Painter Of The Night: Fire and darkness : Valet Kim – part 2 (second version)

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. If you want to read more essays, here is the link to the table of contents:

In the first part, I pointed out that the butler Kim was acting more and more on his own, leaving his role as servant behind. In other words, as time passed on, he was behaving more and more like Baek Na-Kyum and Yoon Seungho’s guardian. Striking is that guardian has two significations:

1. a warden –

2. “Guardian” means the person who, under court order, is the guardian of the person of the child or the public or private agency with whom the child has been placed by a court. This means that the guardian is responsible for the well-being of the child.

The irony is that in the first version, I used this word “guardian” to describe the butler, though I had the second meaning in my mind. For me, it was a synonym for surrogate father. But after chapter 65, my perception about valet Kim changed dramatically. Yet, the more I examined the manhwa, the more I could already discover new symbolisms related to the butler. I only realized in chapter 62 the true role played by valet Kim in the manhwa. In this terrible but terrific episode, two panels stroke my attention making me recognize, Kim would play a huge part in the noble’s liberation from his prison. To sum up, he would contribute to his release. Nonetheless contrary to the first version, the butler would free him against his will. How did I come up to this idea of the release? Observe the following panels:

What do they have in common? Yes, Kim is linked to doors, but more precisely to open doors. And now, if the manhwalovers recall all the episodes, where the valet appeared, they will confirm this observation. First, it starts with the episode 7 . Then in chapter 11, he is seen in three different panels, standing next to an open door. And notice that in the second drawing above, he even opens the door in order to bring the meal to the painter’s study, where his master wishes to eat. And this picture announces his future role as doorman, because he is the one, who opens the door in chapter 16. In my essay about Deok-Jae, I had explained, how the latter had used the valet to stop Seungho from having sex with the painter. The jealous servant had manipulated the butler letting him think that the lord was alone and had asked for him. Since Byeonduck liked the tweet where I mentioned his involvement, I saw it as a confirmation for my theory. However, during that incident, the loyal butler hid his identity in order to escape a possible punishment. His master could have punished him for opening the door without his consent and order. Hence he ran away. Simultaneously, the valet hoped that with the open door, the painter would be able to escape, and no servant would get punished except Baek Na-Kyum who had run away from him. He chose anonymity to cover up his wrongdoing. In this moment, he had become the invisible hand, which I noted as well, when I examined his involvement during the night of the rape. Note that Kim was the one, who allowed the painter to run away, yet he hid his participation again, as he was never present in the panels. Then I could add this panel from episode 56 , episode and episode 67: He kept opening the door.

But in order to prove my theory that Kim is a porter and as such Yoon Seungho’s jailer who will be forced to release him, I’ll bring up more pictures. But I won’t respect the chronology of Painter Of the Night, because I will need to examine certain scenes necessary for my interpretation. We can sense the connection between Kim and the door opening in chapter 37, where he attempts to stop Yoon Seung-Won from opening the master’s door . And this is no coincidence that the butler didn’t want the door to be opened. Since the lord was no longer acting like an obedient child , the valet recognized that he needed to keep Baek Na-Kyum by his master’s side so that the latter would become obedient again. This meant that the butler desired to offer the low-born as a plaything to his lord. That’s why the artist was drugged and had to be imprisoned next to Yoon Seungho. Then in chapter 17, Byeonduck created such a panel: In this scene, the butler kept the protagonist’s door closed. He acted, as if he had opened the door, while in reality he had never delivered his master the food. In this scene, the butler was indeed acting like a prison warden. And this observation led me to the following conclusion: the butler is only connected to door opening in the presence of Baek Na-Kyum. Therefore in episode 44 he waits by Baek Na-Kyum’s side in front of the open door. In this scene, the butler hoped that he would run away and abandon his master. He imagined that after the betrayal and abandonment from the scholar, the artist would be so heartbroken, that he would desert the mansion. Remember the noble’s words in that chapter: Why should he stay, if the learned sir had betrayed him?

During the second season, Byeonduck even used this function more obviously. In chapter 45, he is seen twice on the threshold of a building. And note, in the second panel he enters the mansion by pushing the door. And in this episode, the butler’s actions were related to the artist. Therefore I am presenting this theory. Kim would like the low-born to disappear from the mansion in the end, consequently the open door is a visualization of this mindset. That’s why we had this panel in chapter 67: Baek Na-Kyum’s presence in the mansion caused more trouble for the valet. He was indeed the artist’s warden. However, for the painter’s fate mirrors the master’s, this signifies that Kim played a similar function towards his master. He was his guardian, and as such his jailer. Moreover, I had connected the painter to the door which implicates that the noble would be associated to the door as well. And this means that little by little, Yoon Seungho’s position was affected. He would no longer be connected to the window, but to the door opening. This explicates why the open door is more and more related to the wealthy main lead.

But in order to be able to leave his prison, the protagonist had to not only remove the butler from his side, but also to open the door himself. And if you pay attention to the lord’s position to the door in the second season, you’ll remember certainly these panels:

  • : the noble opened himself the door and note that during that incident, Kim was not present!! This scene was important, as it already announced the lord’s liberation. This explicates why the second season ends in the town: He is now free just like the artist. The mansion is no longer a prison, but a home. This stood in opposition to the end of the first season, as it symbolized that the painter was trapped too. Since Yoon Seungho couldn’t leave the mansion, the painter became a prisoner as well.
  • Chapter 47: The door was open, but the readers never see him opening the door. He remained in the bedchamber too.
  • Chapter 48: He went to the painter’s study on his own, indicating that he was moving now more freely. Let’s not forget that during the first season, he often was accompanied by Kim (chapter 20 , chapter 22 the hunt , chapter 25 ). He was keeping an eye on his prisoner while faking he was there as his protector.
  • In chapter 50, the manhwaworms viewed him on the threshold of the scholar’s room. Here, the artist was not present, but he was the main topic of the discussion. What caught my attention is that the door was wide open, yet the lord was standing far away from the door. The readers didn’t even see him opening the door. Furthermore Kim’s position changed gradually, because he came closer to his lord and even entered the room. And the switch of position reflected his change of attitude. In the last picture, he was giving his lord an advice. He was no longer acting as the submissive and obedient servant, but as his advisor, which annoyed Yoon Seungho. Hence the lord has to remind him of his true position: he is just a domestic and not an advisor, a place reserved to a noble. But despite his scolding, the noble did listen to his “loyal butler”. With his words, he persuaded his master to keep his distance from the artist. Out of pity, the noble should resign. And now you comprehend why the noble had a relapse after this conversation. The butler was able to keep him in his cage. That’s why we never see him leave the room, a symbol for his cage. And this interpretation reinforces my theory that Kim was indeed responsible for Yoon Seungho’s Stockholm Syndrome. The chapter 50 truly showed that despite his social position, the butler saw himself superior to his master. He was not just the lord’s right-hand, but his heart and his mind. He got closer to his master and even gave his opinion, though he had not been asked. He had in reality usurped his position. To sum up, behind his submissive attitude, he behaved the exact opposite.
  • And now, if you compare the scene from chapter 50 with the pictures from chapter 62, you’ll detect the progression: The butler was outside of the shed, entered the room, while the noble was standing in front of the threshold. His face was in the darkness, because he was misled by Kim’s words. Triggered by the idiom “I do not believe”, the main lead was encouraged to think that he had been betrayed and abandoned by the artist, for belief and knowledge stands in opposition. However, their position mirrored the noble’s liberation. His mind was still trapped in the cage, but his body was slowly moving towards the door. Besides, let’s not forget that in that scene again, the noble had also opened the door, but the manhwaphiles couldn’t witness it one more time.
  • And the manhwaphiles can grasp the signification of the incident in chapter 64: The noble was actually overcoming his trauma. He opened the door which was strongly connected to his rape from his childhood. (chapter 65) Back then, the butler had not opened the door symbolizing that the domestic was covering up the crime. He only opened the door after the incident and made sure that this secret would remain in the room. (chapter 65). Consequently, he had to blame the victim and make him feel guilty. By reliving his trauma and exposed to his biggest fear, the lord was able to move on. This explicates why he had sex with Baek Na-Kyum in the open afterwards. This was strongly connected to his huge guilt caused by the butler’s manipulations after the first rape. He needed to show that there was nothing wrong and he shouldn’t feel guilty. Yet, there’s no ambiguity that this action was done unconsciously. While the painter was using the closed door to hide his sexuality and homosexuality, the closed door for Yoon Seungho represented the noble’s trauma: the first rape which marked his road to hell. This elucidates why the butler is associated to the darkness which is perceptible in the following panels: (chapter 33) (chapter 37) (chapter 62) (chapter 65) His face or body is always standing in the shadow. This explicates why he often works in the shadow. This is an evidence that the butler is related to darkness.
  • But the final liberation from his jailer happened in episode 68: This is no coincidence that the noble was even seen opening the door. The butler was able to escape a punishment from his lord with his words (pity for the painter and his terrible portrait resembling his father), yet at the end the butler ends up in the backyard. Note the absence of the door, a sign of his loss of power. He has to lie low, as the main lead is no longer trusting him. This picture represents the butler’s position. He kept his master captive, but the moment the latter liberated himself, the butler could no longer rule the courtyard. That’s why he lives in the backyard which was already announced in chapter 65. Out of fear for his life, he prefers living in a secluded area. Yet, this doesn’t mean that this is the end for Kim… the noble has not discovered his multiple betrayals yet. Remember that the lord has not even recovered from his amnesia.

However, this essay is also referring to light. Striking is that the butler is linked to light as well. How is it possible? In chapter 20, Kim was the only witness of their “Wedding night” and strangely, he was standing next to the open door with a light. And his connection to fire is even shown in another scene. (chapter 36) The domestic is not only related to the open door, but also to light. Light is often associated to knowledge and wisdom, hence the philosophical movement in 18th Century in Europe is called “Enlightenment”. The philosophes and scientists desired to transform their society and government into better ones, bringing technological progress, knowledge, especially liberty and equality to people. They wanted to free the people’s mind from obscurantism imposed by absolute monarchy and Church. On the other hand, you’ll notice that Kim’s light is covered by glass or paper. (chapter 25) This is important, for it symbolizes that the butler is not only possessing knowledge, but also he is not sharing it. Moreover, the readers shouldn’t forget that Church in Middle-Age was the owner of knowledge. Only clergy could write and read. Universities were in the hands of clergymen. Besides, in many religions, candles are used for prayers. I can’t help myself thinking about Karl Marx’s quote: “Religion is the opium of the people“. Therefore I come to the following conclusion. Kim is also a priest, but he embodies the Church from Middle-Age. Since I am a teacher in European History, my readers can understand why I am drawing parallels between the butler and Christian Church from Middle-Age.

These were the functions from Church in Middle-Age:

  • a protective and social role: Charity towards the poor (chapter 68), care of the sick (chapter 33) (chapter 57), channelling the violence of the “bellatores” (those who fight) thanks to the Peace of God and the Truce of God. Remember how he stopped his master from killing Jung In-Hun in chapter 27 by sending the white-bearded domestic.
  • judicial role: ecclesiastical justice. This means that the clergy could order the arrest of heretics, but for that the religious institution needed the intervention of the local lord. That’s why we have this scene: (chapter 65) The lord is the butler’s sword. While the butler was judging the physician, Yoon Seungho was presented as the executioner of the sentence. Besides, the Church could also exercise seigneurial justice on its lands. Therefore the manhwaphiles could witness how the valet gave a punishment to Deok-Jae: clean up the mess. (chapter 47) Both sentences had a common denominator: hypocrisy, because in the first case, the butler was covering up his own participation and in the second case, the vicious servant didn’t feel remorse after that sentence.

Economic role: the Church became rich thanks to its levies (the tithe), donations, and the role of landlord that it held on its lands, while preaching humbleness and selflessness. You could detect the butler’s power and wealth, as he could dress up like a noble (chapter 45) (chapter 57) and even walk around without his master’s authorization.

Cultural role: The Latin language was preserved by the Church. The Church taught through libraries and scriptoria. And knowledge is power, that’s why Kim keeps preaching this philosophy: . Ignorance is a blessing for him, since he could manipulate his master and the staff, a similar attitude of The Church from Middle-Age.

Political role: the power of the king is sacred. The threats of excommunication displayed the power of the Church on the political life and on Kings. In The Holy Roman Empire (Germany), Henry IV. got excommunicated by the Pope Gregory VII in 1066 which marked the beginning of Investiture Controversy. I won’t go into details, but this battle between the German Emperor and The Pope was important, as it was to determine which authorities was higher: The temporal authorities (King/Emperor) or the religious institution (The Pope). In the long run, the Church could only lose its power. It started with the Renaissance and the invention of letterpress printing which allowed people to have access to books and as such to knowledge. But the increasing loss of power of The Church reached a new peak with the new philosophical current Enlightenment. And if you pay attention to the protagonist, you could perceive a parallel between the fear of excommunication in Middle-Age and Yoon Seungho’s abandonment issues.

And this comparison made me realize this. Kim is also a priest, but he should be more associated to the Middle-Age and as such obscurantism. This explicates why he is alone and dislikes sex and homosexuality. That’s the reason why why he is single reminding us of the vow of chastity and his video was in black and in white: a combination of darkness and light. Besides, as a priest, it explicates why he is a reinforcer of traditions and social norms. Just like the Church in Middle-Age, he knows a lot but he keeps it to himself. He only reveals certain elements, when it serves his own interests. From my point of view, his “knowledge” is used for deception. The light is a diversion, he only revealed semi-truths or he was paltering, meaning that he delayed to expose the truth to his master. We had the perfect example in chapter 50. When he explained the content of the conversation in the library, he created the impression that the painter had not chosen his master. He has not run away, as he was wounded. The truth is that he had indeed selected Yoon Seungho as his master. He had remained by his side, though the door was wide open. Kim never exposed the event at the door in chapter 44 and the escape in chapter 46. He couldn’t divulge this, since this would represent a confession of his crimes: encouraging the artist to leave the mansion or not following his master’s order properly. That’s why I see here another confirmation that Kim’s knowledge and light is a symbol for his manipulations. Furthermore, the lamp doesn’t ooze warmth, a sign that there’s no genuine affection between the domestic and the main leads.

One might argue that in chapter 25, Kim is associated to a closed door, hence this would refute my theory. However, if you look carefully, the nice servant is actually opening the door, visible thanks to the sound. In fact, this image mirrors Kim’s actual situation and disposition. He tried to bury the truth, and it ended in a disaster. Here, he was running away, because he didn’t want to face his guilt. At the same time, this image reflected his role in the manhwa: He was the jailer and the invisible hand, which would pull the strings in the shadow, helped the painter from the shadow for his own interests and not for Baek Na-Kyum’s sake. That’s why I judge the chapters 62-63-64 as a new version of that fateful night in the first season (25-26-27-28). This significates that Kim contributed to Yoon Seungho’s release with his actions. Let’s not forget that in chapter 29, he remained silent and was sweating, because in his mind, the scholar and the painter were now on the run. They acted, as if they had no idea. And this situation occurred again in chapter 64: He feigned ignorance and blindness, nonetheless the truth is that he recognized the nature of the incident. He was reminded of the past. That’s the reason why the butler’s memory resurfaced in the next morning. The only difference to the first season is that during the sex marathon the liberation was not physical, but mental. The noble was freeing himself from the shackles from his past.

However, the most significant connection to the open door occurred in chapter 35. Here, he opened not only the door, but also the windows. Furthermore, he even let the door open while tidying his master’s room. Whereas this scene didn’t seem to have a huge signification, it became a different meaning now, when we associated the valet to a warden. Due to Kim’s actions, the lord witnessed the intimate interaction between the scholar and the artist in the courtyard. By opening the window, the lord was confronted with a certain reality. Despite the sex marathon, he hadn’t won the painter’s heart, as the latter was still affected by Jung In-Hun’s gestures and words. But Kim did it on purpose: the so-called light and knowledge created the illusion that the painter was unfaithful. In fact, Seungho could never witness the low-born’s several disappointments. Due to Kim’s intervention, the lord became so jealous and infuriated, that he grabbed his sword, ready to kill the artist. In my mind, the lord was also suicidal here. However, nothing happened back then, as the artist didn’t leave the mansion. Like lord Seungho pointed out, if he had stepped out, he would have killed him. This scene had another signification: the lord was slowly getting closer to the mansion’s door. And since the valet was by his side, he saw his master’s jealousy and insecurities. The latter was again on the verge to become mad and suicidal. The domestic recognized, how desperate and dangerous the aristocrat was during that morning and hoped, the noble would kill Baek Na-Kyum with his own hands. This situation happened again in chapter 61: However, this time the lord’s murdering tendency was triggered by the servants’ statement: he had run away. The assistant had in reality manipulated the staff. He had learned that he could no longer feign ignorance like in the past (chapter 29). Hence he used belief for his scheme. That’s why I believe that in chapter 62, the butler chose to influence his master directly , for the first attempt to manipulate him through his domestics had already failed. The lord hadn’t killed the artist, but brought him back to the mansion. At the same time, it becomes comprehensible why Kim is also associated to light, for belief is a synonym for religion. With “belief”, he is able to manipulate people, therefore Jihwa keeps repeating “I know”. He believes that he possesses knowledge, while in truth he knows nothing, for he can not understand the main lead’s suffering.

And now imagine, the protagonist had the impression that the artist had left his side, although this time he had confessed for real. Since the artist was no longer refusing his advances and even called his name during the night, he came to the conclusion, that the artist must have faked everything, which is even worse than before. And now, the manhwaphiles can comprehend why I came to the idea that the valet would be linked to the opening of the door. Notice that during the last two chapters, he entered the room and spoke to his master. (chapter 61) (chapter 62). In the last picture, he was even siding to the artist, since he was kneeling next to Baek Na-Kyum. Not only his words, but also his position seemed to reflect his thoughts. But this was a subterfuge. It looked like he was defending the artist, while in reality, he was encouraging his master to “believe” his “fears”. No wonder why the lord was infuriated. Deep down, he sensed that he was pushed to punish the painter for his betrayal and abandonment. The aristocrat threatened him with a terrible punishment. He might lose his tongue, if he kept encouraging his mistrust towards Baek Na-Kyum. In my opinion, the butler feared that his involvement in the abduction could be revealed. Remember my observation that the butler covered up NAmeless’ traces. This is not surprising that the butler kept looking at the door and visited his lord later. (chapter 61) The reason for his visit was the painter’s reaction. This time, the domestic could observe the artist was still alive, but more importantly he could move freely in the shed. For me, although it appears like Kim was showing concern for the low-born, the reality was that he was worried about his own safety and survival. Baek Na-Kyum could reveal how he got abducted and the noble might question his butler’s whereabouts and actions.

In the first version, I had predicted Kim’s intervention which turned out to be true and false at the same time. He approached the barn, but he didn’t help the poor commoner. This night revealed his true personality: his hypocrisy and cowardice. Exactly like I had envisaged, he had been a witness of the noble’s first rape, but he chose to forget this event. If he didn’t take it to heart, he wouldn’t feel terribly guilty. In that chapter he truly acted like a prison guardian, and we could say that in truth the light was only following him and not the main leads. Under this new aspect, the manhwaphiles can grasp why Jung In-Hun and Kim are so similar. Both are like priests using social injustice and social norms to their own advantages. That’s why they were seen together in chapter 7: Both represented the darkness of the mind. The readers will certainly recall that the scholar is not attempting to teach the commoners and Baek Na-Kyum properly. And this leads me to the final conclusion: Baek Na-Kyum and Yoon Seungho are in reality the light and fire (chapter 57) (chapter 62), this explicates why the lord could find the door and open it.

But he couldn’t open the painter’s study in chapter 68 for one simple reason. Baek Na-Kyum had to do it himself too. Yoon Seungho had liberated himself thanks to his lover. The painter had to make the same experience. By opening the door and not following his sister, he was making the following statement to the protagonist: he was no prisoner, he had chosen Yoon Seungho as his master. Moreover, he was accepting his homosexuality and his relationship with the main lead.

On the other hand, the butler’s retreat in the backyard doesn’t mean a complete defeat for the domestic. He still represents a source of danger for the two protagonists. That’s why I have the feeling that he could collaborate with the scholar, for I believe that their desires will be aligned. First, Yoon Seungho could abandon the learned sir so that Min approaches the scholar. Since Kim’s biggest wish is to remove the painter from his master’s side, he will work again for Black Heart.

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.

6 thoughts on “Painter Of The Night: Fire and darkness : Valet Kim – part 2 (second version)

  1. Good work! I really like notes based on panels and analysing details in images. Plus, i think Byeonduck puts great efforts in each of them so it’s relevant to look for hints. Like the panel you mentioned with Seungho’s face half in the dark. I didn’t pays attention at first, but you’re right his eyes are in the dark. It’s not random.

    I hope Seungho will soon be free of his father influence and become worthy of Nakyum’s love.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bonsoir,
    Et bien voila, bis repetita, le deuxième viol est commis ! il est possible que Kim intervienne dans le C64 et que le sang coule….
    Mais là, le mal est fait ! Et toute la confiance de BNK va s’envoler.
    SNGO se retrouvera a la case départ avec ses remords (une fois de plus) et sa névrose en recrudescence. Boucle temporelle….
    Si Kim survit, son travail d’accompagnement va doubler…
    merci pour vos études.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rebonsoir,
    J’oubliais l’image de l’incendie. Je pense que l’on peut dire qu’avec son attitude ignoble, SNGO met le feu et détruit le “HOME” qui était en train de se construire avec BNK. Mais comme vous l’a expliqué, SNGO est un phoenix. L’image est belle et il renaîtra. Mais peut-être avec plus de solitude.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It could also be that servant Kim does not like to be indoors with his master. Seungho mentioned that when he was a child he used to play with the servants’ bodies by making paintings on them and watching their bodies quiver when he passed the brush on their skins, could it be that at some point the servant Kim was painted by Seungho?
    Maybe Kim is a version of Professor In Hun in Seungho’s life and the Lord(hampering your potential) also wanted to be a painter in his childhood (since he used the bodies as his canvases, a way to play with what he liked to do) and Kim witnessed this and influenced Seungho’s father to give him shock treatment and thus caused the rape of his young master.

    The same text written in my language:
    *Pode ser também que o servo Kim não goste de ficar em ambientes fechados com seu mestre. Seungho citou que quando era criança costumava brincar com os corpos dos criados fazendo pinturas sobre eles e vendo seus corpos estremecerem quando ele passava o pincel em suas peles, será que em algum momento o empregado Kim foi pintado por Seungho?
    Talvez Kim seja uma versão do professor In Hun na vida de Seungho(tolhendo seu potencial) e o Lord também queria ser um pintor em sua infância (já que usava os corpos como suas telas, uma forma de brincar com o que gostava de fazer) e Kim presenciou isso e influenciou o pai de Seungho para lhe dar um tratamento de choque e assim causou o estupro de seu jovem amo.


    1. Yes Kim must definitely witnessed this and reported to the father, but in my opinion Yoon Seung-Won played a part as well. I believe that the latter was portrayed as the one who betrayed his relative, while in reality Kim was the main culprit. Let’s not forget that the brother was present, when the lord painted on BNK’s body. And Kim lied during that night as well. So there was a similar scene in the past.

      Liked by 1 person

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