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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The final words in the essay called “A thousand thoughts swept through my mind till sunrise” were the following:
“I believe to see here another clue for my prediction that the next chapters will contain elements from chapter 26 (the bath), 36 (the head-maid and the fellatio), 46 (the maid talking to Baek Na-Kyum), 56 (the wet dream and the bathroom) and 66 (the dream). Striking is that all the episodes I mentioned are ending with a 6!! The most incredible is that the symbolic meaning of six are harmony, balance, sincerity, love, and truth.”
Therefore imagine my surprise, when I read the chapter 70. My prediction turned out to be quite accurate, for elements from the chapters ending with a 6 were indeed present. Yet the only difference is that I didn’t include the episode 16. This signifies that my conclusion remains unchanged: the interaction between Yoon Seungho and Baek Na-Kyum in the bathroom stands under the sign of truth, harmony, honesty and love. No wonder that all the readers were very satisfied with the new chapter.
What caught my attention is that the episodes 16, 36, 46, 56 and 66 have one common denominator, which I didn’t recognize first: pranks. In episode 16, we witness how the lord is playing with the headband. He is not only playful, but also flirtatious. Note how he puts the headband on the main lead giving him a seductive allure. At the same time, he acts like an innocent teenager who keeps asking questions: Yet, the topic is actually about sex, which contrasts so much to purity and innocence. It was, as if Yoon Seungho was behaving like a teenager discovering sexuality for the first time. While talking, he can’t even help himself smiling. Striking is that his joke and words are used to woo the painter. He keeps getting closer and closer to Baek Na-Kyum, so that his head approaches the painter’s, before his hand starts touching his leg. As you can detect, the scene in episode 16 is a combination of seduction and frivolity. He is so happy to be by the painter’s side, hence he is talkative. He desires to have a real conversation with the painter. On the other hand, since the topic of the conversation is revolving around sexuality, it explains why Yoon Seungho is tempting the painter. And we have a similar situation in chapter 70. Therefore there exist so many similarities between these two episodes, which I will now list:
- the almost kiss (chapter 16) versus (chapter 70)
- A prank: (chapter 16) (chapter 70)
- The master’s smile: (chapter 16) (chapter 70)
- Two rejections: The silence from Baek Na-Kyum who never answers to the questions from Yoon Seungho, until he is cornered and (chapter 16) versus the removal from his hand and (chapter 70)
- The painter’s angry reaction: (chapter 16)
- The lord’s pouting face: (chapter 16) versus (chapter 70)
- The painter’s head down: (chapter 16) (chapter 70)
The problem is that in chapter 16, the low-born couldn’t value the joke and perceive the lord’s playful personality, as the former was busy fighting against his arousal. He wasn’t immune at all to the lord’s seduction. That’s why we also have a pouty face from the painter in episode 16. And here, we can detect the first huge difference between these two episodes. Because the artist is no longer denying his homosexuality, and as such he has finally dropped the scholar’s doctrines, he is able to perceive the aristocrat’s true personality. He is indeed moved, when he sees Yoon Seungho smiling after playing his prank. He blushes so much that he feels the need to hide his face, hence he lowers his head, while in chapter 16, he had his head down because of shame. He desired to cover his pleasure out of guilt. He was definitely struggling internally. In chapter 70, the artist is more scared of his own feelings for Yoon Seungho.
The other divergence is Baek Na-Kyum’s attitude. This time, he is no longer silent. He talks back, when he hears the main lead calling his sister a wench. He requests respect from the lord. He is confident in his words and behavior. He even gives further explications. Moreover, he is no longer using fake excuses, unlike in the past. He rejects the lord’s suggestion (taking a bath together) clearly and directly without displaying any disrespect. When the lord keeps pressuring him, his justification sounds reasonable.
This explicates why for the second time the manhwaphiles are witnessing a real and honest conversation between the two protagonists. The first time it happened, it was in the bathroom as well, (chapter 26). Yet back then both were driven by negative emotions (anger and sadness) due to their wounds. However, this time it is different. They are both calm and very careful. The two are determined to treat each other with respect. (Chapter 70) In other words, the bathroom is the place where the main leads can be honest to themselves, hence they are genuine to their counterpart. This is no coincidence that the painter was indeed touched, when he reminisced the lord cleaning him. (chapter 59) In this place, there is no rule or social class separating them, they are equal. In the washroom, there’s only purity symbolized by water. I would conclude that they are truly naked physically and mentally. That’s why they can only be honest to themselves and in front of each other.
Another huge contrast between chapter 16 and 70 is the lord’s eloquence. While he mastered the conversation in chapter 16, he reveals his inability to speak properly in episode 70. How do we explain this contradiction? The answer is quite simple. Let’s not forget that in the previous episode, the noble was talking about sex. For he was living like a “man consumed by lust”, his vocabulary was quite rich in that area due to his experiences. However, since he has never had a real partner he could converse with, his true eloquence suffered a lot due to neglect. At the same time, it reveals that his social skills have been overlooked for so long too. This explicates why he has no idea how to convey his thoughts and feelings properly. Besides, the manhwaphiles should recall that the noble had avoided to feel anything and analyze any emotion for so long, hence he still has troubles to voice these. That’s why he keeps calling the kisaeng “that wench” not realizing that he is insulting the low-born’s relative. Nevertheless, in this scene, the noble has no intention to offend anyone, that’s why he is caught by surprise, when the painter retorts that he should mention her differently. His facial expression oozes naivety and shock. He didn’t pay attention to the idiom (“wench”), as all his thoughts were revolving about the painter’s happiness. He just desired to know if he had succeeded: (chapter 63: this is the master’s biggest wish) Astonishing is that the painter is not outraged by the lord’s words, as he has already sensed the lord’s true attention: the artist’s happiness. Carefully, Baek Na-Kyum corrects his master and starts describing his relationship with Heena. Consequently, the lord considers it as a good sign. Their bond has not been too damaged. Despite his mistake, the low-born is interacting with him. That’s why he takes the painter’s hand. He has the impression that the artist is opening up, hence he starts conveying his own thoughts too. The problem is that when he says this , he makes a huge mistake again. However, his words cause the painter to remember how the lord treated him in that room (chapter 66). The artist has no idea that Yoon Seungho is referring to the flashback. (chapter 66) Nonetheless, due to his mistake, Baek Na-Kyum retrieves his hand. The reality is that Yoon Seungho was attempting to show his concern and his remorse. Unfortunately, he chose the wrong diction, thereby his thoughts were not expressed properly. Moreover, I would like the readers to keep in mind that the lord has never apologized before. First, as a noble, he was never asked to apologize to a commoner. Secondly, it is related to his own trauma. The main lead associates the apology to fakeness and hypocrisy due to the butler, who keeps repeating these words (chapter 25) (chapter 65). Besides, the painter also apologized once, and back then, he was not really sincere too. (Chapter 11) This explicates that he misjudged the painter’s apology in chapter 62. Moreover, exactly like in episode 11, the painter had selected silence over giving a proper explanation. As you can see, silence was another reason why the couple had such huge issues in the past. It generated doubts and increased insecurities. However, in chapter 70, silence is barely present. (Chapter 70) Both are communicating verbally in all sincerity. In other words, this panel represents the first step for the lord to apologize. Nonetheless he has to learn how to convey his regret perfectly. Hence this is understandable that we can’t expect him to voice this apology yet. As a conclusion, his poor social skills and lack of articulation mirror Yoon Seungho’s true personality.
The powerful noble detects the change in the painter’s behavior, the latter acts exactly like in the beginning (chapter 5, 8, 11, 16). He speaks his own mind now without being disrespectful. This encourage the lord to step up the game. Even if he made a mistake, the artist forgave him. Yet there’s no doubt that the lord must have felt a little insecure before confessing his true thoughts. Therefore Yoon Seungho takes the painter’s hand and touches the fingers very tenderly. In my opinion, the skinship serves as support. The master is not just wooing the low-born, but also he desires to voice his emotions. He would like to expose his concern and affection, yet like I exposed above, he fails due to the wrong selection.
What caught my attention is that unlike in chapter 16, the noble tries to determine the reason for the artist’s rejection. (Chapter 70) Imagine, before he never showed any interest why the commoner refused to paint for him. (chapter 1) This exposes the huge transformation of Yoon Seungho. Now, he would like to be judged differently. He has already realized that he will never achieve his goal (being loved), if he is still full of insecurities and self-hatred. Nonetheless, his selfishness is still present in the bathroom, because he can’t bear being pushed away again. This interpretation is exposed with the number of white candles. Note that on the lord’s side, there are just 2, while on the painter’s side the beholder can count three. The number 3 symbolizes harmony, completion and wisdom. This observation leads me to the deduction, the aristocrat’s transformation is not completed yet. This explains why he plays a trick by dragging him into the tub. The prank is the perfect solution in order to pursue his dream without becoming forceful or frightening. Moreover, note that he refuses to act like a master by giving him an order. From my point of view, the noble’s tone has changed. Not only his gaze but also his gestures have already softened.
Moreover, both keep looking at each other during this conversation, whereas in the episode 16 there was no eye contact. Only the lord was looking at the painter, (chapter 16) while the commoner’s gaze was fixated on the drawing as an excuse, until he was forced to look at him.
As a conclusion, for the first time both protagonists are following the 10 golden rules of communication:
- Be warm and attentive
- Show you are listening
- Check understanding
- Be slow to pass judgement
- Use silence appropriately
- Convey messages in a clear and effective manner
- Use clear and unambiguous language
- Use non-verbal methods of communication
- Use repetition The caress serves as a mean to confess his love towards the artist.
- Check understanding quoted from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hide-and-seek/201207/the-10-golden-rules-communication
From my perspective, the prank played a huge role in truly breaking the ice between the main characters. Because he didn’t succeed to reveal his own thoughts and emotions properly, he had to find a new approach. That’s why he suggested the bath. In his mind, if the artist recognized that they were just two naked bodies, the distance between them would vanish. This means, that the moment the painter decided to stay at the mansion, the lord’s second dream (“to share what’s on their mind”) got revived. He was once again full of hope, that’s why he felt the need to touch the painter. He wanted to share his feelings and thoughts. Unfortunately, the low-born rejected the offer, which is also comprehensible. We have to imagine that with this proposition, he could just intimidate the commoner. If the latter had to undress himself, in Baek Na-Kyum’s eyes, there was a high chance that the noble would have asked for a physical intimacy… and we shouldn’t forget that he had just experienced a rough sex marathon the night before. Therefore he couldn’t accept the suggestion. On the other hand, the lord couldn’t stand a rejection either. That’s why he had a pouting face. And just like a child, he decides to play a prank. The painter might yell at Yoon Seungho, however there is no real resent. Besides, contrary to the past, he doesn’t say no, he just scolds the noble. That’s why his feelings switch quite quickly. Through the joke, the seriousness has literally vanished. At the same time, the readers are finally able to witness the noble’s genuine laugh: I believe that for the first time, the low-born is able to detect a new side from the aristocrat. Imagine that the artist could not only make the noble laugh, but also smile. That’s why the painter can no longer reject the lord, as his fear is slowly disintegrating. Note that he doesn’t reject the kiss from the aristocrat. What I love in this panel is that the lord’s eyes are closed, illustrating his leap of faith. He chose to trust the artist blindly. Simultaneously, the manhwaphiles can detect a certain shyness in Yoon Seungho. His ear is red exposing the slow rebirth of the protagonist.
Another contradiction between the chapters 16 and 70 is that the seduction is not focused on sex, but on love. This signifies that the “corruption” from episode 16 has disappeared. We are truly witnessing a scene exuding pure affection and warmth. He is here courting the painter, hence there’s no real sexual desire in the tub. The skinship is full of sensuality and tenderness: a caress, a kiss and the beginning of an embrace. The master’s second wish is gradually coming true. The lord is putting his guard down for real in chapter 70. That’s why he is completely naked: he has no green robe and no headgear as well. He has finally become a real human. He is no longer a ghost or vengeful spirit, only an innocent teenager discovering real love for the first time, whereas in chapter 16, he was behaving as if sexuality was quite new.
But since my topic is “prank”, I would like to point out that the main lead played another prank in chapter 36 exposing his cheerful personality. Nevertheless, back then, there was only silence, because the butler had warned the artist not to irritate the main lead. According to him, he was in a bad mood, which was untrue. (Chapter 36) The noble had regained hope due to the painter’s genuine reactions (his shyness, blushing and his mention about the painting). And this truly exposes the valet’s evilness in the end. He made sure that both wouldn’t get close in reality by hindering a real conversation. For that, he utilized sex. That’s why he let the painter drink an aphrodisiac. He knew that the moment, the lord would notice the erection, the main lead would be attempted to have sex. For me, there’s no doubt that Kim made sure that the lord’s deepest wish wouldn’t come true: an exchange of thoughts, a real intimacy. This explicates why the prank played by the noble failed in this scene. (Chapter 36) With this joke, he wanted to initiate a conversation, but unfortunately he saw the erection. Yet, the valet’s trick didn’t work completely either. Note that during that night, there was no sexual intercourse, just a fellatio. We shouldn’t forget that during that day, the painter was still feverish which the noble had noticed. So envision what would have happened, if the lord had engaged a second sex marathon. Therefore, I believe that in chapter 70, the valet is hoping that the noble will behave like the previous night, so that the painter’s health condition deteriorates more, or the artist gets scared and changes his mind to leave the mansion.
However, let’s return our attention to the joke played by the main lead. The “prank” helped him not only to shorten the gap between them, but to externalize his thoughts more accurately. Note that right after laughing and smiling, he is able to express himself more properly.
After playing the joke, he is truly more relaxed, yet there is a certain timidity as well, for he tries to hide his laughing face and smile. Initially, he has his head down and later he even puts his hand in front of his mouth. I have to admit that his smile followed by this gesture affected me the same way than the painter. He is definitely seductive and charming here. And now you comprehend why the artist reacts the opposite from chapter 16. He doesn’t say no or runs away. He remains immobile listening carefully to the lord’s words and sensing his caress on his chin and lips. The words accompanied with nonverbal communication are finally reaching the low-born’s heart and mind. He finally realizes the truth in the lord’s confession. This leads me to the conclusion that Kim’s plan is not going to work again. There won’t be any sex during the next night, but a new physical intimacy: (chapter 38) (chapter 50): caresses, embrace and kisses, the symbol of harmony, love and sincerity.
After comparing both episodes, the readers realize the importance of the joke made by the main lead. However, in my introduction, I had explained that all the chapters ending with a 6 contained pranks. We shouldn’t forget that some people are justifying their misdeed by downplaying it. Remember that in chapter 47, Deok-Jae defended himself (chapter 47) by saying that he had just made a prank. But now, you will wonder where there was a prank in chapter 46, 56 and 66.
- chapter 46: (Chapter 46) Deok-Jae destroyed the painter’s snowmen. There is no doubt that he would have replied the same, if he had to answer for his behavior.
- chapter 56: Jihwa faked a letter in lord Song’s name. (Chapter 56) He knew that this would hurt the noble, yet note that he felt no remorse and blamed his childhood friend. However, like I pointed out, he was impersonating a person. If asked, the childhood friend would have used a similar excuse. That’s why Yoon Seungho answers in a quite similar way: he calls him “lord song”. However, he pushes him.
- chapter 66: When Jihwa revealed the abduction (chapter 66) , he implied with his words that Jihwa played just a prank, since the painter returned alive. Yoon Seungho shouldn’t just get angry, because it was just a joke. As you can observe, all the misdeeds are reduced to a joke. It was, as though they had done nothing wrong. However, the intention is definitely different: the perpetrators intended to hurt the protagonists. And this is not surprising that the chapter 36 contains both pranks: Kim drugged the painter against his will, while the joke from the noble was harmless. And in my opinion, the episode 70 contains both pranks as well. Kim was the one who sent the painter to the aristocrat. Why do I believe this? The reason is quite simple: the servant leading the painter to the bathroom is portrayed with no eye (chapter 70) and is carrying a lamp similar to Kim’s (chapter 36). And remember that this chapter is a new version of chapter 36. In that episode, the valet was the one who brought the artist to the lord’s chamber. Moreover, the way the door is shut clearly exposes a certain violence. (Chapter 70) Besides, the domestic is also urging the painter to join the bathroom. From my point of view, the domestic wants to make sure that the artist arrives, before the lord leaves the bathroom. Moreover, the lord’s expression in beginning is not quite welcoming. So I am more inclined to think that Yoon Seungho didn’t plan it that way. And remember my explanation after the first sex marathon. The butler had placed the painter in the lord’s bed (chapter 33) (chapter 34) in order to incite the latter to have sex with the commoner. Imagine, he had just regained consciousness, therefore this trick could have cost the artist’s life. And we shouldn’t forget, the butler witnessed the second sex marathon. He even viewed the flashback from the painter. Therefore in my opinion, the butler is hoping with his “prank” that the lord will act like the previous night. Furthermore, I would like to point out the presence of domestics in chapter 16 and 36. We have Deok-Jae who spied on the couple and manipulated the butler to open the door [theory confirmed by the author herself]. Then during that evening (chapter 36-37), Kim tried to stop Yoon Seungwon from entering the room. (Chapter 37) Hence this means, he was paying attention to what was happening in the bedchamber. What caught my attention are the following panels: Why did the author show the window or door?
Since there’s no coincidence, this indicates that a servant is spying on them, listening to their conversation. Why? It is because the next prank is already planned: (chapter 69) Since Kim got caught disobeying his master, he needs to lie low. On the other hand, he needs to be updated. That’s why he is now using other servants as his spies. There’s no ambiguity that the servants, manipulated by the butler, must resent the low-born. He caused them another trouble. But the reality is that these tricks are no jokes but crimes. That’s why I feel that after the second abduction, there will be a purge among the staff. The ones who followed the butler’s instructions will definitely suffer. (Chapter 69)
And this outlines that Yoon Seungho has a different personality from them. He is never diminishing his wrongdoings, and his pranks are real ones. The problem is that he can’t remain as an innocent child, since he told the painter, he would become responsible for him. As an adult and lord, he should be able to protect his loved one and anticipate his enemies’ moves. At the same time, each “prank” organized by the butler, Min and Jihwa always backfired on them and brought the protagonists even closer to each other. That’s why this is not surprising that all the pranks are connected to the number “6”, because this number signifies harmony, love and sincerity. The villains helped the relationship between Yoon Seungho and Baek Na-Kyum to improve.
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