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.
After reading the title, the manhwaphiles are already aware of the topic of this essay: valet Kim. But unlike the last texts, I decided to make some predictions about the future events, as I believe that Kim will play a central role. As you can deduce, my ideas are also inspired by my own interpretations about this character and his actions. Not only my perception about him, but also my own discoveries about other characters will play an important part for my predictions.
In the past, I used to describe the valet as loyal or faithful, as he remained by the main lead’s side. Furthermore he acted as his right-hand, like for example dressing him up, bringing his lunch or even fetching the painter for his master. But due to chapter 64, I questioned his loyalty towards Yoon Seungho and came to the deduction that he was just faithful to the mansion and as such to the Yoons. Now, if you examine the definition of loyalty, this is what you find:
loyalties: your feelings of support or duty towards someone or something: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/loyalty
As you can observe, this quality is strongly connected to support and duty. The person will do anything for a certain person, which seems to confirm that Valet Kim is indeed loyal to the Yoons. However, if we include the famous quote from Woodrow Wilson, 28th US president,
“Loyalty means nothing unless it has at its heart the absolute principle of self-sacrifice.”
we can perceive, the valet stands in opposition to this description. That’s why I come to the conclusion. He is not even loyal to the mansion Yoons, he is only loyal to himself and his own interests. Notice that he is not willing to sacrifice himself for the painter, just like he didn’t sacrifice himself for Yoon Seungho back then. In truth, the butler’s mentality is the opposite: he will do anything to survive. Self-preservation is his leitmotiv. That’s why Kim’s is passive and indifferent to the protagonists’ fate. Therefore I come to the conclusion that Kim isn’t in reality loyal to the Yoons, but to himself, the guardian of the mansion. Now, you understand why he abhors so much the idea of a scandal. If there is no trouble, then he can live his life in peace, away from any worry and concern. And now, you understand the real cause of his cowardice. And if I include another quote about loyalty,
“it’s not about who is real in your face, it’s about who stays loyal behind your back”
the manhwalovers comprehend why the butler acted behind his master’s back in the end. He was not loyal to him, his true purpose was to survive and to lead a peaceful life. That’s why he was against Yoon Seungho’s relationship with the painter in the beginning, and since he remained silent after the “Wedding night”, the lord thought that his valet was faithful. From my point of view, Yoon Seungho made a huge mistake again. He hasn’t perceived his assistant’s true mentality yet. He believes that valet Kim remained by his side out of loyalty and duty, however he’s mistaken. Sure, the assistant felt guilty, but this doesn’t mean that he regretted his decision. He had no reason too. First, he never got punished. Secondly, after the purge and the main lead’s sacrifice, Kim chose to remain for another reason. He knew the mansion and the town, and once the previous staff left the property, Kim would become the right-hand of the master. He actually benefited from the incident. While the main lead was sick, Kim could do, as he pleased. That’s how he learned to take some liberties. I am even wondering if his gesture in this panel is indeed genuine: Imagine that the protagonist had succeeded with his suicide, then this means that father Yoon could have returned to the mansion. And with his return, there’s no ambiguity that father Yoon wouldn’t have let live him like before. He had definitely another reason for saving Yoon Seungho’s life. Hence the main lead mistook his gesture as a act of kindness. Note that the main lead kept living according to father Yoon’s principles and Kim knew it. So his bad reputation was not a real scandal, because he kept making deals with other nobles.
And observe, we have a repetition of the past and the butler is determined to keep the same attitude: silence and indifference. Consequently I judge him in a very negative way now. The man is very similar to Jung In-Hun in reality. His selfishness and his cowardice are the reasons why the painter is treated like a pawn and an object. Both views the low-born in a similar way. The only difference is that Kim acts so gentle in front of the protagonists, hence neither Baek Na-Kyum nor Yoon Seungho expect a betrayal from his side. Now, you grasp why the servant bought the ink and the brushes to the artist. If he becomes a servant of this mansion, then the scandalous relationship will remained hidden. No uproar. Let’s not forget that Jung In-Hun betrayed the painter on several occasions: the coercive persuasion (past), then his request to spy on the lord implying that he could sleep with him (chapter 24), the false hug (chapter 29) and finally the abandonment in chapter 40.
That’s why I am convinced that Kim will betray the protagonists again. How? He will mask the truth, and use Deok-Jae’s disappearance as an explanation. I doubt that once his body is discovered, he will be recognized, since Nameless stated that he would make sure that no one could identify the victim. Besides, he already used the servant as a scapegoat in the past.Note, that Deok-Jae was put in the front line, whereas the butler remained in the background. He had chosen the guardian as his scapegoat, hence the vicious man got punished the most and resented the valet so much afterwards. He had every right to do so. Both worked together to let the painter escape, but once the desertion was discovered causing the lord’s fury, they envisioned that they could use ignorance as an excuse. And here, I see another evidence that Kim was behind it and Deok-Jae followed his order. That’s the reason why Deok-Jae used the personal pronoun “we”, he wanted to share the responsibility with the butler.
Kim will bring up all the servant’s misdeeds and use him as a justification. The latter was jealous of the painter and tried to abduct him. The vicious servant attempted to sell the red dresser, then he spoiled the artist’s rice and finally the incident with the hurt wrist will resurface. Yoon Seungho will recall, how the painter even stopped him from killing the man. Kim will use this to his advantage. Deok-Jae will become the scapegoat of the abduction. The maids will testify in his favor, as they saw how jealous Deok-Jae was. The servant will let the lord feel guilty and even put the blame on the doctor, saying that the latter remained silent and he could have intervened. However, his attitude towards the artist will change, since this incident caused an uproar in town and tarnished his tranquility and reputation. Besides, there’s no doubt that noona Heena will request that the painter returns to her side, once he has recovered from his wounds. The valet will be happy, if Yoon Seungho is forced to send away Baek Na-Kyum. This will mean the end of his trouble, once the painter leaves the mansion. By doing so, Kim is helping Min in the end, as the painter will be left without any protection. In my eyes, Kim is Yoon Seungho’s real enemy, because he fakes loyalty and care, while in reality he prioritizes his own interests. He is a hypocrite, but a different kind, which is much more difficult to perceive. I had questioned his behavior right in chapter 45, but it took me 19 chapters to really grasp his personality. Let’s not forget that the painter had two enemies during the first season, the scholar and Jihwa, and since Byeonduck likes using parallels, we have to imagine that Kim and Min are the main lead’s enemies. Besides, Kim is also a surrogate father for the main lead. Consequently, he will use the main lead’s insecurities and self-hatred to his advantages. One might argue that the servant tried to plead to his master in the barn. He defended the artist. However, note the expression used by the servant: “I do not believe”. He never brought up any evidence, he just asked his lord to believe him. He never mentioned Deok-Jae and his desertion. Moreover, how could Yoon Seungho trust his words, since the latter betrayed him in the past? Note that the doctor acted the same way. He just voiced his belief, as he couldn’t mention the abduction. If he had pointed out the marks, then the noble could have asked him about his whereabouts… he could have been suspected of his involvement. Let’s not forget, the physician became an accomplice the moment he acted, as if nothing was happening. So he was definitely involved. Hence I think, Kim will use his words in the barn to his advantage and the physician could become the second scapegoat. Another evidence for this negative judgement about Kim is my association to the animal embodying his personality. While the dog is linked to loyalty and even described as man’s best friend, the animal represents negative aspects which are visible in different expressions:
- ‘It’s a dog-eat-dog world’: cruel, highly competitive
- “gone to the dog”
- a dog’s life: A life that is difficult, unpleasant, or boring.
- She’s a real dog – unappealing
- as a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly : Foolish people are apt to repeat their missteps. https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/dog
Finally, I would remind my readers that I had noticed some similarities between Jihwa and Kim. Both knew the main lead’s past and are responsible for his misery. The reason for their wrongdoings: their selfishness. Another parallel was their cowardice. Both acted behind the main lead’s back. Yet, both had a different behavior: while one was too active and sensitive, the other was too passive and indifferent. Due to their affinities, I come to the deduction that Byeonduck has planned to use them as mirror. From my point of view, while the noble will try to redeem himself and change for the better, the latter will never learn from his mistakes. The evidence for this: Jihwa expressed regrets for the first time in his life. He recognized his wrongdoings, which is not the case with Kim and chapter 65 showed. The butler will never become a man, responsible for his actions and decisions. My reasoning is the following: Kim plays a similar role than Jung In-Hun and we know that the scholar didn’t change his thinking and behavior. Even after abandoning him, he imagines that he can still use him.
That’s why now I am no longer expecting a redemption for Kim. Because I have already predicted his death since the first season, I am more and more convinced that he will be killed by Yoon Seungho himself, a new version of chapter 1: “die like a dog”. However, this time, the main lead will have a reason for his execution. Kim betrayed him by not revealing what he knew and allowed his loved one to get hurt again. And in my opinion, Kim is the reason why Yoon Seungho was trapped in the end. He was never a good example for the main lead to grow up. He never taught him how to become a true master. His passivity, indifference and selfishness influenced the lord in a bad way, but the aristocrat never noticed it, because Kim took care of him. He relied on the butler one more time and imagined that he was still a good servant. That’s why they had this master-domestic relationship and this explains why the main lead is using it again against the painter, which doesn’t contradict Kim’s philosophy. The painter was just a favored servant.
As a conclusion, loyalty is not what defines valet Kim, rather cowardice and selfishness. But due to his gentleness and discrete behavior, people around him misjudge him and their mistake is the reason why they suffer in the end: Deok-Jae, the main lead and quite certainly the physician. And note that the painter always got blamed for Jihwa’s misdeeds, so people will become responsible for Kim’s wrong decisions.
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