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.
Reflection has different significations:
- the image of something in a mirror or on any reflective surface:
- the return of light, heat, sound, or energy from a surface
- a sign or result of something
- serious or careful thought https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/reflection
While reading the chapter 67, I realized that we had all these different meanings offered by Byeonduck. Therefore I chose to analyze this episode under this aspect.
First, we have the incident with the broken mirror, , a new version from chapter 29, when lord Seungho discovered the painter’s escape. The common denominators are:
- The lord’s fury (chapter 29) (chapter 67)
- The cause is the painter’s escape, although in the second version, the desertion was in reality a kidnapping
- the broken mirror, like illustrated above
- the lord is searching for the whereabouts of the culprit: (chapter 29), in the first season he was looking for the artist, in the second for Jihwa as the instigator of the abduction (chapter 67)
- the role played by the servants: Deok-Jae and Kim feigned ignorance, while they knew the truth. In the new version, it is the same. The domestic is covering up for his master: (chapter 67). Striking is that this time the complicity is clearly revealed. Here, we see, the red-haired aristocrat asking for his domestic’s complicity, while in the first season it was never shown. It only came to light through my closer examination: Kim had a hand in this and let the domestic Deok-Jae assume the responsibility for the desertion. That’s why he stood behind the servant. Consequently the latter got beaten the worst.
The reflection (definition 3) of this comparison is the absence of loyalty towards Yoon Seungho. He is betrayed not only by his own staff (chapter 29), but also by his former friend. (chapter 67). Unlike in the past, his gaze is not covered by darkness, but he gets a true reflection (definition 1) of his childhood friend. The cheerfulness and naturality he saw in his friend’s visage has turned into a monstrosity. But in chapter 67, Yoon Seungho got to see and hear his own reflection: definition 1 and 2. Father Lee described him as a man consumed by sex, a man full of vices who led his son to debauchery. He blamed the main lead for corrupting his son. However, for the first time, Yoon Seungho stood his ground and refused to be accountable for Jihwa’s reputation as sodomizer. Hence the protagonist gave father Lee a different reflection about Jihwa: Yet, this time, he confronted him with facts. He portrayed his son as a strong-willed and free person. Jihwa knew how his father would disapprove, hence he acted behind his back (“sneaking during the night”). With these words, the lord pointed out not only the son’s hypocrisy, but also the father’s. Father Lee preferred turning a blind eye and preferred reproaching Yoon Seungho for his son’s sexuality. So the reflection (3) was that father Lee got to hear and see for the first time his son’s true behavior. In other words, Yoon Seungho was actually putting the blame on the father and son. Either father Lee had been blind and deaf, or the son manipulated the head of the family. In reality, it becomes obvious that father Lee was well aware of his son’s behavior, but chose to feign ignorance and let Jihwa tell him lies so that the appearance of respectability could be maintained. Both Lees had an interest to let Yoon Seungho become the scapegoat, that way Lee’s reputation would be still intact. The father could no longer pretend innocence, when his son returned one day with his topknot cut off. With this kind of words, the father could only put the whole responsibility on the main lead. However, in chapter 67, father Lee got confronted with a different reflection. Lee Jihwa was never forced to visit him, he did on his own volition, hence the main lead can not be responsible for the second lead’s sexual orientation. Yoon Seungho’s words became the reflection father Lee needed to hear and see: his “pure” son was quite the opposite. The lord had finally grasped Jihwa’s mean and hypocrite personality. Jihwa’s hypocrisy was already perceptible in chapter 3, when he attempted to hide the hickeys from the servant and note that he acted the same in chapter 67. However, this time he desires to hide the marks left by Nameless from The Joker, because his sex with the commoner would create a scandal. Note that the second lead has a hickey on his chest, and when he is facing his acquaintance, the shirt covers the mark. If Min saw the mark, he would ask the red-haired noble how he got the hickey. And this time, Jihwa can no longer hide his homosexuality behind Yoon Seungho’s reputation as the biggest sodomite. Imagine, Jihwa has done exactly what he reproached to the main lead: having sex with a commoner. . He has fallen so deep into sodomy that he is now reaching for a low-born, yet at no moment he feels remorse or disgusted. In fact, he even admits that he did enjoy it. This exposes Jihwa’s superficiality in my opinion. He doesn’t reflect (definition 4) on his own actions, and these contradict his own rules. And now, I am even wondering, if Heena’s words addressed to the painter in chapter 68 could be the reason why Jihwa was so obsessed with his childhood friend in the past. Since he was so young and had no adult by his side as advisor, he had no idea how to identify what he truly felt for his friend. Yet, in chapter 67, we don’t see Jihwa’s heartbreak any longer. And from my point of view, it is related to Nameless. The moment Jihwa had sex with another man, he was able to move on. Jihwa had a false perception of love in the end, which explains why the red-haired noble was so obsessed with his friend.
However, what caught my attention in this chapter is the broken mirror. It is exactly the same than the one the main lead offered to the painter. This implies that the protagonist must have given it to Jihwa in the past. (chapter 3) (chapter 45) It shows that Jihwa had already got closer to Yoon Seungho than anyone else. Yet, by destroying the red dresser, it signifies that the main lead is cutting ties with the red-haired noble for real. They have no longer any connection. Let’s not forget that when Baek Na-Kyum received the dresser, he saw his future: (chapter 28). the mirror predicted the evolution of the protagonists’ relationship. They would become lovers. Since Yoon Seungho destroys himself the red dresser, it displays that Jihwa and him have no future together. At the same time, I believe to see two other interpretations in the broken mirror. When Baek Na-Kyum destroyed the mirror, it didn’t just mean that he was rejecting the lord as his partner, it also meant that he refused to accept his sexual orientation. He was denying his own identity as homosexual. And now, you understand why the main lead used the mirror to confront the artist. That way, he pressured him to accept his sexuality. And now, when the lord throws the dresser, it means that the lord is rejecting the red-haired aristocrat’s identity. He is not the one he thought he was: his personality is different from what he imagined. The reflection the mirror gave is not the reality. His true face is vile and deceptive.
The broken mirror has the other following signification for Jihwa: loss of identity. I would like to remind my readers of the 7 functions a mirror has:
- to perceive his true self and personality;
- to predict the future,
- to unveil the past
- to reveal desires and illusions
- to indicate beauty, vanity and superficiality
- to unveil truth, reality and as such wisdom https://bebebisous33analyses.wordpress.com/2020/06/15/painter-of-the-night-the-mirror-and-its-functions/
In my opinion, this scene in chapter 67 marks a turning point for Jihwa. From that moment, he won’t be able to identify himself with the main lead. Striking is that Jihwa’s room contains the same furniture that Yoon Seungho’s: the cupboard, the white vase, the candelabra, the red box and the shelf (chapter 56) (chapter 65) The only differences are the windscreen and the colors of the bed. The resemblance exposes the true nature of Jihwa’s feelings for his childhood friend. Jihwa never developed his own taste. When the main lead started showing an obsession for erotic paintings, Jihwa bought an erotic painting from Qing (chapter 9). He had no real identity, he was still identifying himself in relation to the protagonist. From my point of view, Yoon Seungho represented in reality the surrogate father, the father Jihwa was missing. Since his father was absent and Yoon Seungho seems to be dedicated and gave him his attention, the red-haired noble developed an affection based on an oedipal complex. That’s why he couldn’t accept the separation and any other lover. In other words, he had similar feelings than Baek Na-Kyum’s had for Jung In-Hun. The only difference is that Yoon Seungho was first a boy and later a young man full of traumas. He couldn’t act as a real father. Note that Yoon Seungho is the only one scolding Jihwa and reminding that there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed. Father Lee never took his responsibility as father, that’s why he can only blame the main lead for Jihwa’s sodomy.
And now without a mirror, Jihwa is forced to develop his own identity. His “adoptive” father is cutting the umbilical cord literally speaking. Jihwa needs to find his own taste and make his own choices. Since Jihwa didn’t go through puberty properly, he couldn’t distance himself from his surrogate father properly, an important step into adulhood. Let’s not forget that he was separated from him for so many years, when father Yoon decided to seclude Yoon Seungho at the mansion. The years of separation reinforced the noble’s longing for his “father figure”. At the same time, I believe, his emotions were also connected to guilt. This explicates why Jihwa couldn’t accept being separated from him. He imagined that being together would erase everything. However, Jihwa is now an adult, hence he needs to be independent and become responsible.
That’s why Jihwa is so scared that he is crawling afterwards. His behavior is not just the reflection of the sword aimed at him. Note that he is crawling exactly like a child. This is no coincidence in my perspective. For the first time, he is on his own, hence he feels very insecure. The main lead is no longer willing to be responsible for him, and since father Lee was confronted with the truth, the young man can no longer put the blame on Yoon Seungho. And like a young child discovering the world for the first time, he feels afraid and fears for his life. Everything feels new and scary for him. Consequently he hides his face and ears, he prefers darkness, as it gives him a certain protection. And now, you grasp better why The Joker was able to manipulate Jihwa. He gave him the reassurance and comfort a scared child needed. Yet he deceived him that he just needed to rely on his plan, which includes that he will put the blame on others. Since Jihwa always defined himself in relation to Yoon Seungho, it means he never tried to use his own mind. He never reflected deeply, as he relied to much on mirrors:
“Mirror should think longer before they reflect.” from Jean Cocteau
Since he didn’t ponder deeply before, he prefers relying on others’ thoughts: rumors, gossips and Min’s words. That’s why he looks like a monkey, when he is facing Black Heart. He prefers renouncing on his humanity and skills than thinking carefully. The Joker stands here in opposition to Nameless’ role. The latter acted like his mirror and his guide into adulthood. That’s why I believe that the criminal will play a crucial role and he will confront Jihwa, but at the same time leading him to find his true identity. Nameless will become his mirror, fulfilling the same role Baek Na-Kyum has with the main lead. It will force him to drop the hypocrisy he adopted from his second surrogate father figure: The Joker. I believe, Nameless will assist to find the purity deeply buried in his soul, yet I am still expecting a punishment for Jihwa. Since my theory is that Nameless was framed in the past, I also believe that Jihwa will have a similar fate. He will become Min’s scapegoat.
As you can see, we had so many different kind of reflections. They helped the manhwaphiles to comprehend the functions Yoon Seungho and Min had in Jihwa’s life. They were both the red-haired noble’s surrogate fathers, because father Lee decided to let his servants to take care of his son. In this chapter, father Lee’s guilt is clearly demonstrated, while he feigned ignorance, another person applying Kim’s philosophy: Nonetheless, I am quite certain that father Lee will be punished for his negligence, just like father Yoon lost his position as official due to the purge.
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