Painter Of The Night: How strange…🤔🧐 (second version)

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/

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I have to admit that when I read the chapter 50 for the first time, I was quite confused. Why would Yoon Seungho rush to the teacher’s bedchamber with a sword? Why would he comment „How strange…” at the end? (chapter 50) I tried to find answers by speculating. However, my assumptions were totally wrong due to the lack of information. Only time and new chapters helped me to understand the story much better. Thereby I could better anticipate its progression, and comprehend the reasons for the characters’ actions. Due to the constant examination, I made the following observations:

  • The story keeps repeating itself, as it is constructed like a kaleidoscope, hence we always have reflections in the characters’ words and behavior.
  • Each incident happens twice: two door incidents (16; 43); two sex sessions at the pavilion, two slaps; the incident with the sword/knife (1, 18: two servants are stabbed/26, 35) etc.
  • Each action from Yoon Seungho will be copied by the painter, or it is the reverse: Yoon Seungho caresses Baek Na-Kyum‘s cheek (18, 50), the artist reciprocates the same gesture (55, 59). What caught my attention is that each stroke on the cheek was never truly perceived by the recipient. The protagonist was either sleeping or too shocked by an incident, so that they couldn’t detect the gesture. They missed the genuineness and warmth coming from the other protagonist.
  • All the characters have reflections with others: Jihwa versus Baek Na-Kyum, Heena noona versus father Yoon; Nameless versus Kim; Jung In-Hun versus Kim but also Min and father Yoon, Baek Na-Kyum versus Kim etc. The latter is also a water element, exactly like the artist. Therefore he is often seen with a bucket of water (chapter 33) (chapter 56), and there’s always a drop of sweat on his face. However, if you pay attention, you’ll notice that the valet is never seen washing. He carries the bucket around, and that’s it, which stands in opposition to Baek Na-Kyum. The latter cleans his own underwear, but also the protagonist’s face (chapter 55).  

Yet I still had no idea what truly triggered Yoon Seungho’s anger and frustration in chapter 50. And then, while analyzing the chapter 16 in connection with the essay entitled “Desires and communication”, I made this discovery: Yoon Seungho used the same expression there: (chapter 16) Here, he was wondering how the painter was able to create the painting, while he didn’t seem to look at them the whole time. What caught my attention are two elements:

  1. The painter was actually watching, without giving the impression, he did. Yoon Seungho’s words imply a certain deception.
  2. Simultaneously, they outline a contradiction. He was not looking, yet he could recreate the position perfectly.

The noble didn’t realize that during the sex session, Jihwa described the scene to attract his friend’s attention. That’s the reasony why the artist could create the painting, as he listened to the aristocrat’s words. In other words, he was spying on them by listening to their conversation. Since there is the same expression in chapter 50, this means that the latter is a reflection of chapter 16. The manhwaphiles should remember that we have a sex session during that night. (chapter 49) The painter expressed his thoughts: he only saw the noble as a sex toy, the main lead was the one who should give pleasure to Baek Na-Kyum. Yet despite the hurt, Yoon Seungho was willing to accept this situation. They would no longer exchange their thoughts and emotions. He was already lowering his expectations. At the same time, he couldn’t help caring for the low-born. He caressed his cheek and kissed him gently at the end. (chapter 50)

Since I explained that the expression “how strange…” was connected to deception, contradiction and spying, I recognized that something similar must have happened during that night (chapter 50). Besides, we also have a time jump. Suddenly, there’s morning, and the lord has rushed to the scholar’s room with a sword. (chapter 50) And this scene reminded me of the main lead running to the scholar’s room in chapter 28/29, after witnessing the artist’s desertion. There was a time jump as well. Therefore I came to the conclusion that the night in chapter 48-49-50 has the same importance than the night with the forced sex and fellatio. This explicates why the lord has a sword again. Back then, he took the weapon due to his jealousy, hence we can definitely conclude that he is angered again due to the return of his jealousy. So chapter 50 was not only a reflection of the episode 16, but also of the episode 28-29.

Because of the connection with the painter’s escape and the incident with the opened door (chapter 16), I couldn’t help myself linking the chapter 50 to Kim and his actions in the shadow. Like I have already pointed out, Kim was observing the event of the night (25-26-27-28) in order to ensure that the protagonist wouldn’t cause too much trouble. Moreover, the manhwalovers should recall that he played a huge role in the low-born’s escape. While Deok-Jae informed Baek Na-Kyum about the scholar’s whereabouts, we have to imagine that the teacher must have talked to the butler about the destination of his trip. Jung In-Hun will always choose to talk a domestic closer to the master than to a simple guardian. Besides, Kim was the one who brought him to his room and the library (chapter 7). Therefore I am quite certain that Jung In-Hun must have mentioned to the valet where he was going. Consequently, I came to the following observation: the butler must have monitored Yoon Seungho and Baek Na-Kyum during that night (chapter 48-49).

From my point of view, Kim was standing behind the door, and he must have heard the low-born’s words.(chapter 49) , reminding us of the “spying” in chapter 16 (listening to their conversation). Because the confession gave the commoner the upper hand in the relationship, and the main lead had not protested, this meant that Baek Na-Kyum was getting closer to Yoon Seungho. He was almost on the verge of becoming the official partner, while the protagonist was resigning to his fate: he would never be able to converse with the artist. Since I demonstrated that the butler was spying on them in chapter 58 (chapter 58), as the presence of the butler is perceptible through the bucket of hot water and the readers can hear the low-born’s moaning, we have another clue that the valet was listening to their conversation in chapter 50.

In my perspective, the butler had every reason to spy on them. First, the invitation to share his meal with the artist was already announcing that the latter was getting more and more favored to the point that he was almost treated as the noble’s official partner. And now, you understand why Kim revealed the incident between Jung In-Hun and Baek Na-Kyum the next morning. He needed to separate the couple, and he used lie by omission and truth in order to achieve his goal. But this doesn’t explain why Yoon Seungho who was tender and humble during the night became a wounded fury the next morning. The hanbok clearly indicates that the protagonist’s heart is bleeding. (chapter 50) What had triggered his fury and jealousy?

For we have another incident with the sword in the first season (chapter 35), where Kim manipulated the master to witness a conversation between the teacher and his former pupil, in order to provoke his jealousy. We have to imagine that in chapter 50, the butler made a similar move. He let the main lead discover something reminding him of the painter’s love for Jung In-Hun. We have three possibilities: he let Yoon Seungho see

  • the scholar’s poem
  • or the picture of the teacher’s inauguration
  • Deok-Jae’s insult: Baek Na-Kyum was a whore so that Kim could bring up the conversation in the library

What caught my attention is this panel: (chapter 21). The paper in the book is very similar to the poem in chapter 4. Remember the theory I exposed in the essay “hypotheses about the second season”: Yoon Seungho had not returned the original poem, but given the artist his own poetry. So if he didn’t give back the scholar’s poem, then what did he do with it? I doubt that he would have kept it, hence I deduce that he must have asked his assistant to throw it away, exactly like the painter in chapter 44. However, Kim must have read it and kept it, well aware that this could be of use later. From my point of view, the butler must have entrusted it to the teacher with the hope that he would leave the mansion. And I can imagine that when Jung In-Hun left his room, he didn’t take it with him. That’s why it ended up again in the butler’s hand. However, if the lord discovered that the poem had not be thrown away, he would have realized that Kim had disobeyed him. That’s why I came to rule out the first possibility.

So what about the second possibility? Since the painting with the scholar appeared in two chapters during the first season (41-44), the readers should expect that this picture will be used twice during the second season. Because I already exposed that Heena noona recognized the painter’s presence due to the inauguration painting (chapter 65), it is definitely possible that Kim planted the picture in such a way that Yoon Seungho’s jealousy would get triggered, a new version of the panel from episode 41. Let’s not forget that the aristocrat was not present, when Baek Na-Kyum decided to discard the drawing. Kim was quite clever with this move. As he knew that the noble had now just a purely physical relationship, he could only get infuriated, when he saw the picture. He had already sensed the painter’s admiration in the drawing: the image oozes pure adoration and spiritual admiration, something Yoon Seungho has always been longing. Hence the noble could only get wounded with this terrible experience. I can imagine that Kim could have praised the picture in front of his master (a new version of chapter 44), then added that Baek Na-Kyum had trusted him with the picture to give to Jung In-Hun. Kim hoped with this intervention not only to separate the couple, but even to have the painter killed by the main lead, a new version of chapter 35. But what he didn’t expect is that the noble would rush to the teacher’s room, and not to the study. However, his delay could be explained differently. He had been busy giving the sentence to Deok-Jae, the straw mat beating. And this leads me to the following observation: denunciation. In chapter 28, Deok-Jae covered up for Kim’s betrayal, for he hoped that Kim would come to protect him. (chapter 28) Observe that Deok-Jae’s treacherous action in chapter 47 (the spoiled rice) had not been exposed to the lord! Thus I am deducing that Kim must have tattled on Deok-Jae about the insult, and told to the vicious servant that Baek Na-Kyum had complained to his lover! He had denunciated him! This would also explain why Deok-Jae resented so much the painter later. (chapter 51) The man believed the butler, because he had not covered up for him about the prank with the spoiled rice. Finally, I discovered that this expression “how strange” was used by someone else: (chapter 37) It was the fake servant who had mentioned the purge! This means that someone had betrayed the Yoons, tattled on them! As a conclusion, the expression “how strange” is connected to denunciation and deception! I have two other evidences for this interpretation. Jihwa had also spoken like that, when he had heard from the amateur spy that his master had a change of heart! Here again, we have spying activities and denunciation. (chapter 13) Finally, observe that in season 3, Baek Na-Kyum is portrayed and stigmatized as a traitor. (chapter 91) The maid’s statement (“I’m surprised…”) truly exposes that the painter had such a reputation among the staff. The so-called treacherous nature of the painter served as a justification for Kim’s punishment. The butler’s kindness had been used against him. He had been sentenced to the straw mat beating, because he had allowed the noona to enter the mansion for the painter’s sake! In that scene, the maids had been tasked to leak a certain information to the couple: the existence of the kisaeng’s letters. That way, the painter could accuse his lover of his deception. He had kept away the letters from his noonas. However, the separation didn’t take place, because the painter didn’t hear the comment from the maid. He was no spy! (chapter 91) But Yoon Seungho is one, for he is the surrogate son of the butler… who listens to conversations in the shadow! (chapter 77) His presence was undetected in the courtyard, until Bongyong wounded the painter. Here, he came out of the shadow! (chapter 78)

Under this new light, it becomes now understandable why Kim decided to reveal the incident at the library to his master. (chapter 50) That way, he could separate the couple. Due to their last sex session, he had discovered that the protagonists were getting closer to each other. He made sure to utilize Yoon Seungho’s hatred for prostitution. And keep in mind observations with the comment “How strange…”: we had spying, deception, contradiction and denunciation. The spiritual love stands in opposition to prostitution.

And now it becomes more understandable why Yoon Seungho had a relapse. How strange is it that the moment he gets closer to the painter, he experiences a setback? No, it is, because there is someone interfering in his life. Kim was determined to sabotage their relationship, he didn’t want the painter to become the lord’s official partner. But what was his motivation? First, it was to preserve his own position, for he is the unofficial lord of the mansion. Secondly, he could justify his action by saying that he was helping the mysterious “lord Song”. The latter is supposed to be Yoon Seungho’s unofficial partner. That’s the reason why Kim kept calling Baek Na-Kyum a favored servant. The butler was hoping that this would fuel Deok-Jae’s jealousy and greed. At the same time, he hoped that Yoon Seungho would get tired of him. However, since time was not helping him, then he needed to take things into his own hands. Yet, for that he could only act in the shadow, exactly like in the terrible night during the first season. And now, the manhwalovers comprehend why there’s the return of the headband in chapter 52. The butler’s scolding in chapter 52 triggered the artist to act like a servant, whereas the butler didn’t consider him as a servant in chapter 23, another evidence for the valet’s hypocrisy.

And now if I examine the last panel again with this new approach, I come to a new interpretation: The lord’s real spirit has not been perceived by the painter yet, just his body, hence he is embodied by a shadow. This doesn’t really represent his true self. Besides, the lord is associated to a shadow, because he is the puppet of his own butler, who keeps working in the dark. At the same time, he is a shadow, for his fate is to learn from his surrogate father, Kim’s spying activities. He hears conversations behind the door (chapter 68) or the window. This is important, because that way, he is getting prepared to fight against his biggest opponent, lord Song who stands behind Kim. However, there exists one huge difference between Kim, Yoon Seungho and Baek Na-Kyum. The protagonists are no secret agents, they are both detectives. They want to understand their partner and their past, but since both were victims of crimes, this means that their role is unveil the truth so that both can get justice.

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3 thoughts on “Painter Of The Night: How strange…🤔🧐 (second version)

    1. Yes, I agree. For me, Nameless has now an interest to keep the painter alive, because if he dies, then he will be blamed for his death, exactly like Jihwa. It is not the same for Min and Kim, as their manipulations are not unveiled. Both are making sure that the buffoon and Jihwa will become the scapegoats.

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  1. Seungho comments on what he thought sending Inhun away: it wouldn’t be a bother to his relationship with Nakyum. However, this did not work because the damage had already been done. But his words attract attention, don’t you think? When he says “out of sight”, it is Kim’s words. I think Seungho thought that by acting like this, like the servant, shoving the trash under the rug, “lie low”, everything would be fine. He has reason to think so, since he considers Kim a wise man. But he begins to realize that the older man’s advice didn’t work out with Nakyumie. Seungho says “yet strangenly, he continues to offend”. I don’t think he can find a solution to his problem, he followed Kim’s advice, but it didn’t work because the painter was behaving like a prostitute and he was hurt by it. I think that at that point, Seungho is lost. Nothing he does works out with the painter (he remembers the painter sleeping), nothing attracts the painter’s attention, neither when he follows his instincts nor when he follows the butler’s advice. And in the end he gives up, his face is in a lot of pain. In my opinion Seungho comes to the conclusion that he cannot do anything, he has lost, he will never have the love of the artist, his heart bleeds, and reality hurts so much that he escapes, he falls into debauchery because that was what made things easy for him .

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