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/
When the lord was dressed with a hanbok with a pattern showing phoenixes, I realized that we would witness the lord’s spiritual death followed by his rebirth. However, I have to confess that I had no idea when it would occur. The only clue I had was that it was related to the low-born’s abduction and planned assassination. Striking is that Jihwa’s nightmare was actually announcing the lord’s spiritual death: (chapter 50). But if you pay attention, you’ll observe that in this terrible vision, there were two dead people: the painter and master Yoon. That’s why both characters had empty gaze. This means that in truth the manhwalovers would assist to two “spiritual deaths”, Baek Na-Kyum and Yoon Seungho’s. But wait… Only the aristocrat was wearing a hanbok with phoenixes, not the painter. But I am certain that the painterofthenight lovers will recall the robe the lord covered the commoner with in chapter 45: Baek Na-Kyum was linked to cranes. Therefore, this signified that the painter’s death would be different. Note that the artist’s head is bleeding just like his body indicating that there’ll be a real transformation. My explanation is that he is supposed to come back to life as a crane. This beautiful bird means good fortune, happiness and longevity. I am quite sure that my readers remember the analysis about the animals embodying the two protagonists. Back then, I had explained that the lamb represented Baek Na-Kyum perfectly: innocence and purity, but this animal is also associated to sacrifice and selflessness, because in Christianity, the lamb represents Christ as both suffering and triumphant. And now, you understand why Byeonduck made the painter suffer so much. Moreover, the artist is also associated to the butterfly and the latter is also a symbol for rebirth. My interpretation is that Baek Na-Kyum will transform into a crane, hence there’s blood on his head and body. He will get a new identity. Furthermore, I had elaborated that all nobles were represented by birds: Jihwa imagined himself as crane, while in reality he was a pheasant(chapter 41), Jung In-Hun was a peacock, Min a crow and finally Yoon Seungho a Phoenix (although in that essay I had imagined, Yoon Seungho was an eagle). And this final transformation occurs, when the lord calls him: The moment he is perceived as a noble, he becomes a crane.
With this new interpretation, I recognize that the main leads made a similar experience. I have already developed the theory that both protagonists mirror each other, hence they are so fascinated by each other and help each other. Therefore, if the lord is supposed to die spiritually, the artist has to go through a similar process. And it is time to ask ourselves, when their spiritual death happened? In my eyes, this was symbolized by the painter’s vision: (chapter 66) This was the new version of Jihwa’s nightmare. It looks like the lord is mourning the deceased. The black hanbok with a white collar resembles a lot to the clothes Koreans are wearing at a funeral: black with white stripes. Besides, if I add this panel, the readers will now understand why the noble felt this way. He was sitting next to the painter’s body fearing for his death, hence he was touching his hand . He waited, until he saw the artist opening his eyes for a brief instant. In that moment, the aristocrat recognized that the artist was coming back to life. That’s why he called his name. As you can see, the lord only left his side after making sure that his life was no longer in danger. That’s why the lord has no eye in this scene. That’s the moment the aristocrat dies spiritually. This is not surprising that this dream is framed with black. Moreover, it was, as if there was a black veil covering this vision. However, the protagonists’ death started much earlier, to be more precise, in Yoon Seungho’s bedchamber. Baek Na-Kyum had a flashback and was terrified, hence his gaze was so lost, which damaged so much his lover that the latter had a similar reaction. In my eyes, their empty gazes correspond to these empty eyes from Jihwa’s nightmare: (chapter 50). This explicates why the lord visited the culprit right after the artist’s “death”. At the same time, the lord’s presence was the trigger for Baek Na-Kyum to come back to life. He felt his presence, hence he was confused if what he saw in his vision was a dream or reality. In my eyes, this “dream” is important, as for the first time, his dream is less linked to desires and the future. It is strongly intertwined with the present. On the other hand, these terrible experiences made both main leads realize the importance of their lover in their life. While fearing for his death, Baek Na-Kyum remembered Yoon Seungho’s smile which made him scream for his help. The same occurred to the powerful noble, when he imagined that the painter would die. He thought, he would never be able to see the painter’s smile. There’s no doubt that first the aristocrat blamed himself, until Min revealed Jihwa’s crime. However, for Yoon Seungho, it was enough. Not only he hadn’t believed in his lover’s words, but also he had mistreated him. That’s why in the artist’s study, the lord died spiritually. Due to the gestures, the manhwaworms can feel the lord’s regret and heartache. Consequently the protagonist is holding the artist’s hand. He is admitting his failure as a lord, too blinded by his own emotions, the artist kept his word as requested, even if he was tormented. He showed courage and strength, but also loyalty and humbleness. Let’s not forget that the commoner had asked for forgiveness, although he had done nothing wrong at all. His apology was sincere, and the main character had misjudged it. There’s no ambiguity that while sitting next to Baek Na-Kyum, the noble realized the painter’s true personality. Hence this is not surprising that Yoon Seungho shows such a respect towards Baek Na-Kyum later. In my opinion, when the master arrived in his mansion, he wanted to send away the kisaeng for two reasons. He had seen how weak the painter was and feared that the kisaeng would drag her brother away. We shouldn’t forget how the kisaeng managed her way to reach Yoon Seungho’s bedroom, therefore in his mind, she would act the same way. Moreover, if the painter were to disappear, the noble would never be able to redeem himself. In my eyes, he wanted to make it up to him. However, once he stood in front of the study, he recognized that he couldn’t do like nothing had happened. He heard the artist’s confession which was linked to fear and a certain reluctance to face the lord and his own feelings. Moreover, he realized that he had to respect the painter’s wish, he let Baek Na-Kyum take his destiny in hand. In other words, the dream of the painter presented the lord’s future action and decision. This was his leap of faith, and as such it announced the Phoenix’ rebirth. The moment the master decided to give the commoner the freedom to choose his fate, the artist’s hand would follow his worshipper.
This explicates why Yoon Seungho is so intimidated by Heena, when the latter approaches him. His words might sound confident, yet if the beholders examine more closely these, they will note the presence of a question, exposing the aristocrat’s certain hesitation. The noble is definitely lacking self-confidence due to his recent “death”. But I have to admit that for me, the real rebirth happens in the bathroom. Why?
First, I can’t help myself connecting the bath to Christianity. The baptism is done with holy water. It is supposed to announce a new life as a Christian. Water symbolizes that all your sins are washed away. Your soul becomes pure again. And note that in the tub, the lord is acting very differently from the past. He doesn’t speak well, hence he makes some mistakes, exposing a certain shyness. Moreover, his gestures are so gentle and precise, because his armor melted away. Since water is associated to purification, it means that the bath represents the lord’s rebirth as a phoenix. But because the bird comes back from its own ashes, the animal returns in the form of a baby. That’s why the lord is so innocent and pure from chapter 70 on. First, he plays a prank in the tub. Then in the bedchamber, he decides to switch roles… (role play). Now Baek Na-Kyum is the powerful lord, while he is just his subordinate. Finally, when he sticks out his tongue, he looks and acts definitely like a playful child. This explicates why words can move him so deeply. At the same time, as a new born, this is not surprising that Yoon Seungho lacks maturity. Hence the painter has become the ultimate authority. Let’s not forget that Baek Na-Kyum transformed into a crane, which I associate to tranquility and wisdom. Just like his lover, he transformed into a crane in the tub. Water cleaned his heart and mind for good. This is not surprising that the artist is more mature than his lover. He had a different rebirth, as he reflected on his emotions and thoughts before the baptism. Thanks to Yoon Seungho’s teaching about critical thinking, the artist was able to free his heart and mind from the learned sir, and the baptism marked the final step.
But let’s return our attention to the phoenix. By submitting himself to “lord Na-Kyum”, the lord is implying that the commoner is now responsible for him. This is a new version of chapter 40: , nonetheless there are two huge differences. This time the lord has taken over the scholar’s position. The painter will be responsible for him, and the former will hope to be loved by the noble. This signifies that the phoenix will be able to shine thanks to Baek Na-Kyum. The latter will be Yoon Seungho’s good fortune, just like the lord has become the painter’s good fortune. A phoenix is a mystical and powerful bird, this explicates why the commoner could turn into a lord and as such into a crane.
Some readers wondered why the noble wouldn’t pay attention to the circumstances of the first abduction, and why he wouldn’t anticipate the enemies’ schemes. This is related to the aristocrat’s innocence. Right now, he is like a child, hence he is not focused on the future. As a child, Yoon Seungho is now living for the moment which I can totally understand. Until now, he had been living trapped in the past. With his rebirth, he was able to move on. Yet, he will realize that he needs to anticipate more and make concrete plans for the future, if he wants to protect his lover. However, I would like to point out that he has already prepared the ground. First, he created such a ruckus at the Lees that now, father Lee can no longer feign ignorance. If Jihwa commits another misdeed, then Yoon Seungho made it clear that father Lee will be held responsible for his son’s crime. The phoenix made it clear that out of respect for father Lee, he wouldn’t do more than create a scandal, yet this signifies that if there’s another incident, he won’t be respectful again. In my opinion, it already announces the purge.
As you can see, I perceive that Byeonduck used a lot of references to religion. We have the presence of water and the white bougies embodying knowledge and clarity of the mind. Finally we have an altar: The lord is kneeling in front of his deity, the crane, making amends due to his “sins”. That’s why I am more than ever convinced that Yoon Seungho will create either a painting or a poem for his “god” at some point exposing his love and admiration. He is already treasuring the artist’s tongue and hand, therefore I am expecting him to recognize the artist’s true intelligence. Remember that in the past, he used to call him a fool, from my point of view, he will realize his mistake. Baek Na-Kyum only received a single lesson about critical thinking and he applied it right away. Secondly, he never forgot his “lesson”, as he started reflecting about himself from chapter 46 on (“why”) and he never stopped it. This was particularly perceptible in chapter 70, when the artist remembered his past and realized that he had overcome his trauma caused by Jung In-Hun. Now, he is even applying this lesson concerning others He wants to know his lover’s motivation. Therefore, I come to the deduction that Baek Na-Kyum has matured so much that he will now be able to question the scholar’s words and actions. He won’t be able to be manipulated like in the past.
One of my readers proposed as a theory that the lord would get poisoned and the painter would decide to assume his responsibility as lord Na-Kyum, which would create a conflict between Kim and the artist. Now after examining the rebirth of the phoenix and the crane, I have to admit that her theory sounds more and more possible. Furthermore, this would announce that the painter would be able to defeat Kim and Min’s plan. Let’s not forget that in reality, Min is the painter’s enemy, although the former has developed an obsession for him. Besides, the manhwalovers should recall how Black Heart used the painter to hurt Yoon Seungho, therefore I am expecting that the new version of chapter 53/54 will show us the Joker’s defeat thanks to Baek Na-Kyum.
Under this new approach, the manhwaphiles can comprehend why the noble is listening to lord Na-Kyum’s requests. The crane proved him how brave, mature, strong and loyal he is…. while he was so blinded by his own fears and self-hatred. In his eyes, he is truly superior to him. Simultaneously, it is also understandable why the phoenix has problems to control himself in front of his god. The latter is not a blind and deaf idol who wants to be admired and worshipped constantly without giving anything in return. His god listens to his requests and wishes. The crane is the real god, while Jung In-Hun is a fake one. After examining the rebirth of the phoenix and the crane, my interpretation that Jung In-Hun will become the painter’s rival seems to become more and more certain. However, thanks to the phoenix’s support, lord Na-Kyum will be able to defeat his “learned sir”. Concerning Yoon Seungho, the latter will also have to fight against his own father, and he will definitely defeat and surpass him, since he is a phoenix. This is not surprising that the protagonists fell in love with each other, as their souls are very similar: both are associated to good fortune, which could only make the fathers jealous.
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