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.
Based on the number of texts I composed, you can imagine, this manhwa is constantly on my mind. Why? First, the story is so good that I can really relate to the characters and feel their struggles and pain. Secondly the pace of the story is really so slow, like for example 3 chapters for a single night, therefore I feel the need to anticipate the future. Finally, Byeonduck create so much mystery surrounding Yoon Seungho that I can’t help being intrigued and attempt to unveil the truth. Even Baek Na-Kyum has finally noticed this and is interested to know his lord better! As you can sense, I desire to understand the powerful protagonist as he represents the biggest puzzle and attraction in this manhwa. That’s why I keep making so many theories. Some of them came true, others didn’t and others are still not confirmed (drug-facilitated gangrape and Yoon Seungho wasn’t a homosexual right from the start).
However, each theory was based on observations made through my analyses. In this essay, I’ll imagine how the story could evolve. Yes, another theory!! But for that, I need to explain how I came up with these ideas. Initially, I discovered through my examinations that the second season is developed according to the first season, meaning that every important event in the first season will appear in the second season but the chronology and details will be changed. Besides, by switching a few elements, the author can develop a different outcome, yet the characters’ progression will be still very similar. So what did our two protagonists experience during the first season? I am quite sure that the manhwalovers already have a list of all the important incidents. This is my summary of the principal events:
- A servant’s death because of Baek Na-Kyum (1)
- 2 escapes (4-29),
- The poem (4)
- two ruined paintings (2-11-12),
- a sex session with different sex partners and the painter is present (8),
- Baek Na-Kyum’s masturbation (9)
- a huge slap (11),
- a masturbation (16),
- the humiliation of nobles (8-18-22),
- a love confession and a love session (20-21),
- a rape (25),
- a bath, where the main characters are taking their bath separately (25-26)
- two fellatios (27-36)
- Jung In-Hun brings back to the mansion (29) after Baek Na-Kyum’s escape
- Baek Na-Kyum stops the lord from killing Jung In-Hun (30), indirectly he pleads for his leniency (30)
- the lord dragging the painter to his chamber (30),
- a sex marathon (31-32),
- a sex orgy (33),
- The lord starts living in debauchery again (33-34). The lord’s despair (35) on the verge of giving up,
- the lord protecting Baek Na-Kyum from his servants mocking him (38),
- the visit at the tailor shop (39),
- a bath (25-26),
- an evening spent writing and painting (36),
- The brother’s visit (37)
- 2 hunts (22-41),
- the interference of a villain (Jung In-Hun) in their relationship (10-24-29-38-40),
- the talk about responsibility (40)
- A sex session full of pain and sadness (41-42), although at the end, the lord shows his love (42)
- the valet’s interventions in order to help his master and the painter (12-23-25-30-33-34-35-44).
Now, let’s compare this list with the second season which has just started. We only have 10 episodes so far. Yet I could already connect many events, like for example, I determined that we have a new version of the two ruined paintings with the unfinished image and the other neglected by Yoon Seungho.
- A servant’s death because of Baek Na-Kyum (54)
- 2 escapes (46-), only one has taken place
- The poem
- two paintings (47-52),
- a sex session with different sex partners and the painter is present (54),
- Baek Na-Kyum’s masturbation (46)
- a huge slap (53),
- a masturbation,
- the humiliation of nobles (54): Seungho sends the nobles away and has even beaten Min so that the latter’s face is bruised and bleeding.
- a love confession and a love session (49: he confesses that their relationship is just physical)
- a rape (54) which was about to occur but the lord stopped it, I even consider the chapter 48 as a softer version of the “rape”. Here, the lord turned the painter around just like at the pavilion, his hug from behind is repeated too.
- a bath, (-)
- one fellatio (45-), so one is missing
- Someone brings back to the mansion after Baek Na-Kyum’s escape
- Baek Na-Kyum stops the lord from killing Deok-Jae (53), indirectly he pleads for his leniency (53)
- the lord dragging the painter to his chamber (54),
- a sex marathon (54). Here, in my opinion, the lord had been missing the painter’s warmth so much that he actually wanted to make love to him but when he realized that he would have to share the artist with the nobles, he stopped. That’s why he gave alcohol to the painter as he imagined that once drunk, he would react like during their wedding night.
- a sex orgy (54),
- the lord’s despair, on the verge of giving up (49) but in the chapter 50, he really gives up, when he hears about the incident at the library. He starts living in debauchery (51)
- the lord protecting Baek Na-Kyum from Deok-Jae mocking him (53),
- the visit at the tailor shop, This time, only the servant Kim was present, yet the lord and painter were indirectly there as they were mentioned in the tailor’s presence.
- a bath
- an evening spent writing and painting,
- The brother’s visit
- 2 hunts (22-41),
- the interference of a villain (Min) in their relationship (52-53-54). If we compare this, then we’ll notice that we have two interventions missing.
- the talk about responsibility
- A sex session full of pain and sadness (48-49), although at the end, the lord shows his love (49)
- the valet’s interventions in order to help his master and the painter (45-47-50-52). Here, we are still missing 4 interferences.
By contrasting both seasons, I notice that within 10 episodes, a lot of events have already occurred (20 out of 29), while Byeonduck used 44 episodes to expose all these incidents. Like I have already pointed out, there’s a concentration of the events so that we can say, not only the space has increased but also it implies that the relationship between Yoon Seungho and Baek Na-Kyum will indeed improve soon. It was, as if we had already reached the second part of the first season, when after the sex marathon and his distance, the lord approaches the painter carefully again and asks him about the painting. However, this time the debauchery and distance occurred first and not after the sex marathon. I see the planned sex session in the chapter 54 as a new version of the sex marathon because if it had really happened, the artist would have been forced to satisfy 4 aristocrats: Seungho, Min and the two others and it would have become a sex marathon in the end. I could even add the kiss in the chapter 50 is a new repetition of the kiss in the chapter 33 as the painter is not awake. Back then, he did it in order to have the painter drunk some water, in the second season, he just feels the desire to be tender, show his affection. He is no longer pressured, he is just following his heart. I could keep comparing like that but since the main goal of this essay is to elaborate my conjectures, I would like to stop here. However, this explication is important as it was the reason why I came up with the ideas.
Furthermore the repetition of similar events helps the manhwaphiles to mirror the growing affection between the two main leads. While in the chapter 30, the artist only grabbed the master’s hand with a certain reluctance and his shaking hands were betraying fear , in the chapter 53 the artist embraces the lord entirely. The painter is not hesitating unlike in the past. He is strong-willed with his hug, however the hands are trembling too. I have the feeling that this shaking is not really the result of fear. For me, it looks like Baek Na-Kyum is rather more emotional and agitated by the commotion. The hug illustrates his growing influence on Yoon Seungho. Now, he is able to calm down the protagonist, while in the chapter 30 he couldn’t at all. The scene in the chapter 54 displayed how much power the low-born has over Yoon Seungho therefore this is not surprising that Min is now eyeing him. The commoner has indeed become the lord’s weakness in the enemy’s opinion and the best weapon to harm his opponent. By contrasting the two gestures, it becomes clear that love is in the center of the second season, while in the first one, it was more to separate the painter from the scholar’s influence.
Besides, Min has replaced Jung In-Hun and has become the villain of the second season, just like I had envisioned. On the other hand, Min was also present in the first season (8-33- 37-41-43) that’s why we have to expect the scholar’s return happening much later. In the second season, the former teacher made a brief appearance (52 corresponding to the chapter 8) as he was mentioned by the nobles accompanying lord Min. In other words, Min has switched his place with Jung In-Hun’s. That’s why I perceive Min’s kiss as a new version of the scholar’s kiss. But since Min has no problem to have sex with men, he doesn’t feel any shame to kiss the painter’s lips. Since Min is called Black Heart, it confirms my conclusion that love is in the center of the second season, since the heart is the symbol for love.
One difference is that this time, Jihwa has hired Nameless to kill the painter and we have no murder assassination during the first season. However, I don’t see it as a contradiction as my interpretation is the following. The assassination could be a new version of the hunt. Back then, some readers thought that Baek Na-Kyum was the deer wounded by Jung In-Hun. Therefore my prediction is that there will be a first attempted assassination and someone will get hurt. Either it is valet Kim or the painter. The latter would get gravely injured that he has to spend days before recovering. Then we would have the same idea from the first season (33-34), where the artist is so ill that he’s on the verge of death. Besides, I have the impression that valet Kim could be the one persuading the painter not to run away and to remain by the lord’s side (a new version of the chapter 29). Yet, this would happen in the next episode, where the painter is on the verge of giving up, hence Byeonduck released this pic which we haven’t seen so far.Observe that she didn’t show the mouth or the cheek, which would have been a clue that the painter had been hurt and now we would be able to place the picture in the evolution of the story.
Since we have two hunts, then the second would be organized by Min, especially if you remember that Min was the one hunting with Yoon Seungho. Let’s not forget that Min is now well aware that his plan with Jihwa’s failed. Hence I believe that he will do something on his own. He has two reasons to remove the painter from Yoon Seungho’s side. First, he knows that once Baek Na-Kyum disappears from the protagonist’s side, the latter will collapse. Secondly, he envies Yoon Seungho hence he can only get even more curious about Baek Na-Kyum, his greed will lead him to organize a kidnapping. In other words, one might come to the conclusion that Nameless will do something against the painter first. And let’s not forget that based on my examinations, Jihwa is similar to the painter. He is an innocent man whose soul has been tainted by the negative influence coming from Min and his minions. Since the painter caused a servant’s death in the first chapter, I can imagine that something might occur due to Jihwa’s decision to hire Nameless. He might become responsible for valet Kim’s or the painter’s injury. Another possibility is that the vicious noble tries to organize something huge twice in order to get the artist. Let’s not forget that Jung In-Hun did try to use the painter 5 times (10-24-30-35-38) and only succeeded once (10). The same occurred with Min. The latter created a situation where the innocent painter hurt the main lead with his words And my idea is that after these incidents, the painter decides to take his responsibility for the lord (a new version of the chapter 40).
Now, you might wonder why I called this essay “the discovery of spiritual love”, when until now, I mostly compared the first season with the second and just stated that love was the focus of this season. Thanks to the chapter 53, I discovered how Yoon Seungho viewed himself until the chapter 49. In his eyes, he was just a spirit hence when he heard Baek Na-Kyum’s first love confession, he was moved for two reasons. The painter’s love was spiritual and secondly, the commoner was so pure thereby the lord had the impression, he had found his kindred spirit. However, the painter was longing for sensuality in reality so that during their first night, the confusion between sensuality and spirituality started and could only increase as time passed on. From that moment, both were unable to distinguish what they were really longing. The lord thought that if he became physically closer to the painter, the latter would come to see his spirit and fall in love with him spiritually but it never happened. Why? The reason is that the sex experiences somehow reinforced the image the artist had about Yoon Seungho: a man consumed by lust. In other words, the sexual intercourses hindered more Yoon Seungho than helped him. And if we remember the scene in the chapter 35 where both are sitting next to each other without becoming intimate first, then we realize that the aphrodisiac, organized by Kim, didn’t help the noble in the long term. During that evening, the painter could have observed Yoon Seungho reading and writing and become curious, but it never came to this, for the low-born was fighting against the effect of the drug. However, now the young man is no longer in need of the drug, he has already accepted the noble physically. That’s why I am expecting a second invitation from Yoon Seungho asking the artist to paint in his chamber. Yet, this time, I believe that there will be a real exchange. Remember that I told you that the noble will become the commoner’s teacher and from my point of view, it will come soon. From that moment, the painter will see the lord in a different light so that he will become more and more attracted to Yoon Seungho spiritually. It had already started at the end of the first season, because Baek Na-Kyum was already acting as Seungho’s student (he used critical thinking). He questioned Jung In-Hun’s words and actions. Yet the sensual love was masking the spiritual influence and undetected admiration. As for the lord, who has been longing for spiritual love, he will realize that he has always desired physical love too but thought, he just wanted to be accepted as a spirit. But now, he is no longer a spirit but a man with a heart hence he needs to recognize that physical and spiritual love can coexist. In reality, spirituality and sensuality don’t stand in opposition but complete each other that’s what both need to recognize. The painter admired Jung In-Hun so much that he wanted to make love to him, however the influential noble could never grasp it because he was too obsessed with the idea to replace Jung In-hun with himself. Moreover, he still has no idea about the coercive persuasion. As you can observe, the second season is about the discovery of spiritual love. The painter is on his way to perceive a new side of Yoon Seungho and the latter will not only get what he desired the most but will realize that he has always wished something else too: real intimacy. What Seungho meant with was in reality sharing their hearts and opening up. But in order to realize this, Yoon Seungho and Baek Na-Kyum will have to face danger. Yoon Seungho has to get aware that due to their relationship, the painter has become a target. So far, the lord has been more concerned with the artist’s health hence he has not anticipated that someone might decide to harm his loved one. That’s why I believe that the painter could get really injured. And in my opinion, the same could occur to the powerful aristocrat as well. So far, he was physically strong, yet he is not a god. In other words, he is not invincible and the chapter 54 proved it. The main character was hurt emotionally and mentally during that night. I consider this chapter as very important because it shows the lord’s vulnerability at its best. I know, some of my readers have already anticipated that Yoon Seungho would get hurt by protecting his lover and based on my observations, it could indeed become true. Or he becomes literally devastated, when he loses his valet Kim hence the painter will witness his vulnerability. Besides, Byeonduck has the tendency to use pain as a way for the characters to grow mentally and emotionally. Let’s not forget that the rejection of the scholar’s doctrine was a very painful process, therefore I am already envisioning more heartache in the future. The fear of losing the loved one will hit them hard, only then they will realize their true feelings for each other. Both will feel the same pain, when the other is physically or mentally hurt. That’s how they will realize that there is more between them than just sex.
What caught my attention is that we have two escapes and so far, only one happened (46). This one corresponds to the one in the chapter 4 where the noble himself stopped the painter from leaving physically. In the second season, the house was the reason for his return. Yet both departures are strongly connected as the mansion embodies the lord at the end. However, we have another desertion. Because this appears in the chapter 29, I couldn’t help myself associating the painter’s departure with the scholar. Let’s not forget that in the chapter 29, the low noble convinces the commoner to return to the mansion as the former needs him so that he can still be sponsored by the lord. Besides the vicious man hopes that the low-born can discover secrets about Yoon Seungho. With “second desertion” and “Jung In-Hun”, I had this idea. What if the painter decides to leave the mansion due to the return of the scholar? We shouldn’t forget that now the teacher is aware of the lord’s feelings for the painter and he has already decided to use this info for his benefit. He plans to use the painter again and this time, he won’t hide his true thoughts. Since in his eyes, Baek Na-Kyum is a prostitute, he will ask the painter, that the latter should behave like one and serve him. While in the chapter 40, the low noble rejected the painter and refused to take his responsibility for him, I imagine that the scholar will do the exact opposite in the second season. He will ask the painter to take responsibility for him and spy on the lord. Because the painter refuses to betray Yoon Seungho, he has become attached to him, he prefers leaving the mansion so that he is no longer forced to act against him. Let’s not forget that in the first season, Baek Na-Kyum decided to lie to the scholar and protected Yoon Seungho. With this idea, we would have a new version of the chapter 38, 40 and 44. This time, the artist is escaping because he thinks that’s the best way to help Yoon Seungho. And just after his desertion, the second assassination or kidnap takes place. On the other hand, once the flee is discovered, unlike in the past, Yoon Seungho doesn’t beat his servants but instead run after his loved one which would contrast to his passivity in the chapter 44. Once he catches the painter, he has to fight against Min. This is where I imagine that the lord gets hurt or the valet. So what do you think about this theory of Jung In-hun being the cause for the second escape? First, this would mean that with this action, the scholar ruins all his chances with Yoon Seungho so that the teacher can only seek support elsewhere and ends up meeting father Yoon. Because of these terrible experiences, both main leads would be able to see beyond their intimacy and sense their spiritual attachment. On the other hand, I have to admit that for me, the lord was already spiritually attracted by the painter through the paintings and once he met him for the first time, his heart started racing. He became physically attracted by him hence he grabbed his hands and let him touch his loins. This gesture indicates that his body was already reacting to the painter’s presence, yet the lord never realized it.
I am also still expecting the resurface of the poem , yet I believe that the painter will only discover it at the end. We should remember that the poem started the whole drama. Without this miserable copy, the main lead would have never invited the low born to his mansion and decided to sponsor him. Then the artist would realize what the separation truly meant at the beginning of the second season.
Finally, I didn’t mention the bath, yet you can envisage what I am expecting. I am quite sure that this time, they will take the bath together and this time, the lord might even show his long hair to the painter so that the drawings from certain fans would become true. This would be a combination of the chapter 11, 25 and 26. If this happens, then it confirms that the author put different scenes from the first season together. Now, it is your turn to imagine different scripts by combining the different scenes together. If you have other ideas, just leave here a comment. This essay is to incite imagination and you are actually welcome to share your thoughts.
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