Painter Of The Night: Hearsay (part 1)

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.

Once again I was surprised by the new chapter as I hadn’t expected a time jump. I had imagined, Byeonduck would continue the story with the same day, like for example, we would see Deok Jae’s punishment. The time jump serves two purposes. First, we have an acceleration of the events, the attempted assassination is about to occur. Secondly, the readers are a little confused about the huge change of Yoon Seungho’s behavior relayed by the head-maid and Deok Jae. The mixture of time jump and of gossip gives an air of mystery, the manhwalovers have to fill the blanks. What is the protagonist doing exactly? Why is he acting like that all of the sudden? It was interesting to observe how many readers were upset and perplexed about this development. Even myself had to ponder about Seungho’s behavior for a moment before giving different explanations.

My twit as evidence: 1. Possibility SH is aware of the plotting but wants to catch everyone in the act. Since SH said nothing to Kim and BNK, something terrible happens. 2. Possibility: SH is too focused on getting revenge on JIH through his connections that he overlooks DJ. 3. SH is taking his distance because he is pained. BNK did not choose him in the end. 4. SH is acting like that in order to force the painter to initiate the next interaction. In the last confession, SH was used as a tool.

Yet, the real revelation, the true cause for this sudden switch, occurred to me much later.

Now, it is time to take a closer look. For that, we need to examine the beginning of the chapter 51. What caught my attention is the following expression: “sent him away”. Here, he imagined that putting some distance between the painter and the teacher would help him. His relationship with Baek Na-Kyum would improve, as you know the saying “out of sight, out of mind”. Nonetheless it didn’t happen like he had anticipated. Because Jung In-Hun had hurt the painter so deeply, the latter couldn’t forget his learned sir due to the agony. In other words, although the lord was physically closer to the low-born, the latter couldn’t perceive him at all, for his mind and heart were elsewhere. They were too focused on his own heartache and negative image. As you can observe, distance and closeness were in the center of the noble’s thoughts. He realized that the saying “out of sight, out of mind” is not true.

Then we have the master remembering the night before, when he saw the painter’s sleeping face. I believe that in that moment he felt intimacy and trust and recognized that despite Baek Na-Kyum’s rejection, the painter’s actual behavior proved it otherwise. The latter felt comfortable and trusting enough to relax and fall asleep confirming what he had sensed before, when Baek Na-Kyum kissed and hugged him. The last panel is interesting because of the ambiguity of Yoon Seungho’s words: “How strange…”. The sentence is incomplete hence we have no idea what he is exactly thinking. First, we think that his memory could be the reason for this statement. This remembrance made him realize that he no longer had any reason to be jealous of the teacher. He knows, with the way Baek Na-Kyum behaved that his “love” for his learned sir has been destroyed for good. However, I have the feeling that this is only partially correct. I believe that in the last drawing, he made another huge revelation that’s why he decided to change his tactic in order to get the painter’s attention and affection. Striking is that the lord is starring at the books. From my point of view, one of the books must have stood out, which triggered the lord’s memory (not the flashback we saw, but another one) and led him to another epiphany.

Now, you are wondering about the identity of the book. The noble’s gaze must have caught the publication written by the famous poet Wang Bang-Yeon. We shouldn’t forget, in the chapter 19 Jung In-Hun discovered the truth about the real purpose of Yoon Seungho’s sponsoring. It was to force Baek Na-Kyum to paint. Since the lord had mentioned the poem composed by the scholar during their first meeting, Jung In-Hun realized the powerful but infamous noble could have detected his plagiarism. Therefore he had to investigate the matter and look for the book at the library. And he did discover the publication which was revealed at the end of the chapter 21.

Pay attention to the first drawing. Inside the book, there is a piece of paper reminding us of the poem. I am quite sure that the scholar had a copy of his own plagiarism. This proves that Wang Bang-Yeon’s poem was in the scholar room. I doubt that the learned sir brought it back to the library. He is not someone hiding his actions very well. Let’s not forget that his infringement is really obvious. Besides he must consider it beneath him to return the books. This is the work of servants. Thereby I am inclined to believe that he didn’t feel the need to hide his discovery either. He got aware that Yoon Seungho could have known all along that he copied the poem. But he wasn’t sure therefore he confronted the noble during the hunt.

The poem is really important because its topic is about distance and love. For people who didn’t read my analysis about the poem, I am posting the link to my essay.

This is the original poem:

“Parting from my sweet lover at ten million ri long distance,

Having no place to put my mind at, I am seated by the stream.

That water is going on its way at night, crying in my mind.”

Here, the author was suffering since he was separated from the person he loved and admired. Their partition caused the official’s restlessness, yet he couldn’t reveal his pain to others. Consequently he could only express it during the night. Simultaneously, the author voiced his difficulty to cry, he is not able to have tears in his eyes.

“How strange…” that Yoon Seungho encounters the poem in this situation. And now, you can imagine what the lord thought. “How strange…” that this poem does reflect the truth so well. Distance can’t stop someone from loving or thinking of someone else. That’s what the noble recognized. He read it but never got to make this kind of experience. Consequently Yoon Seungho will turn this poem into a reality. He knows very well that the painter’s heart was already moved by the copy. So he needs to distance himself from the painter, creating a separation. Only then, the painter’s mind and heart will sense the emptiness left by the noble’s absence. On the other hand, Yoon Seungho will suffer for a while, he will be the one who can’t sleep and cry, hiding his pain in front of his servants, his acquaintances and the painter himself. We shouldn’t forget that we never saw the lord crying, it is something he has never been able to do, but he needs to in my opinion in order to overcome his traumatic past. Yoon Seungho will recreate the same situation, he will become the lover forced to be separated but who longs to return to his love. The noble is really a romantic one in the end. He is willing to be in agony, until Baek Na-Kyum gets aware of his own feelings but also of the protagonist’s affection.

How strange that he came to this idea. Let’s not forget that the noble returned the poem and Baek Na-Kyum still has it in his possession. Yet I have already exposed the theory (@xSeunghoe was the one developing it) that in reality the noble never returned Jung In-Hun’s poem but a poem written by Yoon Seungho. The latter copied the original poetry written by Wang Bang-Yeon. This assumption was made because of the difference of the quality of the paper. The master wanted the artist to discover the fraud and at the same time, he wished to correct the painter’s opinion about him. He was determined to prove to the low-born that he wasn’t a “man consumed by lust” but also a learned sir. This negative image had truly bothered him in the chapter 5 to the point that he couldn’t have sex with Jihwa. However, the low-born didn’t realize the switch, too happy that his learned sir had come to the mansion (chapter 7). The poem had lost his purpose, since Jung In-Hun was close to him. He had his learned sir by his side, there was no separation any longer so that the artist didn’t feel the need to read it. This explicates why Baek Na-Kyum never changed the negative perception he had about Yoon Seungho, as he never looked at the poem again. On the other hand, that’s how the noble discovered that the painter couldn’t read. The sex sessions with different sex partners contributed to this negative reputation, the stigma “man consumed by lust” got reinforced. The painter saw it with his own eyes and even seemed to experience it.

Due to the artist’s words in the chapter 48, the lord recognized that he was still associated to sex and depravity, although he had cut ties with other nobles and never organized or visited any sex orgy. As he couldn’t help himself from making love to the painter, the latter had the impression that Yoon Seungho was just obsessed with sex and his paintings. Consequently the aristocrat got mad. Yet this made him realize the significance of his own image. He needed to change his behavior in order to attract the painter’s attention, to get him aware that he was with him for other reasons than lust.

The distance and the sudden change of attitude are deliberate. And it is indeed working.

The painter is indeed looking into the direction, where the noble is sitting, while he is following the head-maid. His head is turning to the building. Compare it to the image from the chapter 44. Both are very similar because of the weather and the situation. Nonetheless the changes are quite telling. In the second drawing, the commoner is walking on his own underlining his loneliness. He has not been accepted by the servants at the mansion, while in the chapter 51 it is clear that now the staff recognizes him as a member of the mansion. Pay attention that in the chapter 51 Baek Na-Kyum is following the head-maid from the kitchen and later the valet Kim. He is no longer isolated and rejected. Secondly, in the picture above Baek Na-Kyum is just walking to the mansion but he is not paying attention to the lord smoking by the window. Only on his way to his room, he spots Yoon Seungho sitting at the window, therefore he stops walking for a brief moment. This happens very quickly, then he starts walking again in the direction to his study. This action is interesting because it reveals that the painter only remains there as he has no other home. Yoon Seungho as such was never the reason why he decided to remain by his side, just the notion “home” was good enough for the artist. We shouldn’t forget that the mansion is big contrasting so much to the tiny appearance of the master. The difference of size underlines the significance of the artist’s motivation: he is walking towards the mansion. His gaze just gets distracted by the lord’s appearance at the window but that’s it. This interpretation is confirmed later with the chapter 46.

Now, look again at the picture in the chapter 51. The commoner is following the head-maid, yet his body and head are turned to the lord. In this episode, he doesn’t make a pause to look at him, he keeps starring at the opened window, where he can observe his “lover” laugh. The other huge divergence is the wealthy protagonist’s attitude. He is no longer passive, sitting alone while smoking. He is drinking with another aristocrat, making jokes and laughing.

This is quite important because it reveals that Yoon Seungho has finally understood that he needs to woo “his wife” differently. Appearance and sex appeal are not enough, in fact they are contra-productive in his case. The lord had imagined that he had won his lover with his sex expertise (chapter 42) thus he did nothing to impress his lover. That’s why he was so passive (a reproach I had already expressed before the second season started). The poem gave him the solution to his problems, it illustrates how to win a person’s heart. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Funny is that many readers were upset because the head-maid complained about her lord’s behavior. She had the impression that he had returned to his old-self, hence many readers felt the same way. They were influenced by the hearsay. What they failed to recognize is the lord’s laugh.

This action unveils a different side of the lord. Laugh is associated to joy and happiness. It stands so much in opposition to his smoking. It was as if the master had finally started living for real. Sure, his laugh is a little too pronounced, it is intentional. The master is laughing so loudly to attract the artist’s attention. However, I see this evolution in a very positive way. He has come back to life for real. Our protagonist has finally understood that he needs to take matters into his own hands. I have always said that he needed to change his behavior and here the manhwalovers are finally witnessing it. Yet, we all expected a different attitude, nonetheless I feel that the master made the right decision. He is distancing himself from Baek Na-Kyum in order to prove him that their relationship is not just physical. The lord has stopped approaching him for sex and even erotic paintings. Baek Na-Kyum can no longer view himself as prostitute because he is no longer required for sex.

This strategy serves two purposes. First, he wants the painter to question his own attitude and emotions. Remember his teaching: critical thinking. It has always worked on the commoner. Since he is no longer “treated” like a sex object, then what is his function here? Why does the lord keep him by his side? Why is he distancing himself from him? Yoon Seungho discovered through Kim’s revelation that Baek Na-Kyum confronted his admired sir and asked him to assume his responsibility for him. The noble hopes that the painter will act the same way, come to him and question his intentions so that the aristocrat can finally have a real conversation with him. The question marks WHY plays a huge role again.

Furthermore, I believe that Yoon Seungho is also counting on the poem. I am quite sure that the lord must have verified if Baek Na-Kyum still owned the poem. We shouldn’t forget that he already took it once without the painter noticing it immediately. Therefore I envision the lord visiting the painter’s study during the night and ensuring that the poem was still in the commoner’s belonging. The poem represents the noble’s confession. It illustrates how he felt during their “separation”.

“Parting from my sweet lover at ten million ri long distance,

Having no place to put my mind at, I am seated by the stream.

That water is going on its way at night, crying in my mind.”

Let’s not forget that in this composition, the author is quite passive (“I was seated”) as if he was waiting. Baek Na-Kyum embodies the stream and the lover can only watch the river, waiting that the water embraces him at some point. That’s why once the painter confronts the lord, the latter can use it. Another possibility is that Baek Na-Kyum discovers the switch on his own and would like to get answers why there is a new poem and what it means. As you can observe, I am expecting that the poem will play a huge role in the couple, the aristocrat will use it as his love confession contrasting so much to the one Jung In-Hun wrote. The painter will sense the sincerity in this poem. Don’t you think that Yoon Seungho is very sensitive and romantic in reality?

But in order to trigger the critical thinking, he needs to use hearsay as well. He desires the artist to note the difference between the gossip and the reality, just like he was defamed as a man consumed by lust. This already starts with the remark voiced by the head-maid. Baek Na-Kyum is even put under pressure due to the head-maid’s comment. The aristocrat had changed after the painter’s arrival and now, he is returning to his old habits. With her words, she implied that the painter had affected the lord in a good way. He was different thanks to him. But are her words correct? Did the lord return to his old-self? Indulging in sex orgies and drinking.

She noticed that he would drink again. Yet striking is the noble’s visit in that scene happens during the day and not during the night. Secondly, the readers are discovering through hearsay again that young nobles call on Yoon Seungho.

Yet, the painter is always in his room. In other words, there is no sex session and Baek Na-Kyum recognizes it as he was not invited to join them for a drawing. Byeonduck would like the reader to act like Baek Na-Kyum, question the veracity of this gossip. We readers have it much easier than the servants, since we were beholders of his sex sessions and old habits. Yoon Seungho only had sex during the night. Furthermore, we heard before that the sexy protagonist would go to other places in order to have sex, nonetheless here he is not leaving his house at all. He just receives visitors. On the surface, it seems that Yoon Seungho has returned to his old-self but this is just a subterfuge. The hearsay is a tool used by the noble so that the low-born starts paying attention to him and wonders about his behavior. And in my opinion, it seems to be working. The painter is already observing the lord. Besides, I perceive a contradiction in Deok Jae’s comments. On the one side, he claims that the commoner has lost the master’s favors, on the other side he says this:

The master is hovering around the painter all the time. So despite the distance, the lord is not leaving the commoner’s side. He is like the poet, seated by the stream. Yoon Seungho’s gaze is always focused on the artist, like an eagle watching over his lamb. When the resentful domestic adds that the noble hasn’t so much as met eyes with the painter, he is actually saying that both protagonists didn’t spend time together like before. However, I doubt that the master’s eyes didn’t meet the painter, he was just starring at him from afar, hence he is sitting in that room with his friend. From that window, not only the artist can observe the lover, but also the noble can do the same.

As a conclusion, the noble is waiting for the painter. But this doesn’t mean that he no longer visits the painter’s chamber. From my point of view, he keeps visiting him, while the latter is asleep. He already did it in the past. Remember the chapter 2/3. Like I wrote it before, during that night, he recognized that watching his lover resting could be satisfying. He also noticed the painter’s habit: he is a deep sleeper, hence he won’t wake up due to the noble’s presence. He didn’t even sense the kiss during that night. I can also imagining that drinking is a way to relieve the agony the rich protagonist is actually going through. He needs to numb his sexual desires since his feelings for the painter are so strong. He is now waiting that his lover recognizes his own emotions and questions the lord’s behavior so that they can finally have a frank conversation, where the lord can finally confess his affection to the commoner. A poem as love confession does fit our character as he is not someone talking much. He has always had difficulties to voice hie emotions and thoughts. The poem will serve as support. So please have faith in the master of deception! He can’t help himself hiding behind gossips but this time, the hearsay has a different function: trigger the painter to think on his own and question everything.

And now, I would like to close this essay with the following remark. This is no coincidence that there is a snow fall in this chapter too. The snow fall marks a closure, the painter will stop thinking about his negative image, he will start focusing on Yoon Seungho. The story can now continue and the attempted assassination will be in the center of the next chapter. The chapters 45 to 51 were essentially focused on the relationship between the master and the painter and on their issues. A breakthrough is going to occur soon. There is no ambiguity about it.

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 tumblr-twitter account is: @bebebisous33. Thanks for reading and the support.

8 thoughts on “Painter Of The Night: Hearsay (part 1)

  1. Beautiful analysis. I liked the link you made between the poem and SH’s behavior. I am personally still quite confused. At first, I thought SH is distancing himself because he is afraid of his new feelings. Mainly because the maid-servant’s words had a striking negative connotation. It seems like the lord is abusing with food and alcohol to the point that she cannot even keep up with his demands. That sounds like an unhealthy/unbalanced behavior which in my opinion cannot be related to happiness. I have the feeling the lord is deeply suffering. He realized how much NK is still attached to his teacher and he is trying to drowm his sorrow in alcohol. But as you noticed, this time is different from the last one (after NK literally collapsed for a week). We didn’t see SH laying on his bed with a tited-looking face and an empty bottle of wine nearby (like in Ch. 38 or so). This time, it’s like he’s trying hard to get his old self back (minus the sex craziness)… as if Nakyum never existed. So either he is deeply hurt or he indeed has a plan to conquer NK: He wants to make him realize that he doesn’t let him stay at his mansion just for the sex. But in that case, why avoiding Nakyum completely?! It doesn’t fully make sense. It looks to me like he is in denial and he is trying to run away from Nakyum and everything related to him. I tend to think that SH is definitely freaking out because of his feelings. Of course he is failing miserably because the hardest he tries, the more suffering he endures. I believe the murder attempt will make him realize how much his new behavior was vain and how much he can no longer be away from NK. As for the rest of the chapter, not too much surprises I would say. It was obvious the mean servant will help Nameles guy. I personally don’t ship a potential new couple in this manga (Jihwa/Nameless guy). It will just reduce drawing panels of our beloved protagonists. Although I have sympathy for Jihwa, I would like to see the lord acting furiously punish him severally (not killing him)… right after killing Nameles guy (as an act of justice). But I am afraid the author has other plans for that damn murderer. She put way too much efforts in drawing his looks to make him go that easily…

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  2. First I want to start by saying that I enjoy every single analysis you post. They make me see each panel drawn differently, and they give me a new perspective on the story told. For this chapter, I also think that SH is trying a new approach to getting closer with BNK, but my opinion of why SH is doing it differs. SH’s actions remind me of someone who discovers a crush. The first thing people with a crush tend to do is put some distance between them and that person; while also strutting about like a male peacock. People like this always avoid being too near the person they admire, but they also keep a “safe” closeness to that person because they do not want them out of their sight.

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  3. Once again beautiful analysis. I am still wondering about that poem I’m positive it will make a reappearance. I think some readers forget that SH does NOT want NK to act like a prostitute, thus the cooling off the physical relations. I like to think that SH is doing more than just drowning himself in food and wine. I would consider the servant’s remarks of the actual situation at hand to be the superficial interpretation. The scene of NK walking through the courtyard does harken back to chapter 44. And NK looks towards SH’s general direction, if he did not think twice about SH he would not have done so. My interpretation is that SH is deliberately distancing himself to give room for NK to figure out his feelings. And perhaps SH is trying to also figure out his own feelings.

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    1. About the alcohol I have some doubt too, I don’t think, Seungho has become a drunk like Baek Na-Kyum in the beginning. He just drinks with his acquaintances. Seungho is well aware that his words like “you are not a prostitute” won’t be effective as he has a bad image about Seungho. That’s why he needs to change his behavior.

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  4. always love your analysis! Now do you think that Nameless knew about DJ put rocks in BNK’s meal? I’m kinda wondering because since DJ is proved to be involved with the assassination plan, him putting rocks in the rice is basically putting him into attention, not to mention that the incident happened before the lord’s eyes, it definitely seems like such a reckless move

    Thank you for sharing your analysis ❤

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  5. Thanks again for the beautiful analysis I always feel great pleasure reading your post! Eveytime there is a new chapter I’m so eager to read your posts !
    I can see so deep in this webtoon and I really can understand SH now that you described him I don’t hate him I really appreciate his character and I’m just waiting for them to be close by heart.
    I also thought that Sh did all that on purpose and I can’t wait the next week !! ❤️❤️

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