he wanted to protect himself. Therefore I sense that Yoon Seungho will change his strategy.
As a conclusion, the competition between the two masters has already started in my opinion. Sure, I have no idea how long the fight between them will last. Sure, it is definitely possible that Min asks for help at some point. Nevertheless, I perceive this challenge from Min as the first fight Yoon Seungho has to face which could be viewed as a preparation for stronger opponents. Yoon Seungho might not be aware that danger is around the corner and Baek Na-Kyum will be the first victim as he only considers his family and the officials as his enemies or source of danger. Besides, the master will be devastated if the artist is badly injured. Yet, he knows about Min’s personality because he witnessed his daring attitude twice and during the hunt, Min was even touching him. Strictly speaking, the latter is well aware that the jealous man has been defying his authority. So the identity of the mastermind is not really hidden. Yoon Seungho, embodied by the eagle, has sharp eyes and he will definitely go after the challenging man. The question is how far the noble will go in order to punish these betrayers.
With this drawing alone, we can see how Min is taking the lead and preparing for a rebellion behind the protagonist’s back. It looks like a conspiracy but on a smaller scale. At the end, no one was able to really reject Min’s words. They are too stupid to perceive Min’s true intentions. Since Yoon Seungho has already experienced the consequences of a conspiracy, he knows how to deal with rebels but I can’t imagine that he will do it openly. The family survived the purge due to a secret deal and the main character could do the same with Min and the others.
Feel free to comment or to give any suggestion for an analysis (topic, manhwas). If you enjoyed reading it, either retweet it or push the button “like” so that this writing doesn’t become pointless. My twitter account is: @bebebisous33. Thanks for the support.