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/
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… And no, I am not completing the title, which signifies that I am not revealing the topic of this essay. You are now probably wondering why. The answer is quite simple: out of fun and to increase your curiosity. What did she discover? I have to confess that this essay won’t be long because of the simplicity of the revelation.
And now, it is time to start with the analysis. First, let’s take a look at the following panels from chapter 66: What do have all these pictures in common? Yes, the presence of the door and more precisely, the door threshold. And now, if the manhwaphiles pay attention to the characters standing at the door threshold, they will detect that we have three persons connected to the doorway: Kim, noona Heena and Min. And in my opinion, this is no coincidence, as their position reflect their behavior towards the main couple. Since they are all connected to the door, this means that they are gatekeepers and as such holders of secrets. Their actions have immense consequences on the couple.
1 . Kim
In the past, I used to describe Kim as a matchmaker, as I believed that he helped the main lead to get closer to the painter. However now, I perceive him as one of the biggest villains, for he is a traitor. His cunning nature was perceptible, when he was supposed to take care of the artist in chapter 33, but he played tricks which could have fatal consequences for the painter. [Read for that First season revisited] Yet, the latter is blessed with good fortune, therefore nothing could work out. He gave the painter an aphrodisiac, so that he would get an erection in front of his lord. Because of this drug, the painter was no longer in the position to refuse the lord’s advances. But why did he do it? On the surface, it looked like he was working for his lord’s interests, fulfilling his wish. However, the reality was different. He wanted to avoid any trouble and scandal. That’s the reason why he acted in the shadow with the medicine and later lied to Yoon Seung-Won. He attempted to stop him from entering the room. And notice that the brother would have opened the door, if the artist hadn’t screamed: (chapter 37) He didn’t want the younger master to find out that he had been encouraging Yoon Seungho to sleep with a low-born. If the noble had recognized this, he would have questioned the butler’s integrity and loyalty. How could he support such an attitude? And this scene is important, as it indicates that Kim has always prioritized his own interests over Yoon Seungho. At the same time, he didn’t want to get himself into much trouble, therefore his attempt to stop Yoon Seung-Won was rather meek. With one reproach from the brother, the butler preferred stepping back and let the noble have his ways and reached the main lead’s chamber. For the valet, trouble is the worst, therefore he did everything he could to hide Yoon Seungho’s relationship with the artist from people. But he had another reason for that. IF people knew about this, they would wonder about the butler’s personality. And now you understand his true role. He keeps behind closed doors the secrets which are linked to his own crimes. (chapter 65) In that scene, he never opened the door for two reasons. First, he didn’t want to get into trouble, secondly his participation wouldn’t get noticed. Finally, the butler would never have to face the consequences of his own actions. He could feign ignorance, since the door was closed. The butler keeps the door closed so that this scandalous relationship wouldn’t be discovered by people. But he will open it, when he needs to separate the couple. And in chapter 66, he hadn’t changed his attitude at all. (chapter 66) He didn’t close the door of his master’s bedchamber for he wanted the kisaeng to see what was happening inside. In her eyes, the main lead could only appear as a ruthless man. To conclude, by acting like that, the assistant never supported his master or the artist. He made sure to reinforce the imbalance in the couple, the painter was just a plaything or a favored servant and has to fulfil the lord’s wishes. He stands for silence and absence of communication, for he was standing between them. So if we look back, we could say that Kim’s first intention was that the relationship between Yoon Seungho and Baek Na-Kyum should forever remain a secret, and as such their love should become the symbol of hypocrisy. During this time, he hoped that the painter would run away. Hence he created situations, where the artist could have deserted the mansion (chapter 46), a new version of this situation: (chapter 44) The gate was left open.
The tailor remained silent about the scandalous relationship, for he thought, he was helping Yoon Seungho and it was his wish. On the surface, it looked like Yoon Seungho’s notoriety remained untouched, he dealt with nobles, while in reality, he would sleep with a low-born. As a conclusion, Kim never helped them, but was so good to let people that he was acting in his master’s best interest. On the other hand, the couple got closer, but their intimacy was limited, as it could only be related to sex. Baek Na-Kyum was still too wounded to open up and reveal his thoughts and emotions. By hiding their relationship, neither the main lead nor Baek Na-Kyum could talk about other topics and show an interest in the partner’s likes or dislikes. Besides, sex was not what Yoon Seungho desired right from the start. He longed to be admired and loved, meaning that he wanted to have an official relationship. This stands in opposition to the secrecy Kim wished, as they would have never been allowed to look at each other so openly. But by always hiding secrets and avoiding scandal, the butler was getting exhausted, hence he desired to get rid of the painter. Therefore he looks very tired due to his dark circles and wrinkles. In the name of tranquility and convenience, he had to act in the shadow and pay attention to details so that his life was never quiet and smooth. And this explains why Kim didn’t reveal his knowledge about the conversation between the painter and the scholar right away. First, he anticipated the artist’s desertion. But when he saw that his master was even now willing to be “treated” as a sex toy, indicating that Baek Na-Kyum would have the upper hand in their relationship, he had to intervene. In his eyes, he didn’t need to meddle so openly, as long as the artist was behaving like a doll. But the sex session in the study (chapter 49) changed everything. Even Kim could sense it, for the lord had sex even after being treated like a plaything. That’s the reason why he told the truth to his master insinuating that Baek Na-Kyum acted that way, for he had internalized the scholar’s reproach. He was a whore. Simultaneously, he advised his master not to take it to heart, he should show mercy to the artist. (chapter 50) In other words, he should keep his distance from Baek Na-Kyum. However, this was already too late. Yoon Seungho could only have sex with the artist, for his libido was now attached to his affection. Kim imagined that he would start living like in the past (debauchery), for in his eyes, their relationship was just a physical intimacy and nothing more. Yet, during the separation, the window was always left opened, a sign that Yoon Seungho had no sex. To conclude, Kim would never encourage his lord to confess his love for the painter, and if he had any feelings for him, then they should remain a secret. Such a relationship represents a violation of social norms! On the other hand, I suspect that Kim must have resented the artist, for Kim had never been treated this way before. Imagine, he was offered the lord’s meal, and he could even eat in Yoon Seungho’s study. On the other hand, despite all the tricks Kim played, he still helped the couple to get closer. We had the perfect example in the third season. Because the valet released the artist, the latter joined his lover’s side and opened up. Striking is that the butler revealed a part of Yoon Seungho’s misery and this behind a closed door!! In my eyes, the butler imagined that once he releases the artist, the latter runs away or if he goes to the bedchamber, Yoon Seungho or Yoon Chang-Hyeon would get infuriated and unleash their anger onto the artist!! However, now Baek Na-Kyum knows that the butler has never helped his master. The low-born is aware that Kim is not loyal and has a bad perception of Yoon Seungho.
2. Black Heart
Like many readers noticed it, Min played also a huge role as their matchmaker. Yet, his true goal is to create a scandal for fun. Simultaneously, he desires to ruin Yoon Seungho’s reputation and power. Since he wishes to be entertained and to create an uproar, he acts the opposite. This explains why when he stands at the door in chapter 52, he is making fun comments about the noble’s relationship with the artist. That way, he would like the other guests to notice the scandal. And now, you understand why Yoon Seungho kissed Min in the end. He diverted the nobles’ attention from the commoner. His special relationship should remained a secret. To a certain extent, we could say that the main lead’s action (the kiss) was influenced by Kim’s mentality. However, there’s a huge difference here. Kim chose secrecy for his own interests, he thinks that this is the best way to live in comfort. For the main character, the kiss to Min was done to protect the painter which Min also realized. Since he failed with his first challenge during that night, he provoked the protagonist again. Note that the door was open in that scene. It was, as if Min wanted the secret (Yoon Seungho’s love relationship) to leave the bedroom and reveal it to the world. And this explains why Min’s action (the kiss) led to the destruction of the door Min’s kiss forced the main lead to reveal his feelings in front of the painter. It was, as though the brutal opening of the door symbolized the revelation of the lord’s deepest secret: his affection for the painter. And notice how daring Min is in that scene. Right after the door incident, he doesn’t stop there. He speaks the truth: He transforms the lord’s action into words. Min is so confident in his action that he doesn’t even stop Yoon Seungho from punching him. With each punch he receives, he views it as a confirmation of his observation. This explicates, why he smiles at the end, although his nose and mouth are bleeding. You have to imagine that he even risked his own face for entertainment.
But the problem is that there was no witness for this incident, hence Yoon Seungho’s scandalous love for a low-born was still a secret. And in that chapter, Baek Na-Kyum played right into Min’s hands, when he denied the existence of the lord’s affection, Yoon Seungho felt rejected. For me, it becomes clear that the noble would have never voiced his feelings, if Min and the painter hadn’t cornered him. Because the painter didn’t confess in the first place, Yoon Seungho was forced to deny his love and made a terrible decision: offer his loved one as plaything. And at the end, Min was the winner of this battle. When the lord evicted his guests, the latter could witness the host’s feelings for the commoner. He wasn’t willing to share him with them and they had to leave in a hurry. And observe that the eviction coincides with Min’s return. Once again, he stands at the door, a metaphor for the secret love. Now it is out and soon enough all the nobles will know about this scandalous relationship. Yet, nothing got leaked among the nobles. Why? It is because the witnesses were evicted like vulgar commoners. Secondly, if they had revealed their presence at the Yoons, they would have been connected to the infamous hell-raiser. However, the nobles are all bound by secrecy. They can’t reveal that they go to the main lead’s house in order to outlive their sexual fantasies or to smoke opium. That’s why the new incident in the bedchamber was not spread among the nobles. On the other hand, through Black Heart’s schemes, Yoon Seungho realized his true feelings for the painter and he was no longer in denial. So in his own way, Min helped the protagonist to face his emotions and admit them. They were deeply buried in his heart, and Min needed to destroy the door to his heart so that his love would come to the surface. This is not surprising that the next day, the noble confessed to the artist for the first time.
Yet, Min is not helping the couple for real. His true purpose is fun and entertainment. He even takes pleasure, when something is destroyed. Remember that during that night, we have the destruction of a door, an eviction and a man with a bruised face. All have something in common: violence. Therefore this is not surprising that Min’s lust for the commoner is linked to death as well. That’s why the readers were correct to describe Min as a matchmaker. For him, a scandal is fun. Notice his satisfaction each time he stands by the door: he’s always smiling and he has a reason. In chapter 53, he had been able to speak for the first time about Yoon Seungho’s feelings and in the next episode, Yoon Seungho had evicted his guests due to the painter. And now, in chapter 66, there are more witnesses: his staff. For the first time, the servants observe how the lord comforts the painter in his embrace and even carries him like a bride outside the room. This panel reminds us of the picture from chapter 45. Back then, there were only two witnesses of this scene: the merchant and Deok-Jae. However, the latter could never speak about it to others, because he had tried to sell the red dresser. That’s why the staff had no idea how much the noble would love the painter. They knew that they had sex and that the lord was fond of him, but for them, he was just a favored servant. However, due to noble’s action in chapter 66, the secret is now unveiled in front of the staff: the painter is indeed loved deeply by Yoon Seungho. And if we compare both matchmakers, Kim and Min, we’ll detect that they have two common denominators. First out of selfishness, they try to influence the relationship. Secondly they consider this bond as a secret, since it doesn’t follow social norms. On the other hand, I realized that though Kim and Min are both acting as matchmakers unwillingly, their actions diverge. While the one seeks secrecy, the other is looking a ruckus and scandal. This is important, for it already announces why the next scheme in the third season will fail.
Min has never told Kim, he wanted to taste the painter. Why should he tell him this? It represents a huge violation of social norms. In the past, he planned to have Baek Na-Kyum killed and Kim was aware of this. Why? Because Min appeared at the mansion and expected that Baek Na-Kyum was dead. He imagined to witness a commotion. From my point of view, Kim must have been in touch with Min. I had already pointed out that Kim and Min had a connection in the first season. Each invitation from Black Heart appeared at the right time (read more First season revisited). So I believe that Kim imagined that since Baek Na-Kyum was in the shed (chapter 62), Yoon Seungho would repeat his past actions from the past and kill the painter. The manhwaphiles will certainly recall the first episode: (chapter 1) From my point of view, Kim left the mansion during that day and must have met Min. Just like DJ met No-Name in the shed. (chapter 51) Another possibility is that Kim sent a letter to Min. So the butler has the impression that they have the same goal: getting rid of Baek Na-Kyum! However, the evil Joker’s goal has changed. His true goal is to have the artist, but for that he needs to weaken and hurt the main lead. On the other hand, since Kim started involving the father, the latter has a different interest: to take Yoon Seungho’s wealth, hence he can’t turn his son into a real murderer. So his target can only be the painter. Furthermore, he is well aware that if he removes Baek Na-Kyum from his son’s side, the latter will crumble!! As you can see, they think that Kim and Black Heart have the same goal, while they don’t. There exists a slight difference.
3. The kisaeng Heena
It is now time to focus on the third matchmaker: Noona Heena. Unlike the others, she doesn’t stand for secret, but for public revelation. This explicates why she is not manipulative. I come to this interpretation, since she is not hiding her relationship to the painter. In fact, she claims Baek Na-Kyum as her brother right from the start. But due to her blindness and prejudices, she doesn’t realize her true role. What she perceives as truth is in reality a deception, an illusion. Similar to No-Name, she imagines that she embodies true justice, for she is motivated by her heart. However, she is misinterpreting her own heart. She is more motivated by resent and hatred than by true love. Therefore she yells and uses violence to achieve her goal. She slaps the butler, trespasses the propriety, condemns the main lead without knowing the whole truth. She is not tender all, even her hug: (chapter 68)
And if you pay attention to her behavior in the two chapters, where she appears, she contrasts so much to Kim and Min. She appears so selfless and even courageous, while in truth she is reckless and even selfish. She seems to be determined to protect her brother, even if it means that she could get into trouble. On the other hand, she is not realizing that she is causing trouble to her brother.
Hence uproar has a different connotation for her. She doesn’t care for respectability or manners, she thinks, she stands for true values, like justice, love and honor. She believes to be on the right side due to her religion. Her faith is the reason for her motivation. But a strong believer can turn into an extremist, and as such stands for intolerance and brutality. Thus she contrasts so much to Kim, who acts the exact opposite. (chapter 65) In my eyes, she won’t mind, if this even leads to death. For her, it will be divine retribution. As you can see, her actions are misguided, for she has a false perception about herself. Since she feels entitled by her belief and connection to the painter, she protests loudly in front of the doors criticizing the main lead. (chapter 66) She is exactly like the artist: she is brutally honest in her emotions. However she is motivated by hatred and prejudices, whereas she thinks, her actions are the result of love. (chapter 66) Due to the position of her eyebrow in this panel, the readers can feel that she expresses less compassion for her brother than hatred for Yoon Seungho.
She made a scandal in order to get back her brother, inside the mansion or on the street. (chapter 66) What truly matters is her brother. She wants him back no matter what. That’s the reason why I believe, she will play a similar role than Kim and Min in the end: a matchmaker against her will. Even her next intervention can only bring Yoon Seungho and Baek Na-Kyum closer to each other, though she intends to achieve the opposite. There’s no doubt that with her presence, the truth will be revealed, like for example the role played by Jung In-Hun. Now, she is imagining that the scholar has been killed. (chapter 88) She thinks, she will act for the low noble’s best interests. The manhwalovers should remember that the news of his success at the first exam reached the ears of the local nobles, but she is unaware of this news. She is not aware that she has been deceived by her own senses and arrogance. (chapter 88) Min entered the scholar’s room to place the glasses. Though she was not able to create a scandal in the past, I believe that due to her next intervention, a public revelation will occur. There’s no doubt that she will be judged as a wretch and a liar, the moment it is revealed that Jung In-Hun is alive! Furthermore, people can only question her morality, when they discover that she didn’t call for the authorities right away. That’s why I come to the conclusion that Heena symbolizes falsehood and invention, but contrary to Kim and Min, she stands for public knowledge and revelation. Don’t forget that she is connected to the uproar in the town and she tried to cause a scandal in the Yoon’s propriety. From my point of view, she will violate her own principles by siding with the nobles. I am inclined to think that she will side with father Yoon and testify against the hell-raiser, for she trusts Kim, whom she judges as a kind man. (chapter 67) As you can see, Heena is associated to the door threshold as well, but she is connected to barging. Hence due to her actions, people will get hurt, even innocents. (chapter 68)
4. He’s right…
Like my chingu Luzyla pointed out, we have to question whom the butler was referring to, when he said “he’s right”. (chapter 65) We all thought, he was thinking about the doctor’s words, yet if you reread this episode again, you will notice that the physician actually desired to reveal the truth initially. He wished to save the painter’s life, for he must have head that the painter was rumored to have run away. (chapter 65). Hence he was on his knees, yet the butler had to threaten the commoner to remain silent. If he dared to speak up, the lord would unleash his wrath against him. (chapter 65) Hence the doctor changed his mind! The closed door was a sign that Kim wanted to keep the physician’s testimony a secret. As you can see, the physician wanted to unveil the circumstances of the artist’s disappearance, while the person behind “he’s right” wished the opposite: silence and secrecy so that there would be no scandal!! But it can’t be Min, for he likes uproar and ruckus and he expected him to be dead. He approached the mansion for that reason. He desired to witness with his own eyes the result of his own scheme. So the person behind “he’s right” is not Black Heart.
4. 1. First possibility
We have two possibilities: It could be father Lee. First, let’s not forget that according to my observations, the characters are never introduced so suddenly. So far, he was never mentioned in the second season, until he appeared in chapter 67. The “he’s right” could be the discreet reference to him, reminding us of the way he was introduced in chapter 3: Here, Lee Jihwa visited his father to explain his friend’s visitation. Besides, let’s not forget that Kim definitely met the scholar in the past concerning this incident: (chapter 77) The bearded man thought that Yoon Seungho would never cause a scandal, for he had never retaliated in public. Let’s not forget that father Lee hates uproar as well. Secondly, this could only benefit him. He preferred feigning ignorance, for the last time he schemed something, he caused a purge. Besides, the painter was returned, so in the worst case the low-born would get punished. Notice that with the scholar’s intervention in season 3, he helped the couple too. He thought that by approaching Yoon Chang-Hyeon, he would achieve his goal. He hoped to sweep his son’s crime under the rug. But even so, Yoon Seungho was able to make his father speechless and paralyzed. There was no punishment and no coup d’état either. As you can see, father Lee has every reason to fear a scandal because of the present and because of the past!!
4. 2. Second possibilities
However, there’s another person who wished to keep the kidnapping a secret: No-Name!! And remember that he had tried to create a scandal in the past by leaving Deok-Jae’s body in front of the mansion’s door: (chapter 54) Yes, another door. Don’t get misled… the closed door is referring to the butler and not the Joker. No-Name prefers open space!! Hence he said this to Jihwa: (chapter 60) and he left the painter next to a mountain. (chapter 61) Yet, if the readers reread the second season carefully, they will notice that No-Name is linked to open doors. (chapter 51) (chapter 61) He only closed the doors, when it comes to conspiracy. However, with Jihwa he acted differently.
This means that Kim contacted No-Name, and asked him for his assistance. There was a witness of the kidnapping and the artist could speak up. However, the criminal could convince him that with a murder, nothing good would come out of it. The disappearance of the doctor or of the painter would only lead to more questions. More people could die… see for example a purge!
Besides, observe that all the persons mentioned are considered as matchmakers: (chapter 76) This is no coincidence that Nameless witnessed the hug later. First, it was to confront him with reality. He had done something wrong, he had never served any justice. In truth he had helped a jealous and selfish man, for the couple had mutual affection. Secondly, he discovered the truth, the red-haired noble had been played by Min. As you can see, this new discovery leads me to reinforce my impression that No-Name is Black Heart’s nemesis. But there’s one thing that the Joker in purple is unaware of: Black Heart’s desire to taste the painter. He has the impression that this is just about kidnapping and murder.
And now it is time to complete the title: The power of … the matchmakers or of the door threshold or of the scandal.
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