This is where you can read the manhwa. https://www.lezhinus.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/ I used again the following website for heroism: https://www.verywellmind.com/characteristics-of-heroism-2795943
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In the first part, after defining heroism, I exposed the hypocrisy of Jung In-Hun and Kim. On the surface, their action made them look like heroes, whereas in reality, they were only selfish cowards. They faked kindness and even used the painter as an excuse to make others suffer. However, what caught my attention is the resemblance of the following panel (chapter 68) to the situation in chapter 53, where the vicious domestic Deok-Jae got beaten for hurting Baek Na-Kyum. (chapter 53) This made me realize that chapter 68 was a new version of chapter 53 and 54. Therefore I would like to compare these two scenes for two reasons. First, the contrast will help us to judge better the protagonists’ actions.
Striking is that both scenes contain many common denominators:
- a violent noble (in both case Yoon Seungho!)
- a commoner is victim of a beating (Heena noona versus Deok-Jae)
- Prostitution (the brothel –
- The painter is a witness of that scene
- Another noble, the second witness, decides not to intervene (Jung In-Hun versus Min) (chapter 53)
- A noble’s love for Baek Na-Kyum (Jung In-Hun (chapter 68) versus Yoon Seungho)
- A heroic act
- The painter’s reluctance to accept the protagonist’s love: (chapter 54) (chapter 53) versus (chapter 68)
In chapter 53, the lord caught the vicious servant hurting the artist. That’s the reason why he became violent, he desired to protect his loved one who was getting abused. Consequently, he was wounded, when he witnessed this. His action corresponds to the first condition of heroism (Acting voluntarily for the service of others who are in need). Then when he started punching Deok-Jae, he never expected anything from the artist, a reward or a hug. He was just acing on his emotions, he couldn’t bear the thought of seeing Baek Na-Kyum insulted and treated like a whore, thereby the second condition for heroism was met: Performing actions without any expectation of reward or external gain. Since he interfered himself, using his own body to stop the perpetrator from employing verbal and physical violence, I come to the observation that Yoon Seungho was willing to risk his safety, fulfilling the last condition of heroism: Recognition and acceptance of the potential risk or sacrifice made by taking heroic actions. Back then, the noble was indeed celebrated as a hero, yet if you pay attention to the reactions of certain readers, they are now calling Kim a hero. It was, as if Seungho’s past action had never existed. From one extreme (hero), he turns into a villain due to the second sex marathon and his attitude towards the painter in chapter 66. But if you pay attention to Heena noona’s description, (chapter 68), you’ll notice that here the kisaeng was not the victim, though it looked like it. In reality, the so-called violent and arrogant noble had been forced to go to the gibang. He was just a teenager. This means that Heena was lying here. And the lord’s behavior in chapter 53 proved her words wrong. He showed mercy, when asked by the painter. He never thought of himself in that moment. This confirms that the noona was lying in the study, and she was well aware of that. She definitely knew that the main lead had been the victim of physical abuse. Here, he was dragged by a black guard.
At the same time, during that night Baek Na-Kyum never saw Yoon Seungho as hero, because he only saw the violence used against Deok-Jae. He only felt concern for the jealous servant, he didn’t want the man to die by Yoon Seungho’s hands. (chapter 53) This explicates why Baek Na-Kyum couldn’t recognize the lord’s love in the end. The violence had blinded him, exactly like Heena noona had been blinded by her own prejudices. She was lumping the teenager Yoon Seungho under the same comb than the nobles. However, I would like to point out that her testimony represented a distorted memory. Why? It is because that way, she was justifying her inaction. Here, the person threatened and abused was not the noona, but the child Seungho recognizable with his hanbok. Under this approach, the manhwaphiles can grasp why she is not mentioning the helping hand in that scene, the black guard. (chapter 68) This is important, because in chapter 53, it was the commoner Deok-Jae who had acted like Heena’s description: (chapter 53) He had been insulting the painter and showed no mercy. Through this contrast, the readers can detect the kisaeng’s manipulations. It becomes even more obvious, when you add this scene from season 3. (chapter 99) We don’t just see nobles frequenting the kisaeng house, but also commoners! Heena’s statement gives the impression that only nobles are going there. This exposes Heena’s biased perception. To sum up, the kisaeng and the painter were blinded, though the latter had been influenced by the noona’s doctrines. This explicates why Baek Na-Kyum was in denial in the end and saw the lord’s love as a lie. Furthermore, this signifies that the artist experienced the opposite from what Heena noona is describing to Baek Na-Kyum: (chapter 68). In truth, the artist mistook love for fear. Note that in each confession, the low-born expresses a certain fear, while in truth his heart is already racing for Yoon Seungho out of desire and affection. In chapter 41, he explains that his heart is pounding due to fear and in chapter 49, he chose to reject the lord’s hug as a genuine embrace and decided to just admit his physical attraction. Since the lord had always been brutal, Baek Na-Kyum could never truly distinguish the cause for his heart pounding. And with this observation, it becomes obvious that the low-born was never in love with his teacher romantically, as he had never felt any heart racing for him. From my point of view, Heena noona was the one who mistook affection for fear. That’s the reason why she never saw the noble’s hypocrisy and cowardice. According to my latest theory, she is suffering from sex phobia [For more read the essay “Arrogant, filthy and lying nobles 🏯”]. But I am also suspecting that pride could have played a role as well.
But there was another hero during that night, Baek Na-Kyum, the low noble’s reflection. (chapter 53) He protected Deok-Jae from the noble’s violence (condition 1: Acting voluntarily for the service of others who are in need)), risked his own life (condition 3) and never receive any reward or gratefulness, in fact he never expected anything from the vicious man and the main lead. (condition 2: Performing actions without any expectation of reward or external gain). He even embraced the noble and his hug was totally genuine which the main lead sensed. (chapter 53) Because the former was strong, brave, courageous, convicted, determined, morally integer, helpful, selfless, ready for self-sacrifice and honest, the powerful aristocrat could only be moved by his action. This explains why Yoon Seungho chose to remove the headband from the low-born, the latter had acted like a noble person, he was a source of inspiration. (chapter 53) And with this new approach, I believe that when Min mocked the lord by calling Baek Na-Kyum a low-born (chapter 54), the main lead punched Black Heart, because he was actually protecting the painter’s name and honor. He no longer felt embarrassed to love such a person, Baek Na-Kyum was a true hero in his eyes. And now you understand why Yoon Seungho felt truly rejected, when Baek Na-Kyum called the lord’s love a lie. Sure, he asked for an explanation before (chapter 54), yet since the lord was acting under the influence of his heart, he couldn’t voice his thoughts and feelings properly. Besides, before reaching the study, he had been denying his feelings too. (chapter 53) The painter’s question was pushing the lord to admit his affection. However, because he had been in denial, the painter mirrored his attitude. (chapter 54) He claimed that this was not true. He had many reasons to think so. The noble had kept his distance from him for one week. Secondly, the lord’s hesitation and silence could only reinforce this interpretation. (chapter 54) Yoon Seungho was left speechless, because he was cornered. Since the artist was denying his protective actions, then he had no reason not to offer him to his guests. He felt rejected, especially when he saw the painter’s gaze: he could only glimpse “fear and denial” and not love. (chapter 54) He had thought that Baek Na-Kyum had hugged him out of concern and affection, yet he saw that he had misjudged the situation. And now, you understand why after that night, Yoon Seungho decided to confess with the expectation that the low-born would leave. He was able to grasp why Baek Na-Kyum was rejecting him. He feared him and Yoon Seungho had almost hurt him, he was not a real hero, like Baek Na-Kyum. In his eyes, he was actually the opposite: a violent beast hurting others. Therefore in his mind, if he confessed, the artist would get scared and run away. Yet, this didn’t happen which caught him by surprise.
Consequently, we have to imagine that during that night at the physician’s home, Yoon Seungho chose to confess properly, but the readers never got to hear his real confession. And here, I would like to thank Luzy one more time. She was the one who caught this detail: (chapter 68) When did the noble say that he adores Baek Na-Kyum? And remember that we have a flashback of that night from Yoon Seungho’s perspective: And this panel (chapter 62) made me realize that this could be the moment the lord chose to declare that he adores the painter. In this picture, the manhwaphiles have the impression that Baek Na-Kyum is whispering something to the lord, yet there’s no speech bulb and not even a moan. And since the painter is a reflection of the aristocrat, then this signifies that Yoon Seungho could have been whispering these words “I adore you”, especially after getting fully embraced by the low-born. Moreover, he experienced the heart pounding of Baek Na-Kyum (chapter 62) so that he felt compelled to reveal his adoration. However, despite the confession, Baek Na-Kyum was still in denial. And now, you can better grasp why Yoon Seungho was enraged afterwards and felt betrayed. He had confessed properly this time, and the commoner abandoned him for real, or better said, that’s what he envisioned. We have another evidence that Yoon Seungho declared not only his defeat, but his deep affection: (chapter 62) As you can observe, Yoon Seungho is also connecting love to fear, but in a different way. He was always afraid of admitting his love out of fear to be abandoned. And when he did it, the artist left him behind in his eyes. His nightmare came true, until he discovered that he had misjudged the whole situation. This repetition of misunderstanding proves me that chapter 68 is a reflection of the scene in the study from episode 53-54.
But now, if you pay attention to the chapter 68, you’ll observe that Baek Na-Kyum is still scared to admit his love for Yoon Seungho. He is definitely not brave here. That’s the reason why Byeonduck drew the commoner without eyes. He is refusing to face his own feelings. (chapter 68) First, he uses the scholar as his legitimation for his stay at the mansion. (chapter 68) Then when Heena noona pressures more the painter, the latter gives other justifications, like f. ex. the lord treats him well (chapter 68). Surprising is that he is actually mentioning others to legitimate his stay: the scholar, the master of the mansion (chapter 68) and “everyone” (chapter 68). But Heena noona can’t accept these excuses and forces him to confess his affection. However, even when he admits his feelings, he gives the impression that he is doing it against his will. (chapter 68) He portrays the main lead in a negative light (chapter 68) and observe that he is using the truth for his allegations. Yet, in my opinion, he is doing the same thing than Kim in the end. He is trying to put the whole responsibility on the lonely aristocrat. But what is the truth? Yoon Seungho might have dragged and mistreated the painter, but he also protected him and treated him with care, exactly like Baek Na-Kyum mentioned it first (“the lord is very good to me”). However, if the manhwaphiles look carefully at the artist’s second justification (chapter 68), they will notice that the commoner is just talking about the living conditions (a roof above his head and his art supplies). He doesn’t explain exactly how the main lead treated him well:
- when he was sick, a physician was called and Yoon Seungho paid for the expensive medicine,
- when the painter was sad and was longing for warmth and a hug, he tried to give him comfort,
- when he was hurt with the spoiled rice, he looked at his injury himself,
- he chose to eat with him and even gave his own meal to the painter,
- he bought Baek Na-Kyum warm clothes for the winter,
- and despite the huge betrayal and his agony, he made himself a bed for the painter and put some fire in the storage room, (chapter 62) (chapter 61)
This truly shows that truth and reality are far more complex than anything. Hence prejudices are not helping either. A commoner can also be violent and jealous, just like a noble can be tender and protective. Furthermore, reducing people to words like “rapist” or “psychopath” or “monster” or “racist” are not reflecting, how people truly are. A person shouldn’t be reduced to one action. Besides, like I explained, Kim and other people played a huge role in the lord’s brutal behavior. He made bad decisions, because people employed their knowledge about his weaknesses to trigger reactions in him. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that Yoon Seungho is innocent. My point is that the share of responsibility can’t be placed on only one person. And Baek Na-Kyum might have been a hero in chapter 53, yet in chapter 68 he can’t be considered as a hero. He was not willing to assume any responsibility for his feelings. He was still scared, too afraid of embracing such a powerful person. As a conclusion, Baek Na-Kyum is still not accepting his love for Yoon Seungho, but Heena noona was not able to convince him to leave the property either. That’s why at the end, she could only portray the main lead as a bad omen.
For me, Heena noona was replacing the vicious servant. Yet instead of abuse, she legitimated her intervention out of concern and love. In other words, she embodies the positive reflection of Deok-Jae. However she failed too in her tentative to convince the son and brother to follow her. And since the painter refuses to leave the study, there exists only one person who can make him leave the mansion: Yoon Seungho.
- Due to Kim’s words, Yoon Seungho is determined to allow Baek Na-Kyum to leave the property. He is giving up on his resolution: (chapter 63)
- This time, he won’t question Heena noona’s intervention contrary to chapter 53 (“Who do you think you are to put hands on him?”). He won’t chase her away, like he announced it so loudly in chapter 68.
- Kim manipulated Yoon Seungho by bringing up the past, therefore he mentioned his father. The manhwaphiles should remember that the latter had imprisoned the teenager (chapter 57), therefore Kim desired to push him to make the opposite decision. Since his father kept him captive, then Yoon Seungho should renounce on Baek Na-Kyum, because he doesn’t want to be like his own father. Kim knows Yoon Seungho’s good heart and wishes to utilize it to his own benefit.
That’s the reason why I believe that once Kim was caught in the act, Kim chose to use the painter not only to justify his disobedience (chapter 68), but also to push Yoon Seungho to accept the painter’s departure. This explicates why Yoon Seungho didn’t enter the study and waited for the kisaeng’s departure. (chapter 69) Don’t forget that in episode 68, we have Yoon Seungho getting dragged against his will. (chapter 68) Since in chapter 53/54, the lord showed his love by using violence in order to protect the painter, the latter couldn’t detect and accept the lord’s feelings. Thus it becomes comprehensible why the author selected passivity and silence for Yoon Seungho in chapter 68/69. He was doing the opposite from the night in episode 53/54! This is important, because that way, he let Baek Na-Kyum make a choice. That way, it was visible that the painter was willing to remain by his side. (chapter 68) At the same time, with this move, the main lead had cornered the artist. The latter could no longer use the lord as an excuse for his stay. By offering the painter the opportunity to leave, Yoon Seungho acts like a “hero” again. He helps Heena noona in the need (her desire to protect her adoptive son), he is expecting no reward, since he is giving up on the love of his life. Finally, he is risking his own life, because the moment he pushes the low-born away, it means that Yoon Seungho is giving up on his life. He has no longer a purpose to keep living. The artist was the only reason why he didn’t lose totally his sanity during that night (chapter 62-64). He reveals his selflessness in the purest form. However in season 2, it was not detectable, only through the mind’s eye. Yet, this interpretation was proven correct at the end of season 3. Once Yoon Seungho believed that his lover had died, he risked everything for his lover: his name and wealth. He no longer cared, for he had lost his reason to live. (chapter 102) So was he acting like a hero here?
- Acting voluntarily for the service of others who are in need, whether it is for an individual, a group, or a community
- Performing actions without any expectation of reward or external gain
- Recognition and acceptance of the potential risk or sacrifice made by taking heroic actions
Yes, because he saved the painter’s life. Don’t forget that he was alone against three. If he had spared them… they could have testified against him. Secondly, Min could have broken his promise once Yoon Seungho had showed mercy. (chapter 102) Black Heart had already stated this before: (chapter 102) Yoon Seungho had already stabbed lord Jang, therefore he could be punished for this action, even if he spared the aristocrats. In reality, there was only one solution for Yoon Seungho now: to kill them all. Why? Like mentioned above, Min would have backstabbed him. Moreover once arrested, the main lead wouldn’t have been able to protect Baek Na-Kyum. The latter would have ended in Min’s hands. Nonetheless, the lord was not acting rationally during this night. He was guided by his emotions exactly like in chapter 53/54. The only difference is that he was acting like a cold-blooded killer. The rage and pain were only palpable in his gaze. (chapter 102) The irony is that the Joker had reproached this to the main figure in chapter 53: (chapter 53) He had been a killjoy, for he had showed mercy! As you can see, Black Heart’s words came back to bite him. (chapter 102) He didn’t stop, because Min asked him to. The gods were showing to Min the cruel reality: violence is not a game! And the painter’s soul and heart got spared during that night. Since he was unconscious, he never saw the bloodbath. The goddess showed mercy to the pure artist. He was rewarded for his bravery and good heart. He had remained loyal to his lover. He never believed in the manipulations of the schemers or gave in to the perpetrators. He resisted till the end to the point that he risked his own life too. Just like his lover, he was a hero. (chapter 102) And this brings me to the following observation: Heena described the nobles as violent and arrogant liars, but she occulted the reasons why a lord would employ violence and deceptions. Yoon Seungho didn’t become ruthless, because he likes brutality. He was forced to, and it is the same with the lie! There is no ambiguity that Yoon Seungho and Baek Na-Kyum will have to lie concerning the bloodbath. It will be a new version of this scene: (chapter 11) He lied in order to protect the learned sir! He took even responsibility for the crime. Both have to lie in order to protect each other.
This is important, because lie also stood in the center of that fateful night. (chapter 53) (chapter 54) From my point of view, the lord’s rescue in chapter 53 left a deep impression on the painter. This is no coincidence that during the kidnapping. Baek Na-Kyum screamed for Yoon Seungho’s help. (chapter 60) He was hoping for his arrival. He was already considering him as his lord and knight in shining armor. And at the end of season 3, the painter hoped the same! (chapter 99) Yoon Seungho was his hero and protector. It is because the painter had perceived the noble’s true personality. He was humble, generous, but more importantly, he was a man of honor. He would keep his promises!
As you can see, their courage reflected the deepness of their mutual affection. In other words, fear and love can be compatible! Out of fear for the loved one, they will do anything. This stands in opposition to the kisaeng’s statement: (chapter 68) This new perception reinforces my judgement about Heena. During that night, the kisaeng was definitely no hero. (chapter 68)
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