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.
In the second season, in just three episodes, many people got hurt physically or emotionally therefore I would like to examine these wounds because they reflect the personality of the person who suffered them.
First, let’s start with Deok-Jae. The latter hurt Baek Na-Kyum’s hand and insulted the painter foretelling him that he would end up as a prostitute. But he got caught by Yoon Seungho. The protagonist was so infuriated that for each wound afflicted on the painter the mean domestic got punished. First, he lost a tooth for his insults and for the pretty face he envied, his face got bruised. Furthermore he could no longer walk properly, he had to crawl as he had some difficulties to stand up. We could say that the fate he wanted to impose on the low-born became his punishment. He could no longer work as servant at the mansion (door guardian) and fled from the place. The lord acted as the judge, though we have to remember about his terrible emotional and physical state. The injustice the painter experienced gave the main lead the power and energy to intervene and protect his loved one. In that moment, Baek Na-Kyum could no longer see him as a man consumed by lust. He sensed the care in the master’s words, while he was beating the man. The painter could detect the positive emotions behind his violent outburst. He wasn’t just a brutal master, he did it for him because he cared for him. That’s the reason why Baek Na-Kyum could embrace the noble. Simultaneously, he recognized that the lord couldn’t control his emotions, the commoner knew that he had to calm him down because he would kill Deok-Jae. The painter didn’t want to have blood on his hands but this is not the only reason for his actions. Observe that the painter keeps hugging the lord after the latter has already stopped beating the servant. Baek Na-Kyum senses the lord needs to be consoled. He doesn’t even complain about his own injury, the lord’s emotional pain is more important. However, the moment they get closer and more intimate, the guest Min ruins their reunion.
The second person to get injured is Min. Remember what I wrote about Min and his introduction in the second season. His mouth was wide open and the beholder couldn’t see the aristocrat’s gaze and head. This image reflected the vicious man’s personality. He’s arrogant hence blind, but due to his Black Heart, he is able to hurt people with his words. That’s why I concluded that Min’s mouth was full of poison, just like the opium, and his words were like arrowheads. Consequently he keeps stabbing from a certain distance, thinking himself safe. However, the moment he stole a kiss from the painter, he got slapped and pushed to the ground. Then he decided to insult the main lead in the chapter 53, so that he got punched by Yoon Seungho. The irony is that Min misunderstood the reason for the host’s action. While he thought, Yoon Seungho was doing it in order to save his honor, he never imagined that the master was doing it for the painter’s sake. He never mentioned the painter’s name, just called the lord’s lover a low-born. In other words, he had insulted the painter too. That’s why Black Heart’s mouth was punched so many times, the host wanted him to shut his mouth and he succeeded. It was as if the noble’s hand had become the hand of justice for the painter and as such for commoners. With his actions, Min thought, he had won the battle and even the war therefore he smiled while leaving the place. In his mind, he had been able to separate Seungho from his childhood friend Jihwa, then he had put the painter in a terrible situation (gangrape) so that Baek Na-Kyum could only resent his master and would leave the house.
And here is the next question: What do Deok-Jae and Min have in common? They commit crimes and at no time, they are suffering from pangs of conscience. They feel no remorse. In fact, they would even blame others for their misery or lack of recognition.
And now, I would like to focus on the lord’s injuries.
Now, you are surprised that I chose this scene. How is it related to injuries? We have to imagine that this laugh is actually a scream. The lord is here laughing because he is hiding his wound behind his mask. His heart has been hurt by the recent discovery. Yoon Seungho thought, the painter had chosen him, while in reality Baek Na-Kyum just remained by his side as the scholar had abandoned him. Strangely is that the moment, the lord chose to accept his condition as human (chapter 49), he discovered the next morning why the artist was just an empty shell. Consequently the latter couldn’t perceive the lord’s warmth and presence. From that moment, the aristocrat knew that he could never seek the painter’s intimacy as the latter viewed himself as a prostitute. He had just resigned himself to never be loved the same way than the teacher was and to his horror, it was even worse than he had ever imagined. In that moment, his heart started bleeding so much that he needed to numb his emotions. However, neither the wine nor the opium could erase his feelings for the low-born. So this laugh is actually a cry of desperation and agony. As you can detect, the joy expressed by the noble reflects the opposite of the emotions he is feeling. He’s actually very sad and pained. The cry should be seen as tears he can’t shed.
And now imagine what he did during the same night. Despite his own wounds, he still protected the painter three times (the kiss with Min, the beating of Deok-Jae and Min) but his feelings for him got denied by Baek Na-Kyum hence Yoon Seungho had the impression that he had been rejected another time. For him, the painter hadn’t noticed all his good actions and the painter’s gaze in that moment gave him the feeling that he was still a monster. It was not the same gaze he gave to the scholar. Consequently he felt betrayed. It was as if the artist had backstabbed him hence he made a wrong decision. However, once he realized the consequence of his choice, he got shocked. He realized his wrongdoing, he had allowed the nobles to rape the man. Since the lord had forced himself on the commoner once and the latter had expressed his hatred, for the aristocrat, the painter could only resent him even more. He couldn’t use his good actions from before in order to defend himself since he already has such a negative image about himself and he is a person with a high sense of justice, compared to all the nobles we met so far.
This is not surprising that the next morning, he gets so ill, especially after such a long and eventful night. His body has reached its limits hence he ends up collapsing. But this is not the only reason why the noble fainted due to a sickness. From my perspective, his first physical sickness coincidences with his guilt. The lord felt such remorse that his body couldn’t take the self-blame any longer. He brought the painter to his guests and he would have been raped. The moment the lord realized it, he got so shocked as he was reminded of his own past. Imagine, he hasn’t moved on yet and still resents his father very much. That’s why he couldn’t face the painter’s gaze as he envisioned the disapproval and hatred in the artist’s eyes. However, unlike in the past (chapter 33-34), he didn’t run away from his wrongdoing. He preferred facing the artist and even confessing in such a way that the artist would leave his mansion. He felt such remorse that his body could no longer protect the noble. That’s how much he was pained due to his emotional injury and his huge remorse. Both led to his collapse. So his confession is not just a love confession but a confession of his sins: “ There is regret and pain in it. He admits that he has sinned. He is not hoping for forgiveness and accepts his fate, if the painter chooses to leave him.
And now it is time to focus on the biggest victim of these 3 chapters: Baek Na-Kyum. What caught my attention in the chapter 55 is the painter’s injury. This is the result of Deok Jae’s misdeed. The wrist is swollen and the artist feels the pain. Yet during the whole day, he acted as if his hand was fine. Interesting is that when he looks at his hand, he is not upset at all. He could resent the vicious servant and even blame Yoon Seungho but he is neither complaining nor blaming someone for his strained wrist. In fact, the moment the lord fell sick, Baek Na-Kyum remained by his side and helped willingly. Like I have mentioned it before, he acted on his own, when he brought the bucket of water, since the valet Kim didn’t pay attention to him. Because of the wound, I couldn’t help myself remembering the essay about Yoon Seungho’s scar, where I explained the meaning of such a small injury.
Back then, the lord received a scar on his face and at no moment, he treated his wound. He preferred taking care of the painter in the bathroom than treating his wound. Striking is that the painter’s hand injury reminds me of the lord’s scar and his behavior in this scene. Notice the parallels:
- An injury
- A person is feeling guilty and suffers from pangs of conscience
- the presence of water
- the wounded person paying attention to the partner who is emotionally upset, depressed and angry
- The need to stroke and console
Back then, the painter rejected the lord’s hand and even criticized the lord for his behavior. Strictly speaking, he refused to forgive him for his misdeed. Baek Na-Kyum has now perceived the lord’s emotional pain and the remorse which he didn’t sense in the bathroom. Notice that now the roles have been switched. The painter is the one taking care of the noble despite his injury because Yoon Seungho is now physically and emotionally weak. However, like many readers could observe, the painter is no longer wearing the white headband indicating that he is no longer acting as a servant. He has become the closest person to the master. Note that Kim doesn’t send him away, when the physician is disclosing the secret concerning the lord’s illness. He has become a confident.
What happens in the chapter 55 is important because despite the injured hand, Baek Na-Kyum starts washing the lord. For me, this gesture is full of symbolism. He is washing his sins away: the head with the dark thoughts, the mouth saying rude things and the chest with his wounded heart. He cleans the places responsible for his mistakes. The water and the white cloth purify the lord’s body. It is a gesture of the painter’s forgiveness. The painter’s hand shows that he has accepted the lord’s confession and he is on his way to get redemption. That’s why his gestures give comfort to the sick main lead, like he caresses the aristocrat’s cheek with his hand through the cloth. And there is a reason why this new version of the chapter 26 has changed so much. This time, the lord’s face is no longer rejected because the painter has finally understood the main character’s suffering. He knows that the lord felt terrible and was pained. They have become much closer and the lord will be very surprised, when he wakes up to realize that his “farewell letter” or confession had the opposite effect on the painter. He remained by his side because he was brutally honest: he showed his doubts, fears and rough emotions. Baek Na-Kyum’s injury reveals how much he already values Yoon Seungho. He is not only his savior but he represents his salvation. His hands were always powerful as they could wound the noble’s face or stop him from killing someone but now, their power is the reason why the lord is cleaned from his sins. He can now start a new relationship with the painter. And what we are actually witnessing is the death and rebirth of the phoenix. The poison corrupting the noble’s heart has been removed since the painter chose to take care of him. This explains why after his recovery he will love the commoner properly. There will be no jealousy towards the scholar any longer because the painter chose Yoon Seungho for real this time. He could have run away but he decided not to. In fact, he treated him with such a care that the powerful protagonist can slowly abandon his insecurities. The painter is now looking at him with the gaze he had been longing to get. He’s no longer a man consumed by lust but by heartache. The artist understood that his pain was his driving force.
And this is no surprise if at the end, Deok-Jae died because he never felt regret or remorse. In fact, he wanted to hurt others. And I believe, Min will suffer in the end, because he has the same attitude than the vicious servant. Greed and jealousy are the reason for Black Heart’s behavior. In my opinion, Yoon Seungho will become the hand of justice for Baek Na-Kyum so that once the lord discovers what Jung In-Hun did to the artist in the past, he will make sure that the scholar pays for his sins.
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