This is where you can read the manhwas. Doctor Frost: https://www.webtoons.com/en/mystery/dr-frost/list?title_no=371 Painter of The Night: 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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Unlike the other essays, this won’t be very long, because I would like to focus on Byeonduck’s words about the protagonists. When she was asked if Seungho and Na-Kyum could ever be happy, she replied this:
“In their own way, why not?”
Many readers were bothered by her words, as they had the impression that the author was implying that they would get separated ways due to the expression “their own way”. Moreover, her idiom implied that the main lead wouldn’t be able to procure happiness to the other and the reverse. With her answer, the Painter Of The Night’s stans had the feeling that this story could have a rather tragic ending… especially if they are not together. There’s no doubt that the majority desperately wants to have a happy ending.
One of the reasons why her reply was so open and mysterious is understandable. If she had revealed the ending, the tension and anticipation would have been lost. However, while reading Doctor Frost, I realized one important aspect, which would explain why Byeonduck would say such a thing. When the teenager Yeonshik, who suffered the Seowol catastrophe, was about to leave the mental institution, Doctor Frost gave him the following advices: (chapter 149). This means, this terrible incident with these painful memories will always be a part of his life and he will always have to fight to find the right balance. That’s why he describes the patient’s life as a long journey , where the figure has to find a way to overcome his trauma. (chapter 149) As you can see, a patient suffering from flashbacks and PTSD is on his own in the end, the psychologist can only give him support, advice and comfort, but in the end Yeonshik is the one who has to work on himself and find the right balance.
And since both main leads from Painter Of The Night have been exposed to coercive persuasion and traumatic incidents, both are suffering from PTSD. Besides, I had already portrayed Yoon Seungho as someone suffering from Dependent Personality Disorder too. In other words, both main leads have mental and emotional scars and issues. And this leads me to the following conclusion: we have to imagine that at the end of the story, Yoon Seungho and Baek Na-Kyum will never be people without any issues. Both will never forget their past, however they will find a way to overcome the trauma. In other words, this won’t end with: They lived happily ever after. No, since this story is quite realistic, when it comes to mental issues, I have the impression, Yoon Seungho’s mental issues won’t entirely vanish. However, there’s no ambiguity that he will find a way to keep the right balance. The lord will shine in the future as a Phoenix, but he is a human after all, hence he will always be vulnerable. The lord will find his happiness, when he sees Baek Na-Kyum smile because of him. (chapter 63) But note that it took the lord a long time to recognize and externalize this thought. And so far, the painter has still no idea what truly makes him happy.
That’s why the two characters will have to figure out what can them make happy. I am sure that Yoon Seungho will have other wishes in order to enjoy life. Each of them have to overcome their issues and past differently.
But I have another explanation for Byeonduck’s words and it is related to Mahatma Gandhi:
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.”
Striking is that until the end of the second season, the painter’s words and thoughts are still not in harmony. He is still hiding his true emotions (chapter 74) and thoughts (chapter 74) from his lover. (chapter 75) He might have asked for his help in chapter 76, yet it was a spontaneous and natural gesture. But once he starts thinking with his mind, the closeness won’t remain. There’s no doubt that the painter is still afraid to admit his attraction and affection to Yoon Seungho. The negative image of sex, influenced by Jung In-Hun and Heena noona, has not been entirely removed. Furthermore, Yoon Seungho never revealed to the artist that he knows now about the kidnapping. He detained information from his lord Na-Kyum. That’s why I deduce that the painter and the aristocrat will have to discover on their own that for happiness, they must be open and truthful to themselves and to their partner. A white lie, lie by omission or a silence can have devastating consequences.
As a conclusion, I am expecting that the manhwaphiles shouldn’t expect a happy ending like in fairy tales, even if the author drew such images. Yoon Seungho will always have mental issues, but at the end he won’t let his traumas take control of his life anymore. Yet this doesn’t mean either that this story will have a tragic ending due the expression “in their own way”. Both protagonists have to recognize that first, they need to liberate themselves from their past and traumas. Yoon Seungho is still suffering from partial memory loss due to his huge traumas. However, thanks to the painter who creates good memories for the noble, the latter is slowly recovering from his amnesia. This is important, for it signifies that Yoon Seungho is regaining his identity and as such returning to his old self. But by slowly remembering his past, he is getting the chance to discover the truth about the causes for his misery. Little by little, Yoon Seungho is realizing the butler’s betrayal and abandonment, (chapter 77) just like he is now remembering that lord Song is responsible for his martyrdom. (Chapter 59) Compare the lord’s attitude in season 1. (chapter 37) So far, he only blamed the father. Sure, in season 3, he still reproaches the father‘s responsibility, but observe that his blame is more related to the Yoon Chang-Hyeon‘s bad choices. (Chapter 86) He trusted the wrong people, in other words, he sensed that his father had been misguided. This explicates why he blames the father for the absence of his critical thinking. (Chapter 86) He never pondered on the question how the tragedy could occur. He was simply satisfied with the easiest solution: Yoon Seungho was responsible for this. This conversation is important, as it actually outlines how different the lord is from his own father. At the end of season 3, Baek Na-Kyum asked his lover this: (chapter 102) How come that he left his side? For the main lead, it sounded like a blame, while in reality, it was a question. By asking Yoon Seungho this, he is pushing the lord to investigate the matter. Discovering the truth is relevant, for it will reveal that Yoon Seungho’s crime had been planned all along!! He was incited to kill people, thus he had the sword in the hand. And since the situation mirrors the past, the main lead will slowly unveil the truth about his own past. Now, you are probably wondering how this is related to happiness. The answer is simple. As long as the protagonist is trapped in the past, he could never become happy. He couldn’t simply move on. But by leaving everything behind, he makes a clean start, and he is forced to rely on himself and as such to trust himself, if he wants to take care of the painter properly. (Chapter 102) That’s the reason why the author said that they will find happiness on their own.
On the other hand, Baek Na-Kyum needs to realize that only honesty can lead him to happiness. He allows others to rule his life. (chapter 74) At the end of the second season, Heena noona’s influence is still palpable. In that aspect, Yoon Seungho is much further than the artist, as the lord is no longer in denial about his love for Baek Na-Kyum. Yet, at the end of season 3, Baek Na-Kyum makes a similar experience. He recognizes that his sister has been manipulating him in order to achieve her goal. (Chapter 97) Furthermore, because he listened to the ghost Jung In-Hun and the comments from the staff, he fell into the trap set by Min. Once facing Black Heart, he got aware of the deception right away. (Chapter 99) In other words, due to the last tragic incident, he experienced that he should mistrust people’s words. He shouldn’t take their statement as face-value. This is important, for the artist is learning to become more and more independent. His critical thinking is developing. As you can observe, both main leads have to find their own way to become happy. But they can only become happy, if they discover the truth and as such their past. Thus I am deducing that Yoon Chang-Hyeon will never find happiness, for he never tried to discover who was behind the bad reputation of the Yoons. This explicates why he is repeating the same mistakes from the past in season 3. He still trusts valet Kim.
I hope, this essay gives a satisfying answer to the manhwaphiles worried about the future evolution and ending of this terrific and unique manhwa.
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