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/
In the essays “Yoon Seungho’s suffering path” and “Kim: a dog, a matchmaker or a father?”, I compared the butler Kim to a black dog, as he was reminding me of Cerberus, the guardian of the Underworld (Greek mythology). The latter was a three-headed dog whose function was to hinder dead people from leaving the realm of Death. The reason why he has three heads is simple. They represent time: past, present and future. The black dog with three heads has to ensure that nothing changes, it stands for status-quo in the end. Surprising is that when I examined the relationship between the butler and time, I came to a similar conclusion. The valet was determined to refuse any change in the lord’s life, but since Baek Na-Kyum’s appearance in his life, the butler had to plan in the future in order to get rid of the commoner. To sum up, Kim is in my eyes Cerberus, the black dog with three heads which explains why he knows so much too.
And since black dogs are connected to the Underworld (Cerberus, Anubis), you can imagine now why black dogs are considered as bad omen. They are judged as bringing misfortune because of their connection to death. It was, as if they would bring death to the living. What caught my attention in chapter 74 is that Kim’s realm seems to have shrunk. While in the first season, he was often seen in the inner courtyard (chapter 7) (chapter 25) (chapter 35), now he is connected more to the backyard. (chapter 65) (chapter 74). Another important progression is the presence of the wall and border. The more time passes on, the more the valet is backed up against the wall. Note that in the last panel, the space between the building and the fence is so narrow that only one person can stand there. The pictures outline the valet’s loss of power. Besides, he has now even taken over Deok-Jae’s role. In chapter 35, he was the one sweeping the leaves, now it is Kim’s turn to sweep snow. This displays that he is covering up Deok-Jae’s disappearance. Another huge contrast is that the manhwaphiles can only recognize the domestic through his shoes and trousers which I interpret as another clue for his loss of authority. Since we don’t see his face, it signifies that he has lost his “identity”. He is now just a domestic among others, because he is no longer considered as the lord’s right-land. He has lost control over the staff. The cause for this huge change is that Yoon Seungho is no longer requesting his services. In other words, no one is asking him for an advice and help, like in chapter 17: and 65 for example. However, if you pay attention to the last panel, you’ll detect that the butler was not supposed to do such a work due to the maid’s remark. This exposes that as the master’s right-hand, the staff expected from him another attitude. This truly reveals the valet’s worries and cowardice. He is now hiding in the backyard, as if it was the only place where he could find a refuge. And his world is getting smaller and smaller to the point that he looks like trapped between the wall and the fence. (chapter 74). However, I believe that he is just biding his time. He is still following his own philosophy: . He has not learned his lesson from my perspective. To sum up, he is just waiting for the next uproar, because he knows about The Joker’s intention. Since the latter was bold enough to mock Yoon Seungho in his own mansion, the butler is perceptive enough to recognize that Min won’t give up on his plan. He is waiting for the next tragedy so that once it happens, he can “come to Yoon Seungho’s rescue”, acting as if he was helping him to recover from the loss. So since Kim is now hiding in the backyard, the staff, especially the maids, can notice the butler’s loss of favoritism.
And the huge gap between Yoon Seungho and Kim truly exposes Kim’s true role in the protagonist’s life. The moment Kim disappears from his master’s life, the latter returns to his original form: He has a rosy complexion and a vivid eye again. Exactly like in the past, he is smiling. For the return of life coincides with the butler’s departure, it can never be a hazard. Therefore I can only see it as a confirmation that Kim is a villain. The only problem is that Yoon Seungho has not really perceived his valet’s true personality and role in his life. He just knows that he no longer needs him, because he has found someone else who truly accepts him. Despite his wrongdoings, Baek Na-Kyum has forgiven him and is even accepting his presence. Since the lord heard Heena noona’s words (chapter 65), he has himself the impression that he is a bad omen for the painter, that’s why he keeps his distance from the artist. He must see himself as a crow, an animal associated to misfortune. First, in his dream, he has the impression to fly , secondly his vision is connected to red and black. which reminds me of wings with feathers, although I am well aware that they are supposed to represent the hands. This explains why he can’t even lie next to Baek Na-Kyum in bed. It was, as if he feared to soil the artist’s pure soul which would lead the painter to misery. Moreover, I believe that the aristocrat is afraid of disturbing Baek Na-Kyum’s sleep, a sign of innocence. Thus during this night he never lied down in his own bed. and later doesn’t share his bed with the painter. This elucidates why Yoon Seungho no longer asks for sex from the painter. The lord is just happy that Baek Na-Kyum chose him and is not pushing him away. I believe that this is an important phase for the artist and the main lead. While the latter learns to express his affection differently, the lover can finally perceive Yoon Seungho’s true nature. He was not a man consumed by lust, but just longing for love and acceptance. The main lead has not recognized his true nature, his soul is still trapped in the past. His abandonment issues might have been resolved, but his own insecurities have not entirely disappeared. Let’s not forget that during their last confrontation, Kim made sure that the lord would have a negative reflection about himself by comparing him to his father. That’s why I feel, he sees himself as a bird of misfortune. However, what the valet didn’t expect either is that Baek Na-Kyum wouldn’t push away the protagonist. When he sent the artist to the bathroom through the male servant, Kim imagined that the artist would still judge Yoon Seungho as a man consumed by lust. Imagine another sex session after the rough sex marathon. However nothing happened like Kim anticipated, because they were making love. This trick even solidified their relationship. This was the ultimate defeat for the butler, that’s why he is now waiting for Black Heart’s intervention. What Kim fails to recognize is the significance of love. Remember that a coward is avoiding emotions in order not feel guilt and pain. That’s why he doesn’t comprehend the notion of love, giving us a clue why the butler never showered his young master with real affection. Because the painter asked him to help him to have an orgasm and he witnessed how the artist felt extremely pleasure, Yoon Seungho no longer needs to mark Baek Na-Kyum’s body as his. He is now truly wooing the painter, aiming at his heart, but I am not sure, if it is a conscious choice. This explicates why Yoon Seungho no longer feels the need for sex. He has learned to make the difference between love and sex. This explicates his change of behavior. Because of his love for the painter, Yoon Seungho is now sharing his days with Baek Na-Kyum. He eats with him, talks to him, smokes with him, which makes it impossible to create a misunderstanding between the protagonists. He is expressing his affection in a different way, although he can’t resist to have an indirect kiss with the painter through the pipe. Thus he smiles so easily. Moreover, he always keeps the artist close to him, he never truly leaves his side, only during the night. When he feels the need to see his lover during the night, then he pays a visit to his study, while the painter fakes sleeping. The irony is that Yoon Seungho is totally unaware that his actions are actually bringing fortune and protection to his loved one. And this becomes more perceptible, when the second animal of misfortune appears: The real crow!! This bird is often associated to bad omen due to the color and the fact that it is a predator despite his size. A group of crows can definitely push away an eagle.
In my eyes, there’s no doubt that this is Min. First, The Joker has the habit to copy Yoon Seungho’s style. It became really obvious after the failed gangrape: Chapter 53 The moment the host appeared with a hanbok containing a pattern, Min had a similar hanbok, yet it definitely looked less refined. And when Black Heart saw him at his mansion, Yoon Seungho was dressed with a beautiful black hanbok . That’s why The Joker is dressed with a black hanbok. Moreover, we have another clue due to the presence of the tailor. Let’s not forget that in the first season, Min mentioned the tailor with his loose lips. Since chapter 74 is a new version of chapter 39-40, where our cute couple goes on a date , it means that there are parallels between these two chapters:
- Responsibility: By giving him such a hat, Yoon Seungho treats the painter as his wife. The warm headgear is actually reserved for women. The huge difference from chapter 40 is that this time, the artist understands the gesture. Hence the painter is blushing, he is deeply moved by Yoon Seungho’s decision. Just before, he had recognized that the lord had definitely changed and he was trustworthy. He had kept his promise. Now, their relationship is official and note that the painter is no longer looking at his surroundings. He is no longer feeling ashamed (chapter 40) and fears people’s gaze. Observe the contrast between chapter 40 and 74 Baek Na-Kyum is neither pushing away the noble nor avoiding his gaze. The protagonists have a locked gaze in front of people. In addition, Kim is no longer present, giving us the impression that he was one of the reasons why the painter couldn’t feel comfortable. We know or sure that he remained at the mansion in chapter 74.
- Jealousy: This aspect played a huge role in chapter 40. Whereas the main lead was jealous of the scholar, because he would bring a smile to the painter, Jung In-Hun was resenting the low-born. The latter had been able to get the lord’s attention and admiration. In other words, the person looking at the couple must be dying of jealousy. And this can only be Min. Why not Jihwa? First, when the second lead decided to send back the painter to his childhood friend, this gesture meant that he was resigning. He would no longer feel jealous. And when Black Heart visited his “pupil” Jihwa, he never mentioned the painter in order to arouse jealousy in the red-haired aristocrat. In chapter 67. he just used the noble’s fear for death and punishment. But there is another clue why I am convinced that
Min is the beholder. Yes, this image! My interpretation was that Min chose to impersonate Jihwa, because he imagined that after the rough treatment, Baek Na-Kyum would decide to leave Yoon Seungho’s side. Consequently he waited at the kisaeng house. However, the plan didn’t work out, like he had anticipated. Heena noona returned empty-handed. In other words, his scheme had failed. But this impersonification is full of symbolism. The moment Min put on the second lead’s clothes, it announced the beginning of The Joker’s real suffering. He would feel the same agony than Jihwa did in the past. It was, as though the latter had passed the baton to him. So the crow’s envy keeps increasing, and his thirst for Baek Na-Kyum can no longer be satisfied. He circles around the couple like a real crow would do before attacking its prey.
But now, the manhwaphiles have to wonder how Black Heart can be present in that shop spying on the couple. It means that the villain was looking for an opportunity. There’s no doubt that Kim must have told him that the artist’s wrist was injured and he needed to go to the physician’s. Min hoped that the artist would go alone or be accompanied with a servant. However, he had to see how Yoon Seungho was attending to the commoner. Black Heart witnesses how Yoon Seungho is not feeling embarrassed to act like a servant and to show his affection to a commoner in front of people, in particular in front of the loose-lipped tailor. In the past, I used to believe that The Joker’s jealousy was related to Yoon Seungho’s position and wealth. Although he had a bad reputation, he was still invited by nobles. I even called him the alpha king, while now his real status reminds me more of a head-kisaeng’s than anything else. Therefore, Min’s envy and jealousy towards the main lead can not be explained by a thirst for power. Only now, I recognize the true cause for his envy. The Joker envies Yoon Seungho, because the latter doesn’t care about people’s opinion in general. Remember how I portrayed the protagonist: he is a free-spirit, a libertine, which means that he doesn’t pay attention to social norms. He advocates freedom. Despite his bad notoriety, Yoon Seungho remains calm and acts like a confident person. While the main lead is free from social norms, Min as a hypocrite has to hide his nihilistic mindset behind his laugh and good manners. That’s why he manipulates people in the end. He likes playing games, for he can’t truly act like he wished in front of people. Black Heart can’t admit that he fears people’s opinion and prioritizes appearances. This is perceptible in chapter 54: He is mocking the main character, hoping that the latter would deny his feelings for the low-born. However, this exposes Min’s own anxiety. Hence he insulted Jihwa as a sodomite, although his words sound absurd. He is no different in reality, since he has sex with other men too. He feels now so attracted to the painter that he can’t forget him. He justifies his obsession by saying that this is just sexual… although there’s no ambiguity that the moment he “tasted” the painter, he longed for more. The kiss is definitely an evidence that The Joker is so mesmerized by Baek Na-Kyum. After that kiss, he asked the second lead to change the plan right away. (chapter 56) When he says this, he is even recalling the painter exposing his huge desires. His hypocrisy is also the reason why he didn’t look for the artist, although he liked his work. He justifies his action that he had imagined the artist differently. However, the manhwaphiles should realize that he would have become the source of the new gossip, if he had invited such a painter to his propriety. People would have talked and said that he had fallen so deep into sodomy that he was now asking a painter to work for him. The final evidence is the conversation in the woods (chapter 41). As you can see, Min is using rumors in order to embarrass Yoon Seungho, asking him to pay more attention to social codex. This truly exposes Min’s fear… on the one hand, he is a nihilistic person, on the other hand he can’t act like he would like to, because he fears people’s gaze. That’s the reason why the noble is so attracted by the painter in the end. The latter never hid his sexual desires in his face or in the painting. He definitely showed his carefree side. As the new “Jihwa”, Min is no different from his pupil: He is fiery in his jealousy, because he can’t give up, but also weak at heart, because he is not brave enough to face people’s judgement. Therefore The Joker acts like the valet after all. Both are two peas in a pot in this aspect. So since the lord doesn’t leave the painter’s side outside the mansion, it means that Black Heart has to develop a new strategy. He can no longer use the second lead, as the latter’s crime has been revealed. Moreover, the red-haired noble will stay far away from his childhood friend out of fear. And if you compare The Joker’s situation to the butler’s, you’ll note that they are both in a similar situation. They have no pawn to employ like in the past. That’s why I have the impression that Min could decide to enter Yoon Seungho’s mansion with Kim’s complicity. Let’s not forget that the latter works in the backyard… so there could be a small gate. Besides we shouldn’t forget that during the first season, Jihwa trespassed the house twice (chapter 10-17), which was discovered by the owner. Then he came unannounced once (chapter 12) and visited officially twice (1-5). And if you recall Black Heart’s visit, he came as a guest twice (8-52), arrived unannounced once (chapter 66), but he never trespassed the lord’s propriety. That’s why I come to the deduction: The Joker could definitely enter the mansion without the lord’s knowledge and Kim would have to open himself the door. Since Kim is sweeping the snow alone, I interpreted that he has no power over the servants. Note that time has passed on and since the painter’s return, the domestics had an easy life. There was no party and no trouble. Both protagonists led a peaceful and quiet life. Hence for the servants, it looks like “paradise” now. The lord seems to be always in a good mood. Now, you comprehend why I think that cornered and with no pawn left, both villains have to dirty their own hands. So my idea is that Black Heart will try to abduct the painter during the night again… because that’s the only time, when the two main leads are separated. However, the problem is that the noble is still suffering from insomnia and visits the painter from time to time. In my essay entitled “the purge”, I had this idea that someone would get drugged, as there was no repetition so far… Therefore, my prediction would be to say that the butler drugs the master so that Baek Na-Kyum can be abducted during the night. And if this happens, then the butler will forge a fake letter.
However, their plan is doomed to failure for a particular reason: the presence of the second Joker: Nameless. Since Jihwa’s crime was revealed to Yoon Seungho, the criminal is intelligent enough to recognize that if something bad happens again to the artist, the red-haired aristocrat will become the scapegoat. Since the criminal was portrayed with a good heart, I doubt that he would punish the painter, as the second lead never suffered any punishment. He got away with a scandal and a little fright, but that was it. And if you look at the different panels from chapter 74, you feel his presence through the panels We have views of the rooftop, a symbol for Nameless, and the author is showing us places where the criminal was seen: the physician’s office an inn. Besides, the city is the place where Nameless lives. That’s why I believe that the second abduction is taking place very soon. Remember that Min went hunting with Yoon Seungho in chapter 41, a very ominous sign. Hence the animals of misfortune will reveal their true nature in front of the couple. However, there’s no ambiguity that the black dog and the crow will meet their fate in the end. Their hypocrisy and crimes will be unveiled. On the other hand, the crow and dog’s action will help the couple to get closer than before, contributing the lord to overcome his trauma. The aristocrat will realize that he needs to be at the painter’s side all the time, if he wants to protect him properly. He will realize the true meaning of accountability. Responsibility doesn’t just mean to provide a good meal and a roof over the head, but also guarantee real safety. At some point, he will realize that he has to provide an education for his loved one so that they can have a longer conversation. But this realization will only happen with the scholar’s return.
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