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 first part, we demonstrated the significance of the candles in the manhwa. They reflect the protagonists’ feelings and state of mind. While a yellow candle on a chandelier mirrors a certain frigidity and selfishness, the white candles symbolizes selflessness and purity. We also explained the importance of the fire. A burning bougie mirrored hope, desires and affection, while the darkness of a room with the lack of candle reflected the opposite. Now, it is time to focus on the chapter 55 and 56, where the candles play another important role. Observe that during the eventful night (chapter 52, 53, 54), we never got to see any bougie or candle. And this is no coincidence as the lord was acting like a ghost again.
Now let’s start with the chapter 55.
In the first panel, the candle is not burning because the main lead is unconscious due to his illness. However, this shows as well that the lord has given up his hope to get the admiration he desired to see in the painter’s gaze. Besides, the noble thinks that the painter must have run away after what had happened during the night in chapter 53 and 54. Therefore, the candle is not burning for 2 reasons: the lord is unconscious and the loss of hope to win the painter’s heart. And remember that during the confession in the morning, he acted rather selfishly in order to make sure that the artist would run away from him. Hence we have again a yellow candle on a chandelier. His confession was full of doubts, fears and even blames. He didn’t pay attention to the painter’s feelings and emotions as he had already anticipated that the artist would hate him for his misdeed.
Striking is that when the painter returns with a bucket of water, he sits down next to Kim. Observe that the yellow bougie stands exactly in front of the painter. That’s the moment where there is a switch. From that moment, the yellow candle will represent the low-born. He has neither affection nor hope nor desire for Yoon Seungho right now. However, I believe that the doctor’s words must have surprised and affected him. For the first time, he discovers that the noble has been ill for quite some time and needs to take medicine regularly. Until now, he had always thought, the protagonist was just a strong and healthy man, especially after witnessing and experiencing so many sex sessions.
Striking is that when the night comes, Byeonduck drew a picture with a bougie in the center. In our opinion, this image announces the return of intimacy between the characters, the return of warmth and care contrasting to the coldness and brightness of the room in the morning, when the lord confessed to the painter. In that picture, there were two people facing each other, yet there was such a distance and loneliness exuding from this scene. With the nightfall, the atmosphere in the room changes. Let’s not forget that the rich protagonist is associated to the moon, hence he is more himself during that time.
And this is now not surprising that the yellow bougie is burning, though Seungho is unconscious. The burning bougie represents the painter. Remember that the switch occurred during the day. Sure, one might say that the burning candle is related to the night. Yet, let’s not forget that neither in the chapter 52, 53 and 54, the manhwalovers could see any candle. We shouldn’t forget that the position of the candle plays a huge role. Hence it is always important to consider the camera angle. Here, the candle stands between the painter and the aristocrat exposing a certain distance. Yet, the gap between them has considerably diminished compared to the morning’s. This displays the artist’s wish to get closer to the noble. But first there is a certain shyness and hesitation as his hands are on his knees.
What caught our attention is the change in the painter’s behavior which is reflected with the candle. If you compare both drawings, you’ll notice one huge difference.
As you can see, in the second drawing the candle stands in front of Baek Na-Kyum’s legs proving our theory one more time, a candle embodies a person and reflect their emotions and thoughts. Therefore we believe that the burning candle displays the painter’s affection and care for the lord. Observe the divergence of the intensity of the light. The light is brighter compared to the one from the first panel. This displays the increasing care and warmth of the commoner for Yoon Seungho. Furthermore, it also reflects the artist’s desire to get closer to the noble that’s why the low-born’s feet are touching Yoon Seungho’s bed.
Yet, if you pay attention, the room remains quite dark indicating that this light is not strong and bright compared to the candle light in the chapter 2 for example. This reflects the humbleness and the absence of sexual desires for Yoon Seungho. The commoner just provides comfort and warmth, exactly what the lord needs right now. Let’s not forget that he is trying to understand the lord’s actions, while taking care of him. That’s why we would say that the candle seems to provide more warmth than light.
On the other hand, there are three white candles in the background and these are not burning. Note that they stand exactly in the position of Yoon Seungho’s body. Since there is no fire, we could say that this reflects the lord’s unconsciousness due to his illness. Moreover, the candles stand far away and there is a certain reason for that: Seungho has decided to stay away from the painter reinforcing the idea that he has lost his hope to get what he truly desires. This contrasts with the position of the one candle as now Baek Na-Kyum wishes the opposite, getting closer to him. Yoon Seungho has given up on the painter for real after his brutal confession in the morning. Since he is unconscious, he can not detect the painter’s gentle gestures. He has no idea that Baek Na-Kyum is not resenting him, actually he is forgiving him. He is actually doing the opposite of what the lord had anticipated. This proves one more time that the artist is a real puzzle for Yoon Seungho.
As a conclusion, Baek Na-Kyum steps on the lord´s bed because he wants to be closer to Yoon Seungho and wishes to take care of him. That’s why the angle sort of merges the painter´s legs and the candle: his desire has taken control over the legs and, thus, the painter is moving closer. Overall, in this case, the candle represents Na-Kyum’s interest in the lord and his desire to take care of him, whereas Yoon Seungho has distanced himself from the painter. He has resigned to the idea that he will never be gazed like he wished.
Since this candle stands close to the painter and the lord, the light coming from the candle helps Na-Kyum to observe the man:
The gaze of the painter has clearly changed in this chapter: it reflects warmth. The light Also, it is seen that the painter has the desire not only to be closer to the lord but to touch him since he is moving his hand toward the noble. Yet, his fingers are bent exposing that the painter has stopped his hand from touching the lord. The light illuminates the lord’s face, a metaphor for the painter’s care and warmth.
Moreover, in these particular panels, the candle is not only associated to warmth and desire but to hope as well. Why? Before answering this question, we need to analyze the following picture:
Here, the bubbles are white whereas the overall panels are black. The content of the panels is important since Nakyum refuses to believe that the lord is in love with him. However, the painter’s words reflect the hope as well with the following expression “and yet”. Let’s not forget that Yoon Seungho used the same idiom to confess showing that this “antiphrasis” caught the painter’s notice. While the lord expressed his resignation and despair during that morning, Baek Na-Kyum voices the exact opposite. Combining all the ideas above, it leads to the following conclusion: the white bubbles represent the hope and light, whereas the dark color of the panels mirror the painter’s denial of Seungho’s feelings. Overall, both the candles and the speech bubbles are the symbols of “light in the darkness”.
Moving on to the next chapter, the same candles are present, but their position has changed. Notice that the candlestick stands now next to the white bougies. Why, especially when the painter is not present? One might now argue that our theory is wrong, since the painter is not next to the lord and the candlestick is actually associated to him. However, the manhwalovers shouldn’t remember that in this chapter, the painter is actually dreaming about Yoon Seungho. So he is present through his thoughts. Furthermore, while talking about the letter and Song, Yoon Seungho can’t help himself asking about the whereabouts of Baek Na-Kyum. So the painter is also present in the noble’s mind. This mirrors their closeness, the night spent together brought them closer. The lord nodded to his question if he had feelings for him and his answer moved the painter’s heart hence he blushed.
Strangely, all of the candles are burning. One might say that the lord is conscious now. But this is not entirely correct, since we had a picture, (chapter 35) where Yoon Seungho had blown out the candles and we had explained that this represented his despair and his resignation. So why are the white candles burning, especially if he had decided the day before to give up on the painter? For this explanation, we have two possible interpretations:
Before explaining the first possible explication, we would like to remind you of the symbolism of fire: “Fire symbolizes many things, including passion, desire, rebirth, resurrection, eternity, destruction, hope, hell and purification”.
As you can see, distraction fits here because Seungho is obviously irritated: the lord has recognized Jihwa’s handwriting therefore he’s furious as he had already warned the red-haired noble not to cross the line. If we look again at the signification of fire, we discover this: Fire consumes, warms, and illuminates, but can also bring pain and death. Therefore, the fire coming from the white candles symbolizes Seungho’s anger but also the pain the protagonist is willing to inflict on Jihwa since the latter hurt his former friend by bringing up the past. Jihwa knew very well that he would wound the protagonist by mentioning the name Song. Yoon Seungho’s desire to beat the noble is proved when the main lead punches Jihwa with his leg right after seeing him:
The other possible explication (but without any concrete proof) is that the lord is now hoping again. Let’s not forget that the chapter 55 resembled a lot to the chapter 35, where the noble was on the verge of giving up on the painter, until he saw him blushing. The fact that the painter had reacted to his presence had such a positive effect on the main lead that he started smiling a little and couldn’t restrain himself from stroking the artist’s hair. With the low-born’s little reaction, it was enough for the lord to regain hope and attempt to get closer to him through the paintings. And we have a blushing Baek Na-Kyum in the chapter 55. The latter is so surprised and moved by the lord’s nodding that he can’t help himself reddening. That’s why we have to wonder if during that night, the lord heard the painter’s question and witnessed his lover’s reaction giving him hope that he had been accepted and forgiven. The lord might have closed eyes but this doesn’t mean that he wasn’t truly unconscious. Remember that he couldn’t face the painter’s gaze in the morning, hence he looked down but since he is lying in bed, it is impossible for him to avoid the artist’s gaze. So with closed eyes, he could face the painter without looking at him. He could detect the commoner’s reaction, as the latter cleaned his body, even stroked his face. The moment the lord’s head nods a little, observe that the painter’s gaze gets more intense and then removes his hand from the main lead’s face. So during that night, Yoon Seungho could have sensed the painter’s attitude (his care and his question) making him realize that his desire could still come true. This is just a theory based on the observation made that the second season is inspired by the events of the first season. So it is definitely possible that we might get a flashback of that night. Furthermore, this would also outline the effect of Baek Na-Kyum’s actions. During his recovery, Yoon Seungho sensed the artist’s warmth and care hence this gave him hope.
As a conclusion to this essay, you can sense the huge meaning behind the candles. Therefore in the future chapters, play attention to these candles and what they might reflect.
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