Painter Of The Night: The bride’s abduction (theory)

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In my last analysis, I had already implied that the painter’s second abduction would take place during this night. And now, it is time to elaborate why I made this deduction. I will list all my arguments for this theory.

1. The bride’s abduction: between joke and tragedy

First, the manhwaphiles will certainly recall that the marriage between Yoon Seungho and Baek Na-Kyum started as a joke. (chapter 78) And in Germany, there is this tradition that the best man and his friends steals the bride.

“Traditionally a bride is kidnapped by the groomsmen at some point during the reception who then drags her from bar to bar until the groom finds them. Once the groom has managed to locate his bride he is then expected to pay the cheeky kidnappers bill, as well as a round of drinks for everyone in the bar.” quoted from

As you can observe, this tradition is actually a joke between the couple and their friends. The parallel between the marriage between the two protagonists and the German tradition is prank. Therefore I couldn’t help myself associating the marriage as a joke to Black Heart who is also a Joker, but the negative version. Hence contrary to the German custom, he will make a bad joke which can only end badly.

On the other hand, the “bride kidnapping” can be a harsh reality too. In Kyrgyzstan, women can get kidnapped and forced to marry their kidnapper. The men doing this claim that this is part of their traditions. However, for the victims, this kind of marriage can only end as a tragedy. Either the bride has to accept her new situation and husband or she decides to commit suicide. [for more information:]

In other words, the “bride’s abduction” can be a serious matter too, and not just a joke. Moreover, since the noble and the painter took their “marriage” seriously, this signifies that the painter’s kidnapping won’t be perceived as a joke, but as a real crime. Thereby at the end of the long night and day, people will be punished for their silence and complicity.

2. The fruit and the new Fall of man

I have to admit that I had already developed this prediction after reading chapter 79. Why? Because this story is constructed like a kaleidoscope and as such, scenes from the past will resurface, yet there will be small changes. In addition, the author is combining different chapters together. Hence when I saw this panel (chapter 79), I connected it to the scene in the woods. (chapter 23) As you already know, I interpreted this scene as a new version of Fall of man. Both protagonists tasted the “forbidden” fruit and discovered the reality: the painter had lost his virginity and had not remained “faithful” to his admired sir, whereas for the main lead, their first sexual encounter was just an illusion. After eating the apple, the rape occurred. And since the red persimmons are often compared to apples, thus I couldn’t shake the feeling that this fruit in chapter 79 was a bad omen, especially when the butler brought it. Besides, this fruit is also offered during a marriage. However, since neither the artist nor the noble got to eat the red persimmon, I believe that this fruit is more associated to “expulsion from Eden” than to sexuality.

So far, the artist had lived in a bubble, all his needs were provided. The lord was so generous, he would keep caressing him and confiding to him without asking anything in return. Moreover, he would talk about their future together. To sum up, for Baek Na-Kyum, his stay by Yoon Seungho’s side could only be judged as a paradise. The lord would fulfill all of his wishes… He had a home and a family. (chapter 80) Then the aristocrat called him Kyumah exactly like in his wet dream, while smiling so happily. This was too beautiful to be true, hence the low-born started worrying about their future as well. (chapter 78) The manhwaphiles can sense that the painter was slowly transforming, he was maturing. He wanted to become responsible for Yoon Seungho too. He needed to pay attention to his fortune and position. In other words, the artist felt that their time spent together was like a paradise and they should go back to reality. That’s the reason why I came to the idea of the expulsion of the Garden of Eden.

Moreover, what caught my attention is the following panel: Why would Byeonduck create such an image, as it doesn’t contribute to the evolution of story at all? In addition, it was placed next to the music box. In my eyes, this picture played a bigger role than it appeared to be. Since I had already perceived some parallels between chapter 79 and 36-37, I couldn’t help myself connecting the red persimmons to the drug the butler gave to the painter through the head-maid. (chapter 36) Furthermore, we had this picture which resembled a lot to this one from chapter 47: The manhwalovers will certainly recall that in that episode, Deok-Jae had played a prank too. He had put some stones in the rice! The gesture was the same than giving some drug like in the first season. The only difference is that in chapter 36, the valet could mask it as a prescription from the doctor.

Consequently, I made some research about persimmons. Was it possible for putting some drug in the red persimmon without tasting it? Since we had opium in the second season, I imagined that the perpetrator would add opium to the red persimmon so that the painter and the lord would get drugged together. As you can observe, this simple image (chapter 79) triggered so many thoughts. Then I read that opium tastes bitter and dried persimmon can also be astringent. And guess what:

The astringent variety before dried is heart shaped while the non-astringent variety is shaped more like a tomato.” quoted from I could use other websites as proof for this.

And look at the picture: The fruit has a heart shaped form displaying that it is astringent! Hence I felt that Byeonduck could have been misleading her readers on purpose, letting them think that the persimmon tastes sweet due to Yoon Seungho’s words. (chapter 79) However, my fear didn’t come true. I was wrong in that aspect that neither the artist nor the main lead ate the red persimmons. In other words, they didn’t get drugged.

On the other hand, note the persistence of the servant who was pressuring his master to take his supper. (chapter 80) Moreover, the manhwaworms should mark the butler’s words: (chapter 47) Here, the valet implied that the lord could get drugged too. Therefore I am not throwing this theory of the drug out of the window, in fact my impression got reinforced after remembering that in season 1, we saw this: (chapter 17). What if the male servants decided to eat the supper prepared for the couple? The head-maids stopped doing this, but it is different for the male servants who keep disregarding their lord and the artist. So what if the supper is left behind… exactly like the expensive wine in chapter 19? And imagine this: they fall asleep to the maids’ surprise. But I have to admit that this is just a thought. However, I was more convinced with my theory of the drug after discovering the following pattern.

3. Pattern

While I was comparing season 1 and 2, I discovered the following motive. Note that after episode 21, the noble kept his distance from the painter. (chapter 23) He waited for the painting hoping to see their “wedding night”. Hence we could say that we had abstinence and separation. Then after the sex marathon (chapter 32), the lord left the painter behind out of remorse. (chapter 34) Even after his return, he accepted that the painter wouldn’t stay in his bed or have sex with him. Note that he only masturbated the artist and refused any real sexual encounter, until the latter begged him in episode 41. (chapter 41) This means that we had a second phase of separation (32-34). With his return, the lord restrained himself. So it was abstinence. This scenario, distance and abstinence, was repeated after episode 49: (chapter 51) While for outsiders, it looked like the artist had lost the master’s favors, the main lead’s gesture was expressing the opposite, concern and love. However, this strong connection between distance and and chastity got disrupted. After episode 58, we only had separation leading the protagonist to have another sex marathon. After realizing his mistake, he made love to the artist… but note that after episode 73, the noble is chaste again. (chapter 74) From episode 74 till 80, we only have abstinence, thought the kisses, hugs and masturbation (chapter 80) seem to indicate that we will have a new love session. As you can imagine, because we only have abstinence from 74 to 80, I came to the following deduction: separation should happen right after!

But there’s more to it. By comparing the two first “escapes”, you will notice that the discovery of Baek Na-Kyum’s vanishing is noticed much earlier:

  • chapter 29: Around breakfast, so during the morning.
  • Chapter 59: at dawn, very early in the morning

This signifies that the lord will realize his disappearance during the night so that the culprits will be put under pressure.

In addition, I would like the readers to keep in mind that during the first season, the painter was drugged twice (19 and 36), then he had to eat some spoiled rice (chapter 47) and was forced to breathe opium and drink booze in chapter 54. From that moment, the artist never got poisoned via food again, because the head-maid would take care of Baek Na-Kyum’s meals personally. After the incident with Deok-Jae, there’s no doubt that she must have felt responsible, and chose to ensure that nothing bad would happen. Hence only the lord could “drug” him in episode 54. However, note that in chapter 79, Kim was the one bringing the red persimmons. Observe how persistent he was to bring him something to eat, though the artist rejected the offer. (chapter 79) Let’s not forget that Yoon Seungho refused the butler’s tea and medicine again. (chapter 77) Hence my actual theory is that the butler had planned to drug the two protagonists, well aware that they would share their meals. However, since the “poisoning attempts” were less working, if you compare the first and second season, I deduce that the valet’s third attempt was doomed to failure.

But there’s another reason why I am thinking like that. What caught my attention is the second pattern. Notice that during the first and second “desertion” nothing happened, like Kim had expected. He always had to change his plans quickly, adapt himself to the new situation and develop a new trick.

During the night of the rape, Kim envisioned that if the teacher witnessed the sexual encounter between the infamous hell-raiser and the low-born, the scholar would get appalled. (chapter 18) He thought, the admired sir wouldn’t like to be associated to such a person and would leave the mansion with the painter. That’s why he approached his master in the courtyard. (chapter 25) He was curious about Baek Na-Kyum. (chapter 25) Had he been killed or had he already escaped? Let’s not forget that he saw Yoon Seungho taking a horse. Then after meeting in the hallway, Kim had the impression to see a ghost (chapter 26), his master resembled a lot to his father. Hence he knew what would happen. He would get enraged and jealous of the scholar. Consequently, he saved Jung In-Hun by sending a servant to his chamber forcing him to leave his bedroom. He needed to ensure that the staff would still believe, they didn’t need to take their master seriously, he was too weak-hearted. After that night, Kim made sure that Baek Na-Kyum would leave the mansion without getting stopped. He thought, if the artist told Jung In-Hun that their life was in danger, the scholar would believe him. As you can see, the long awaited desertion didn’t occur right away, only much later in the night. And it is the same for the second abduction. It should have happened during the night of episode 53, yet Deok-Jae failed with his task. Later, the noble was incited to leave the mansion due to Jihwa’s fake letter, therefore the kidnapping could only take place two days later. To sum up, timing was essential. Moreover, this time, Kim played a bigger role, as he let the painter leave the mansion without Yoon Seungho’s authorization. As the readers can notice, the “desertion” was delayed again and Kim’s involvement was more visible. Furthermore, Kim anticipated that he would find a dead body in the next morning, but this was not the case. The artist was also brought back to the mansion, exactly like in the first season. Hence my expectation is that during this night, Kim had already planned the abduction with the drug, but he had to change his plans.

First, he was not sure if both main leads would eat the red persimmons. He needed to know if they were asleep. Hence he sent the guardian as a scapegoat to the bedchamber. Naturally, he had promised him that he could take the music box as a reward for his favor. Therefore he gave the greedy domestic the following advice: (chapter 80) He shouldn’t tell Yoon Seungho that someone was looking for the painter. He knew that if the couple was not asleep, then the lord would get upset and threatened the domestic so that the latter would reveal the presence of the guest. Kim saw a huge opportunity with the arrival of Father Yoon’ s messenger. He could separate the couple. Yoon Seungho thought, his lover would be safe in his bedroom. But he made a huge mistake, he didn’t expect this trick from this conniving creature: Lie by omission! (chapter 80) The butler expected that his master would rush to the study, thinking that it was the kisaeng. But since he has been spying his lord for quite some time through the balcony/door, he knew that the painter would hear the lord’s words. Remember this scene: (chapter 37) the artist could hear the brother’s voice!! Hence the artist should have heard that someone was looking for him. And now, imagine the following:

Baek Na-Kyum is well aware of his lover’s possessiveness and violence. He even witnessed how his sister and his partner would hate each other. In chapter 69, he even had to meddle and stop his sister from menacing the host. (chapter 69) However, back then he thought, he was protecting his sister, whereas in truth it was the opposite. (chapter 69) That’s the reason why I believe that during the conversation between the messenger and Yoon Seungho, Kim will approach the painter again and tell him that his sister wants to see him. Hence she is waiting in front of the mansion or in the courtyard. The butler will fake care and generosity, the new version of this (chapter 67). Therefore, the artist will leave the bedchamber in a rush, he wants to protect her from Yoon Seungho’s wrath. Let’s not forget that before the first desertion, the artist protected the scholar: (chapter 26) As you can see, there’s a pattern here. The low-born is always using his body to defend his loved one… but each time, he was “betrayed”. The scholar backstabbed him three times, thus the kisaeng will do the same. So he will leave the bedchamber without any shoe rushing to the main gate. What he doesn’t know is that Heena noona is there to take him away. She will kidnap her own brother thinking that she is saving him.

4. Heena’s blindness and crime

And now, you are wondering why I am suspecting the sister. First, I would like to point out that the artist fled the mansion through the backdoor in the first season. (chapter 4) The first time, he was stopped by Yoon Seungho himself, hence he succeeded in chapter 29. Moreover, note that in the second season, he didn’t desert the property through the backdoor, but the main door!! Yet he returned to the noble’s side, when he realized that he had no place where to go. (chapter 46) Nevertheless, for Yoon Seungho is staying in the painter’s study while conversing with the messenger, this means that he is closer to the gate from the backyard than from the main door. Consequently, the painter needs to be sent in the opposite direction. Moreover, the readers shouldn’t forget the main lead’s words: (chapter 69) The painter, in his hurry, will not pay attention to Yoon Seungho’s words and will step outside the door. In that moment, he will be dragged away by his own sister.

As you can see, I haven’t changed my theory at all (see The purge – “a theory”). Heena will become Min’s hand and justify her actions, because she “received” a letter from her brother. Since we have forged letters in each season, I have always been expecting this again. And remember that each letter helped Yoon Seungho to discern the truth directly or indirectly. He recognized his brother’s indifference and selfishness, just like Jihwa’s. Even if she tells him that he can now follow her, and the latter rejects her offer, she won’t accept his resistance thinking that he just had a change of heart. In my opinion, all her reproaches addressed to Yoon Seungho will come to bite her back: (chapter 65) Where was she, when the painter got dragged many months ago? But there exist many reasons why I believe that the kisaeng will enter the mansion. Note that in the second season, no one stopped her from entering the propriety followed by her guards. (chapter 65) She could find out where her brother was living. (chapter 65) We have to envision the following situation: (chapter 43) The staff witnessed her walking, but they didn’t care at all. Consequently she could approach the lord’s bedchamber so easily. Hence I am expecting a new version of chapter 65. However, the roles will be switched: Heena will drag her brother away. And the servant eyeing the music box will take it. But why would the kisaeng act in such a reckless way?

She was already fearless in episode 65, and she noticed that no one stopped her. Furthermore, she could observe that the household’s security was totally lacking. (chapter 69) Furthermore, Min will certainly tell her this: She can just swoop in tonight and do the deed/ rescue her brother. She saw it with her own eyes. But what neither Heena nor Min know is that this is the third “desertion”!! And only Kim is aware of this. For the latter was never caught as an accomplice, he still thinks that he can succeed again. Keep in mind that concerning the main lead’s suffering past, the valet never got caught either, therefore he has every reason to expect the same outcome. But what he fails to realize are the small changes and little details.

5. The discovery of Kim’s treachery

First, he is not expecting the lord’s return from the painter’s study so soon, a new version of this: (chapter 68) Remember that he used to get a flashback by the mere mention of his father. In the first season, he could overcome it thanks to the painter’s presence. (chapter 38) Moreover, since the lord acted, as if he was respectful towards his own father, Kim believes that the conversation will take longer.

Secondly, the disappearance of the music box will be the clue for Yoon Seungho to recognize the true nature of the crime. The butler made a huge mistake in that matter. He believed that the painter only remained in the mansion out of greed. That’s how he explained his refusal to follow his sister. But here he overlooked two important clues:

  • chapter 29:
  • Chapter 61:

The painter never “accepted” the gifts from the lord. He always left them behind, though in the second case, it was stagged. But now, Kim knows that the painter treasures the music box (chapter 79), hence this item needs to disappear, giving the impression that the artist took it with him. What he doesn’t know is the following: (chapter 78) The painter used the pronoun “we” and worried about Yoon Seungho’s situation.

But more importantly, Kim is not anticipating that he will be betrayed. Strangely is that Deok-Jae remained quite “loyal” to Kim despite his abandonment and betrayal. (chapter 29) The manhwalovers will detect that the domestic used the personal pronoun “we”. He was speaking for the staff and as such for Kim. He actually hoped that the butler would come forward and take responsibility for the first desertion. But the valet remained silent and let Deok-Jae take the fall. However, note that the servant didn’t reveal Kim’s complicity. He could have dragged him down, but no… he hid the truth, for he feared that he would suffer much more than the butler, for the latter was supposed to be the favored servant.

And remember what happened before the couple got separated. The new domestic told his lord this: “I was told not to”!! (chapter 80) By speaking in such a way, he unveiled that he was acting on someone else’s orders! There was someone in the shadow commanding his own staff. That’s why Yoon Seungho will come to question the domestic again. Who told him not to say? There’s no ambiguity that he will point out the butler, for he is quite new in the mansion.

Finally, since the painter left the bedroom in a hurry, he won’t put any shoe, for there are none there. Since the lord brought his lover to his bedroom without any shoe, he will realize that he couldn’t have left on his own without shoes.

Naturally, I am expecting an intervention from the head-maid. Let’s not forget that she perceived the intrusion of Heena as a problem. That’s the reason why she ran to Kim in episode 65. She had no idea how she should deal with her. But now, she is well aware that her master doesn’t want her in the mansion. Besides, we saw her wandering in the courtyard once: (chapter 32) So it is very possible that she becomes a witness and testify about the incident, similar to chapter 11: (chapter 11). However, we have to imagine that Yoon Seungho won’t discover the crime right away, because he needs to reply to his father.

6. Happy slap

Due to Kim’s trick, he faced the messenger of his father without any fear. He had been manipulated to think that he would meet the kisaeng. Since he oozed strength and charisma, he could sense that he had nothing to fear from his father. The messenger’s words let him see reality: Father Yoon was totally powerless. In the painter’s study, Yoon Seungho could free himself from his father’s shadow for good. This is important, because this means that he will recall his youth, similar to the painter: (chapter 71) He will recognize that his chest didn’t tighten nor he felt frightened nor his heart pounded at the thought of the eldest master! That’s why Byeonduck released this panel in my opinion: The main lead will recall the physical abuse from his father… It can only be the father due to the color of the hanbok, khaki, which is father Yoon’s favorite color. Nonetheless, this time, the memory of the slap won’t affect him any longer: (chapter 55) And now, you are wondering why the author wrote “happy slap”. How could that be a happy slap? First, it is related to the protagonist’s emancipation, like I have just explained.

Secondly, I believe that this is also connected to the painter’s abduction. While developing my theory about the kidnapping, I discovered why Yoon Seungho was such a bad lord in his mansion, why he allowed his staff to do whatever they wanted! The manhwalovers shouldn’t forget that the lord truly hated his father, hence deep down, he didn’t want to behave like his father. Since the latter was abusive and cruel, he acted the exact opposite. He didn’t want to look like his father at all. He had experienced how to be treated like a low-born… therefore he didn’t want anyone to experience such a fate. And Kim encouraged such a fear… If he was lenient and benevolent, then he would look different from his father. In other words, he encouraged his master to stay quiet, because he could be perceived as a cruel master, like his own father. (chapter 68) This explicates why he made this comparison in episode 68. He knew that Yoon Seungho hated this reflection: (chapter 68)

But because of the painter, the wealthy noble is slowly taking over his role as lord and master!! This means that he accepts his new position and assumes his responsibility as a lord. He has power, thus he can mistreat or kill people. In the first season, the use of violence was triggered by emotions, hence he didn’t act rationally. It was not a real choice, a conscious and rational decision. (chapter 30) People perceived him here as a spoiled child throwing a tantrum.

However, in episode 80, we can sense a huge transformation. The main lead is confident, he gives orders (chapter 80) and doesn’t seem scared at all. His opponent views that the young lord Yoon shouldn’t be taken lightly. (chapter 80) Thus I believe that once Yoon Seungho discovers the artist’s disappearance, he will use his authority as a lord to question his staff. He won’t slap the servants randomly like in episode 30, he will first target the “creepy domestic” circulating around his bedroom. Hence it is possible that the readers witness how he slaps the new version of Deok-Jae!! Hence it is possible that we see another panel, where Yoon Seungho is slapping the domestic in order to get some answer: Besides, the lord has every reason to act like that. His brutality is justified, because he needs to rescue his loved one… Hence this could be seen as a “happy slap”, for the lord senses that “violence” and authority can not always be a bad thing, when it is to find the truth. The lord will learn to distinguish between violence and authority too. So far, he confused brutality with power. Hence he used no control and authority on his staff and later only employed force in order to achieve his goal. Slowly, he is discovering power as such. This incident will be like an eye-opener for him. He needs to use his authority to guaranty his lover’s safety. However, in a hurry, he will have to slap the domestic himself. He needs to find Baek Na-Kyum. Due to this observation, I conclude that he will ask for the authorities’ support this time. He won’t rely on his staff any longer. That’s how Father Lee will experience Yoon Seungho’s true power. Consequently, I feel that the guards could barge in his mansion: (chapter 67) The main lead’s threat will turn into a reality.

As a conclusion, with this incident, he has to prove to Baek Na-Kyum that he is strong and trustworthy, he can rely on him for the future. Therefore, we would have two characters acting the same way. They would use violence and power in order to save the painter, though only one would be in the wrong: Heena, the so-called selfless and loving noona.

But there’s another reason why I believe that we will see a memory from Yoon Seungho and how it affects the present. Since the start of the third season, I recognized a new pattern: each episode would be strongly intertwined together, and each episode would reflect the previous one. Hence this means that in chapter 81, we will find elements from episode 77. Secondly, within the same episode, we would find the same elements: versus Hence since there’s a slap from the past, therefore expect one in the present, but the role will be switched. Yoon Seungho won’t be the target of abuse.

And now, I have presented my theory… what do you think about it?

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