This is where you can read the manhwa. https://www.lezhin.com/en/comic/painter But be aware that this manhwa is a mature Yaoi, which means, it is about homosexuality with explicit scenes.
There is a reason why I chose this title for the chapter 50. First, I noticed many parallels between Jihwa, Baek Na-Kyum and Yoon Seungho. The three of them come to a realization in this chapter. To sum up, the painter wants to listen to his body from that night on and is no longer repressing his sexual desires, while Jihwa’s unconscious is telling him about the real consequences of his decision to have the painter killed. Finally, Yoon Seungho gets to know what Jung In-Hun told his lover Baek Na-Kyum at the library and realizes in the retrospective why the painter behaved like that. Furthermore, the word “realization” appears twice in this chapter.
Sure, one might say that the first picture appeared in the former chapter, yet Byeonduck chose to utilize this picture again and this is no coincidence, it actually announces the topic of the chapter 50. Furthermore, this also underlines the painter’s huge transformation. Just like Jihwa and Yoon Seungho in the chapter 50, Baek Na-Kyum has a revelation too. He won’t live based on Jung In-Hun’s doctrines, he will let his body lead him and he will no longer feel any shame. He will live the way he wants. Let me repeat myself: here Baek Na-Kyum is no longer perceiving himself as a prostitute, when he says this because as a prostitute, he had no identity. Now, the repetition of the personal pronoun “I” indicates the return of the painter’s confidence. He is a person of his own after all. He will no longer fight against his own sexual desires like in the first season.
In other words, all the major characters have a revelation. The first important event in the chapter 50 is the painter’s nap.
He actually felt comfortable enough in the noble’s embrace to doze. Incredible, if you observe the way the noble held him (second picture above). What caught my attention is the lord’s reaction, when he notes the artist’s lack of reaction. The main character gets shocked and even panics.
“What if the artist got sick once again?!”, this is what the noble must have thought. This scene is really important because the manhwaphiles are here reminded of the sex marathon. The similarities with the sex marathon are not random. We had some rough sex in the beginning and at some point, they stopped for a moment, only to do it again for a while . The hug in the chapter 32 contrasts so much to the hug in the chapter 49. In the former, they weren’t facing each other indicating the gap between them. In the latest episode, the noble is truly comforting the painter, he wants him to rely on him, to trust him, whereas in the past, the noble was determined to have the painter recognized his own sexual orientation. As much as he wanted the painter to feel pleasure with him, Yoon Seungho’s other motivation was to satisfy his own sexual appetite hence he paid no attention to the artist’s health condition. The other difference is that in the chapter 49, the painter was the one initiating the second part of their love session and not the lord this time. By comparing both scenes, it makes the manhwalover realize Yoon Seungho’s huge metamorphosis. He is no longer selfish and inconsiderate. He definitely prioritizes his lover over himself.
He actually allowed the painter to use him so that he would feel good. Sure, he was annoyed by his admission. But once kissed, he sensed that the painter’s words were contradicted by his gestures (the caress and the tender kiss). The other divergence from the sex marathon is that he didn’t notice Baek Na-Kyum’s sickness right away. He was drinking, when he detected the artist’s lack of move. He didn’t try to drink. In the latest chapter, he sensed it right away.
His response was immediate, he touched the painter’s forehead and looked at his facial expression. The other contrast is the kiss. While in the chapter 33, he kissed him in order to have him drunk some water, here his kiss was an expression of deep love and not despair mixed with affection.
Furthermore when he caresses the low-born’s cheek, it was as if his hand was serving as support for the artist’s head.
There is so much tenderness and affection oozing from his gestures, which was only briefly perceptible in the chapter 33. Here, there was an emergency, while in the chapter 50, the main lead has no reason to be so gentle and affectionate except to feel the need to express his love for the painter. At no moment, his gaze diverts from Baek Na-Kyum’s face, his eyes are always focused on his lover during that night.
By the way, in the drawing above, we can clearly observe the presence of a hickey, so the noble is definitely marking the commoner as his “lover”, as his “wife”. He did it before but back then, the painter had no idea about it. Striking in the last picture is the lord’s gaze. He says nothing but his eyes are showing surprise and a certain fascination for the painter. The latter is resting without revealing any pain, tear or worry. His calm face exhibits a certain tranquility. It was, as if he had found some peace. And this leads me to the next observation: Baek Na-Kyum’s sleep exudes a certain trust towards Yoon Seungho. When he shared the aristocrat’s bed for the first time, he couldn’t relax and fall asleep, unlike his partner. He felt the noble’s presence due to the tight hug. He wasn’t able to repose at all. He could only doze after witnessing, how vulnerable the noble was. He realized that the aristocrat needed him for real and there was no danger coming from him. (chapter 37/38) Notice in the chapter 50 that he fell asleep while fully embraced, although his position was even less comfortable than when he was in the master’s bed. So through his sleep, the manhwalover can detect that the new rule set by the painter (“let my body take the lead”) has come true. His body is already telling him that he can trust the noble, while his mind still fears to depend on him. His heart and mind have been scarred due to Jung In-Hun’s hypocrisy therefore the commoner is consciously convincing himself that he should keep a certain distance from his sex partner. Yet his soul is doing the opposite. In his doze, he lets his head rest on the noble’s hand. He doesn’t wake up from the kiss either. As a first conclusion, the choice, the artist made consciously, comes true. He allows his body to follow his instinct. His body already relies on Yoon Seungho and this is only a matter of time, until his mind comes to the same realization: he loves the noble and he can rely on his warmth and love because his emotions are profound and genuine. So the first scene is important for two aspects: the readers can perceive the real transformation of the rich protagonist’s personality (from a selfish and rude to a gentle and selfless man) and the painter’s realization helps him to connect to Yoon Seungho, although it is just his unconscious.
Now, let’s take a closer look to the third realization, Jihwa’s.
The red-haired noble is having a nightmare. Interesting is that due to this scene I detected some parallels between this young master and Baek Na-Kyum which I didn’t catch before. In fact, both characters have much more in common than I had even imagined, which I will explain all along. First, both have a dream, where the repressed desires and thoughts are revealed. In other words, Jihwa’s nightmare is also the expression of the aristocrat’s unconscious contrasting so much to his conscious mind. He made the decision to get rid of the artist due to his resent and jealousy, while the unconscious is telling him the truth about the repercussion of his resolve: it displays what will happen if his decision consciously made comes to the realization.
His nightmare reveals a lot about our second character. He might act like a spoiled and selfish child, yet his true personality is not so corrupted as his unconscious embodies rightfulness. He knows that if the assassination takes place, he will regret it forever. Striking is that while the painter’s unconscious was influenced by his repressed sexual desires, here the noble’s unconscious is under the power of the mind. His mind is telling him to distinguish right from wrong.
Striking is how the author introduces the aristocrat’s nightmare. It begins with the bloody hand.
This drawing made me smile because I couldn’t help myself connecting this image to my analysis entitled “the helping hand”. Here, I had described Jihwa as Min’s helping hand. Through him, Min can get rid of a rival without being involved directly so that he can take his place as the new alpha in the sodomite community. This drawing represents the visualization of my explanation. The aristocrat’s unconscious is showing him that he will have blood on his hand, although he won’t be the one killing the low-born. Once he has dirtied his hand through his order, his soul will get wounded and will lose his purity forever.
That’s why his face and body are covered with the low-born’s blood. So my other interpretation about Jihwa as spoiled and selfish child is confirmed with this nightmare. As a child, Jihwa’s soul is still innocent. In the past, I used to condemn him because I was focused more on the aspect “spoil” and less on the aspect “child”. Yet he is less pure and innocent than the painter as he is a noble. And this seems to corroborate my other perception about Joseon nobility as well. The aristocracy is the cause for depravity, for Jihwa’s corruption, just like the main lead judged it correctly. While Baek Na-Kyum’s soul was tainted by the low noble Jung In-Hun, the red-haired noble’s innocence was soiled due to his connection to the noble with the mole and Min. Both characters were manipulated, the low-born by a black mind (Jung In-Hun) and the noble by a black heart (Min). This explicates why Jihwa chose to ignore his “mind” as his own heart was influenced by Min and Baek Na-Kyum chose to ignore his body as his mind was molded by the teacher. Consequently he chose to ignore his sexual desires, in other words, not to listen to his body. As a first conclusion, this nightmare points out that unlike the other nobles, Jihwa’s soul contains some purity which would explain why Yoon Seungho tolerated his childhood friend for so long. He knew that his friend had no bad core that’s why he didn’t hurt him physically in the chapter 18, he just scared him. Notice that he was never present during the sex sessions (chapter 8) or orgies (33/34).
Jihwa’s behavior seems to reinforce my description of him as a child. He is biting his nails. He already started with this bad habit, when he accompanied the killer to Yoon Seungho’s mansion.
This was just one finger nail so after waking up from his nightmare, the beholder can observe that all his nails are bitten.
All his finger nails are red illustrating his anxiety and remorse. He has definitely huge pangs of conscience. He can’t fall asleep hence he drinks a lot in order to numb his mind and soul.
The chaos of his room mirrors the chaos in his mind and heart. I can even envisage that his rest must be always tormented by nightmares as he speaks about his possible death due to his anxiety. From my point of view, not much time has passed, since he gave the order based on the killer’s words and his bitten finger nails. The maximum can only be one month. If we pay attention to the lord’s room, we will notice a huge contrast with his room in the chapter 21, despite the same chaos.
In the previous chapter, he is angry and due to his fury, he destroyed his room. However, he could stand on his own feet, was able to sway the sword and he had his hair tied with a topknot. So his appearance was still intact. In the chapter 50, he is on his knees, unable to grab anything, even hiding his face from the world. It was, as if he couldn’t even face people due to the bad decision he made, accompanied with huge pangs of conscience.
His fashion is neglected, his hair is loose revealing that he no longer cares for his image at all. He doesn’t even hide his torment and tears from the servant. The pressure due to his huge pangs of conscience made him collapse. He is literally gnawed by remorse, it is even worse than in the first season after the quarrel. I would even say that the readers witness his slow break down. First, he was enraged, then he started drinking. Later he didn’t even pay attention to his clothes and image (chapter 41) and after hiring the assassin, he looks even worse than in the chapter 41. Neither alcohol nor sleep can help him to relieve his anxiety.
His gestures in the drawings above display his despair and agony. We could say that the man is slowly dying due to his guilty conscience. The nightmare is the proof of his anguish. As a conclusion, the more Jihwa resented and hurt the painter, the more he crumbled down. At the end, he can’t even stand, he is lying on the ground on his knees, too ashamed of his own decision.
Like I wrote above, the bad dream is the proof of his guilty conscience and the realization of the terrible decision he made. But now, it is time to examine the other images from the nightmare as they unveil many other details that Jihwa hadn’t recognized yet or better said, he chose to ignore in the past, yet his unconscious is notifying him otherwise.
The third illustration of the nightmare is showing the painter’s corpse covered in blood. I judge this picture as a proof that Jihwa is even less evil than he seemed to be. This drawing indicates, when he sees the low-born’s corpse, he already feels guilty. As you can see, although the noble despised the painter because of his social status and called him a “vermin”, he still perceived him as a human being. So his unconscious is revealing that killing Baek Na-Kyum is wrong, as he is killing a person with this planned assassination. In fact, the more the nightmare progresses, the bigger the remorse is and it increases to reach its climax with the following drawing:
The growing of Jihwa’s anguish is related to his relationship with Yoon Seungho. His unconscious is actually showing him that with this assassination, he won’t just kill the low-born but also his friend and loved one Yoon Seungho. Pay attention to the noble’s gaze: there is some shadow covering the red eyes, even his eyes are expressionless. By assassinating Baek Na-Kyum, he will wound his friend terribly to the point that he will become an empty shell, like a zombie. This illustration is interesting because it also displays that Jihwa’s unconscious knew that the main lead’s gaze was the mirror of his soul. Secondly, his repressed mind is whispering him that he knew all along the love the protagonist had for the the painter but he chose not to listen to his unconscious/mind and let his emotions get the better of him. He didn’t want to accept the truth: his friend had already fallen for the artist, although his mind had perceived it.
What caught my attention in the bad dream is the importance of the gaze. The main character’s eyes reveal his emptiness and mental death, just like
the artist’s dead gaze serves as a proof to confirm his death. However, in the illustration above, I detect another aspect, the significance of the painter’s gaze. I interpret this image as an evidence that the red-haired noble knew about the meaning of the locked gaze between the two protagonists. His unconscious caught the attraction the painter had for the noble, yet Jihwa was determined to ignore his mind, his jealousy and resent clouded his judgement. He preferred to follow his body (his heart): he allowed his emotions to take control of his mind. As the manhwaphiles can note, I perceive some similarities in the red-haired noble’s behavior and Baek Na-Kyum’s. Both chose to ignore what their unconscious were telling them. Baek Na-Kyum used the mind to control his body, whereas Jihwa did the opposite. He let his body take the lead which is now tormenting him. Jihwa’s action mirrors the painter’s decision, only it is the reverse.
By ignoring his mind, the lord is now living in hell. While the painter was destroyed by the low noble’s words (“you were born to be a prostitute”), the red-haired master was also destroyed by Min’s suggestion
. First, he didn’t notice Min’s perversion as he was too overwhelmed with his recent discovery. His childhood friend was having sex with the low-born for real. Besides, he witnessed the tender hug so his only explication was he had been bewitched. Anyway, under the influence of his emotions, he only started worrying the moment the killer looked at the mansion and his target. The irony is that whereas the painter was just acting like a prostitute and showed no real and deep feelings, Jihwa behaved the exact opposite. His huge amount of guilt and tension makes him so nervous and unstable. He can’t calm down at all.
While looking at the painter’s gaze, the childhood friend appears holding the deceased’s face indicating that the red-haired noble is well aware that this plan of assassination will affect Yoon Seungho.
Notice that Jihwa opens his mouth and calls his friend. It was as if he wanted to justify his action but he can only say Yoon Seungho as he is not able to find his words. After, the remorseful man focuses his gaze on the lord’s mouth waiting for the friend to speak.
This image represents Jihwa’s perspective, he is hoping that the main character will forgive him or say something that can remove his pangs of conscience. But no sound comes from his mouth therefore Jihwa decides to confront his fear and look at his friend’s face.
The fact that the noble replies nothing to his friend illustrates the devastation caused by the painter’s death. His friend is literally left speechless as he still remains silence. It was, as if he had lost his mind and we all know that Yoon Seungho is someone who usually masters words and is capable of quick thinking. His eyes and his mouth are dead, this image displays the protagonist’s destruction. Jihwa killed his friend’s heart and mind.
The latter is so shocked by this revelation that he wakes up from this bad dream. He’s still ignoring his unconscious, his conscience is telling him that this murder will have terrible consequences. He won’t just lose his friend but also his own soul, tarnished by this murder as he is the one who ordered it. His hand is covered by the painter’s blood. His mind is blaming him, while he fails to realize that Min is the real responsible, which actually shows the red-haired noble’s innocence again. He hasn’t got aware that he has been manipulated by Min’s black heart.
Since through this analysis, I realized how similar the painter and the red-haired noble are due to their innocence, it becomes now even more obvious that Jihwa can only remain pure, if he stays away from Min and his friends. In other words, he should distance himself from the nobility and meet other people. And now, I would like to say that the killer seems to be the more adequate person for Jihwa. First, just like Yoon Seungho, he has experienced so many bad things that he is not afraid of dirtying his own hands. Since Baek Na-Kyum is a low-born, pure and emotional, and Yoon Seungho is the man with more knowledge and experiences personifying the mind, the other OTP represents the reverse: the noble Jihwa is pure, while the commoner is the strategist and the mind. Although we don’t know him well, he seems to quite perceptive, as he can judge people’s true personality. He is able to discern Jihwa’s anxiety hence he stops him from biting his nails.
He is well aware that this aristocrat is quite a novice and won’t feel well. Consequently he gives him the order without disrespecting him
I am now wondering why he asked the noble to wait. Maybe he is looking into the circumstances of the ordered hit. In the chapter 43, I felt no real connection between the killer and Jihwa, as I was definitely too focused on Jihwa’s childish behavior and selfishness to feel any admiration for him. Now, it seems that the author decided to listen to her readers and followers shipping Jihwa with the killer, as this chapter represents the realization of their wish. Notice that Jihwa doesn’t reject the killer’s hand, although he knows that he is a commoner, even an assassin.
This is quite telling about the evolution of their relationship. The question is: will the killer do as he has already been paid? Now, I think that the attempted assassination could turn out differently. Envisage, if the killer decides not to follow Jihwa’s order, I doubt that Min will let the problem remain. He will use someone else and it could be Deok Jae.
As a conclusion for the first part, it is slowly dawning on Jihwa that he could lose more than he gains with the painter’s death. His nightmare displayed him the consequences of his immature decision: he will lose his childhood friend for good as he will become an empty shell. This illusion reinforced the statement that Jihwa does love Yoon Seungho despite his selfishness, he showed concern for him in his bad dream. Jihwa is indeed more innocent than I had realized it in the first place. As you can see, this chapter 50 revolves around realization. The characters and the readers, including myself, had all a revelation. In the second part, I’ll examine the final scene with Yoon Seungho.
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