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. If you want to read more essays, here is the link to the table of contents: https://bebebisous33analyses.wordpress.com/2020/07/04/table-of-contents-painter-of-the-night/
The main topic of this essay will be the butler Kim, as I believe that he will play a huge role during this fateful and tragic night. However, before writing any prediction, it is important to analyze the evolution of his relationship with Yoon Seungho. The gradual change of their bond explains, why there’ll be a confrontation. As we are about to witness a turning point in the main lead’s life, it signifies that this will affect Kim as well. That’s why in the first part, I’ll focus on the change of Kim’s attitude towards his lord, before imagining a possible continuation of chapter 62. From my point of view, the rebirth of the phoenix, which is another clue for the fire, is strongly connected to valet Kim, because the latter represents a part of his past. In order to get reborn, you need to cut ties with the past. Yet, at the same time, the servant is connected to the future [see for that, the essay called “Past, present and future – part 3”], as he keeps scheming. Consequently, I come to the conclusion that the butler will be the trigger for the lord’s final metamorphosis, whereas Baek Na-Kyum is the cause for Yoon Seungho’s change.
In my first essay about Kim entitled “The helping hand”, https://bebebisous33analyses.wordpress.com/2020/06/16/painter-of-the-night-the-helping-hand/
I had described, how the butler would act as if he was helping his master from behind the scene. Nevertheless, initially he disapproved the main lead’s desire to have the painter as his lover, hence he advised Baek Na-Kyum not to remember anything. He didn’t desire Baek Na-Kyum to recall their Wedding night, because if he did, this could definitely affect Kim’s position. Striking is that with his advice, he acted as a father rejecting the son’s choice for his partner. But he couldn’t do it so openly due to his social status: he is just a servant, a commoner, therefore he has no right to meddle in his master’s life.
What caught my attention is that during the terrible night of the rape and its consequences, the valet played a huge role. First, he was the one who brought the low-born to the pavilion, just like he was the one who had to fetch him and bring him to the bathroom. Hence he became the only witness of his master’s wrongdoing. However, like I mentioned it before, the butler is responsible for the forced sex due to his words. First, he gave the impression that he showed concern for him, when he discovered the scar on his face. Secondly, once he met him in the hallway, he didn’t dare say anything and even avoided his gaze. He looked definitely uncomfortable and even scared by him. Why? It is because for the first time, the butler had to face himself his master’s mood swings. So far, the painter had been the only one facing the noble’s bad temper. In my opinion, when the butler claimed that he feared his master, he was definitely lying, for he had always been his right-hand. That’s why he never criticized his lord before. He didn’t have the need to do. However, Kim’s position got affected with the rape. Due to his involvement, he triggered the lord’s trauma, hence he was confronted with the lord’s terrible mood. Therefore many readers and me included thought that Kim’s words from chapter 12 were true. Yet, the reality is different, as this situation only appears in episode 25 and 26. Hence he decides to act behind his master’s back after his last meeting in the hallway. He got surprised by the lord’s action, nevertheless he knew that the lord’s emotional state hadn’t returned to normality. The butler recognized that the main lead was still boiling inside due to his anger and pain, though his expression was cold and detached. Kim sensed that another fight between the master and the low-born would occur, since the latter couldn’t calm down and even reproached him his silence before. Because the painter was brave enough to resist the noble (the scar) and criticize the butler, the latter could already imagine the artist’s reaction. Furthermore, the domestic knew about the existence of the love triangle, since he had heard the artist’s love confession addressed to his learned sir. As you can observe, each time Kim was the only witness of Yoon Seungho’s actions and wrongdoings. First, he impersonated the scholar and slept with someone, who seemed not to love him. Secondly, he forced himself on the painter in order to obtain what he was longing: love. Yet, at no moment, the butler criticized his master, he chose to remain silent. One might say that he was in no position to express his opinion, as he is just a servant. However, like I described it in the analysis “The birth of the zombie”, the lord relied on Kim’s suggestions and actions all the time. This explicates why the head-maid keeps asking for Kim’s help and advice. (chapter 17) (chapter 65) For he could act as his advisor, this means that he could have told the truth to his lord. There’s no doubt that through his conversation in the woods, he recognized that there could be a misunderstanding between Yoon Seungho and Baek Na-Kyum. Yet, he chose not to reveal this information, because that way, he would create a situation, where the lord would be rejected. In other words, the scene in the pavilion was a new version of the Wedding night. Besides, the manhwaphiles should recall that the butler played a huge role there as well, because he created an incident: the disappearance of the expensive wine.
But let’s go back to the reprimand expressed by Baek Na-Kyum towards the servant who seems so gentle and caring. Since Kim has never told the artist the truth, the former can be accused of lying by omission. Kim envisioned that if the past was buried and never mentioned, then it was, as if nothing had happened. And this reminded me of Nameless’ behavior and thoughts. Since the painter had been sent back to Yoon Seungho, it was, as if no crime had been committed. In other words, the criminal is actually trying to bury the truth as well. He is also asking the victim to lie by omission. Unlike the loyal servant, Nameless threatened the painter. And now, you can understand why my connection to chapter 26 was correct in the end. However, there’s a huge difference between Nameless and valet Kim, both representatives of the future. The butler wasn’t feeling sorry for the victim and the perpetrator at all, while it’s the opposite for the hired assassin: (chapter 60) (chapter 66). Valet Kim only fakes concern and care, because his motto is: The contrast is surprising, because one would expect that after spending so much time with Baek Na-Kyum and his master, he should have come to like or pity them.
This explicates why hearing these words, the butler could only feel guilty. Hence he didn’t reply. To be more precisely, he was almost left speechless, because he was stuttering. At the end, he just added that he would bring him new clothes. With his lack of response and his desertion from the bathroom, it is clear that the servant was running away, for he didn’t want to face his own responsibilities. He was literally leaving the artist’s side. The change of clothes was a good excuse for him not to witness Baek Na-Kyum’s tears. I am quite certain that the low-born’s reaction must have reminded Kim of Yoon Seungho’s past as well. Striking is that both characters, Kim and Yoon Seungho, were annoyed by his cry and tears. Why? It is because the tears Why? It is, because the tears expose the wound and represent the proof of a misdeed. And their common reaction leads me to the following deductions:
- The main lead was asked not to cry, when he was wounded in his past. No one provided him comfort as well. His father had already rejected him and the valet thought, it was not his business to do so. He was just a servant in the end.
- During the first and second season, we encountered a wounded main character, who could only become infuriated or laugh in a cynical way. Remember his reaction, when he received the fake letter. He was hiding his eyes from his assistant, while he was somehow laughing. In this scene, it becomes visible that the lord is hurt, and this represents a proof that Kim must have requested from him to stop crying in his youth too. The noble has already internalized the gesture: he is not allowed to show his tears in front of his assistant. Moreover, although he is deeply wounded, he can’t shed tears, since he has long forgotten how to do so. And this was for me another clue that the main character must have encountered so many bad experiences that he could no longer cry. This assumption was proven correct, when Byeonduck allowed the readers to witness the noble’s nightmare: his past is indeed very tragic and painful. (chapter 74) The absence of the noble’s tears made me realize this: Yoon Seungho stands in opposition to his childhood friend. While the latter could cry so easily, the other lacked the ability to do so. Yet, the protagonist compensated his disability with his mind’s eye. (chapter 3) Thanks to his invisible mind’s eye, the lord was able to reflect on himself and recognize his wrongdoings. Unlike the red-haired aristocrat, the protagonist felt huge pangs of conscience very early on, while it took his friend a long time to recognize his mistake. He was the one responsible for losing his lover.
Now, you might criticize me for mentioning all this, while I had written above that valet Kim was in the center of this essay. The reason for this is the following: I believe that the tears will be the symbol of Yoon Seungho’s rebirth. Since Jihwa expressed regrets for the first time, I have the feeling that we will see the lord crying at some point. And remember that I had already announced that Jihwa and Seungho were put in the same situation, hence we had two similar panels. (chapter 61) (chapter 62) And observe that the moment, Jihwa realizes his huge mistake and expresses remorse, he drops his doctrine about the distinction between nobles and commoners. He doesn’t mind being embraced by a low-born, even a criminal. Notice what Yoon Seungho is experiencing happens the next night after Jihwa’s emancipation. Since we had a scene with three persons in the woodshed, then I had the feeling that in the grange, we could have a scene with 3 people as well (past, present and future). So I predicted that this night would have the same impact for the powerful protagonist, yet that his rebirth would be accompanied with pain and a tragedy. And my predictions were correct: during this night, the third person in the shed is the perpetrator of Yoon Seungho’s rape which was witnessed by the butler.
And now, let’s return our attention to the so-called loyal butler. Once the latter saw his master returning to the bathroom, he detected that a terrible incident would happen. Therefore he must have witnessed how the lord went grabbing his sword. This explicates why he made sure that the scholar Jung In-Hun would leave his room. He sent the white-bearded servant in order to lure the teacher outside the building, so that his master wouldn’t be able to kill him. I mean, why would the domestic answer to his question during the night, while we clearly saw that the teacher was already lying in his bed before? My first explication was that Kim was trying to help his master, because the scholar’s death would have caused a real scandal. Nevertheless, my interpretation has changed. He did it in order to secure his position: if Yoon Seungho had killed a noble, he could have been persecuted and as such the butler’s fate would have been affected. There’s no ambiguity that after the rape, Kim knew how his lord was thinking and feeling. However, if you read the manhwa, you’ll never see him acting behind the scene. You come only to this observation after examining the chapters carefully. The sudden appearance of the old servant who asks the low noble to follow him outside, while the former wonders about this action. Besides, I had clearly pointed out the theory that the assistant must have been responsible for the painter’s first escape. It was his first direct involvement, and his disobedience could have been noticed by his master. We have to envision a new version of this situation: Kim encouraged the painter to flee by telling him where the scholar was. (chapter 12)Since the butler had always acted in the shadow, he imagined that he would success like in the past. Yet, he never expected that Jung In-Hun would ruin his plan. While the valet acted as a selfless and genuine person, the learned sir behaved the opposite. However, their attitudes have something in common: fakeness and selfishness. There’s no doubt that the butler envisioned that he could act like in the past, thus history is repeating itself. Yoon Seungho had been exposed to the same situation, where he was abused sexually and couldn’t escape. Yet, contrary to the past, neither the painter nor the scholar acted like the butler had anticipated, because the valet didn’t judge the scholar’s personality correctly. He thought, the former teacher would fear for his life after hearing from the painter that his life was in danger. He never anticipated that as a low noble, he would mistrust the low-born’s statement. And if you pay attention to the evolution of the story, you’ll notice that Kim’s actions are gradually revealed during the first and second season. During the night of the forced sex, Kim acted behind the scene, yet the chapter 29 marked a turning point in the butler’s life. He got punished for his betrayal, although the protagonist got unaware of this: Why? For he was the lord’s right-hand, he was forced to beg for Yoon Seungho’s forgiveness. All the staff expected this from the valet, since he was the closest assistant to Yoon Seungho.
The domestic had imagined that once the artist had deserted the house, Jung In-Hun would follow him after hearing from him about the events of the previous night. His involvement was visible the moment he remained silent, while Deok-Jae claimed his ignorance about the whereabouts of the low noble. Kim never refuted the vicious servant’s words, when the latter spoke in his name (“we”). Notice that Kim was sweating and looked pale, indicating a huge discomfort. He never imagined their return, just like he never expected the noble’s outburst. Nothing could stop him, he became so infuriated and violent that he wasn’t even spared. Why this miscalculation? From my perspective, it is related to the butler’s judgement about his master. In his mind, Yoon Seungho is just a man consumed by lust, hence he envisioned that the painter was just a plaything. He believed that once out of the sight, out of the mind.
That’s why from that moment (chapter 30), he changed his strategy and chose to treat the painter as his master’s sex toy or prostitute. Hence he provided the artist with an aphrodisiac, so that the painter would get an erection in the lord’s presence. Due to the sex marathon, Baek Na-Kyum almost lost his life, hence he thought that if this sexual intercourse was renewed: the noble couldn’t restrain himself and would have sex with the artist, until the latter dies. Consequently, he brought back the artist to the lord’s bedchamber just before the commoner woke up and he portrayed his lord in a positive light. Yoon Seungho had taken care of him himself and had left the house, because he felt so guilty. As a conclusion, he decided to use the lord’s thirst for the painter to get rid of Baek Na-Kyum. Observe that he never asked for his master’s approval for the aphrodisiac. He already started giving orders on his own: Deok-Jae was asked to let the painter leave the mansion, then he bought the expensive medicine. But since he was just a butler, he used the closeness to his master to obtain what he wanted. This exposes that Kim already abused his position, in season 1. He claimed to the doctor that his master would have given his approval, because he knew that the aristocrat would never investigate his moves and whereabouts. However, we all know that Yoon Seungho’s desire is to be loved for himself and not because of his status, wealth or a trick. When the valet went so far to buy ink and brushes for the painter, it gave the impression that the butler was caring and gentle. Yet, this scene revealed the butler’s deceptive personality in reality. He spent his lord’s money without asking. He left the mansion on his own and I doubt, his master was aware of his actions. Then he kept sending Deok-Jae to the artist’s study so that the vicious servant would get more and more jealous. If you examined Kim’s behavior more carefully, you would notice that he was acting more and more on his own, to the point that he was no longer waiting for his master’s authorization. That’s why he brought the painter to the physician. (chapter 56) (chapter 58) Under this new light, it becomes comprehensible why the lord questioned his presence at the physician’s While many readers, including myself first, thought, was attempting to bring them closer and as such to play cupid in the end. The reality was the opposite. He always created misunderstandings and problems.
In the past, the butler had always acted as his advisor and assistant through his suggestions, but it was no longer possible. The more time passed on, the more the master recognized that the butler was overstepping his boundaries. The aristocrat was slowly distancing himself from Kim. Hence each time the domestic acted above his position, his master got angry and reminded him of his own position. And now, if the manhwalovers compare both panels, they will note the increasing of violence expressed by Yoon Seungho. While many resented the protagonists for his brutal words, they actually indicate that the main lead is already sensing the manipulative side from the butler. Let’s not forget that in chapter 62, Kim declared this: “I believe” stands in opposition to “I know”. For the domestic is well aware that Yoon Seungho has huge insecurities and as such has an immense mistrust, he will never listen to Kim’s words. By saying “I do not believe”, the valet was influencing the noble to imagine the opposite. From my point of view, he wanted the main lead to kill the painter. Why do I believe this? First, the panel above illustrates that Kim’s head and body stand in the dark. That’s why Yoon Seungho’s face and eyes are in the shadow as well. Secondly, chapter 62 should be a new version from an episode in the first season. The painter was sent to the shed in episode 1. And look what do we have here: A sword! And remember that I have already pointed out that there’s a strong connection between the butler and the sword due to chapter 1, 26, 35, and 50. That’s why I come to the deduction that Kim desired to get rid of the painter through his master’s sword. Hence he said those words: But it backfired on him. He was the one who got threatened with the sword. That’s why the domestic kept monitoring the door of the shed. (chapter 61) (chapter 62) (chapter 64) He was curious to know if the lord had executed the low-born. As a conclusion, Kim represents the darkness, which is totally understandable, because he embodies Yoon Seungho’s traumatic past.
In chapter 50, the weapon was cutting the book and as such Jung In-Hun, yet the noble was definitely angered by Kim’s words, and his gesture was not random. In chapter 62, the menace was much more precise: he would cut off his tongue. This exposes the gradual loss of the butler’s manipulations. From chapter 62 on, Kim is no longer protected from his master’s fury and criticisms. Yet, at the same time, we could observe why the lord’s threads became more visible. It was related to the servant’s words. While in chapter 50, Kim was quite reserved and his advice was full of respect, in chapter 62 he is no longer hiding his true thoughts. Here he is openly making a statement and “criticizing” his lord indirectly. Kim is slowly leaving his status as domestic, he is acting more and more as a senior, just like Yoon Seungho called him “the old man” in chapter 23. As the manhwaphiles could observe, during the second season, the valet is more and more perceived as a servant and no longer as a surrogate father. This means that from chapter 50 on, Kim and the lord just have a master-servant relationship and nothing more. On the other hand, the domestic has always considered Yoon Seungho as his puppet, although he didn’t show it so openly before the appearance of Baek Na-Kyum. There’s a reason for that. Yoon Seungho never tried to have a relationship and never fell in love before. Until his encounter with the painter, Yoon Seungho only had eyes for his butler. First he was with him, when the latter was still innocent and sensitive. He knows his past and secret. In the main lead’s mind, Kim remained by his side out of loyalty and concern. While in the first version of this essay, I imagined that Kim would stop his master from committing another wrongdoing out of worry and care, I only realized my mistake, when the chapter 64 came out. In my opinion, this was a deliberate decision from Byeonduck. She wanted us to hope that Kim would help the painter, only to discover his cowardice and selfishness at the end. However, if you reread the story again, the abandonment and betrayal were predictable in reality. Why? In two occasions, he didn’t intervene… the Wedding night (chapter 20) and the sex marathon (chapter 33). However, each time the painter had to pay a huge price for Yoon Seungho’s misdeeds. In chapter 33, he was more concerned that the painter would reveal his involvement in the escape. This explicates why Kim declared this in chapter 65: He had tried to harm the commoner through his master, but his scheme always failed. As for the remorse, they were always short-lived, like we could in the same episode: The lord was in reality the fire and because Kim spoke to him in chapter 62, the noble was full of mistrust and pain.
And notice that Kim’s attitude towards the painter was never free of criticisms and order. (chapter 36) He dared to scold Baek Na-Kyum blaming him for his relapse. He reprimanded him for acting like a master. He reminded him of his own status: He was just a low-born, hence he should approach the lord. Kim could do so, because both are commoners and the butler stands above the artist. Nevertheless, don’t forget that in that scene the lord had guests. Making such a suggestion was not the right thing to do: it would expose him to danger… one of the nobles could request the artist as a sex partner. That’s why I come to the conclusion that Kim had intended to create a situation where the artist would get gangraped during the night of Min’s visit. That way, Baek Na-Kyum would get so upset that he would flee the house. In other words, this would have become a new version of the night of the rape. Yet, Yoon Seungho protected his lover which Kim hadn’t anticipated.
To sum up, the fire in the cabin symbolized the lord, hence he couldn’t transform totally into a vengeful ghost in a long term. Despite the valet’s manipulations, the lord did follow his heart, hence he provided some warmth for his lover. Kim was the darkness, consequently the noble turned his back on the light, but he could still feel some warmth through the painter’s words and genuine facial expressions.
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 instagram-tumblr-twitter account is: @bebebisous33. Thanks for reading and for the support, particularly, I would like to thank all the new followers and people recommending my blog.