Painter Of The Night: The scarf, a small but significant detail 😉 (second version)

This is where you can read the manhwa. 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:

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Everything started with an exchange between me and one of my followers, @itscathyboo. The latter was asking about the signification of Lee Jihwa’s red scarf. Then she asked the same question concerning the painter’s blue navy scarf. Her last question caught me by surprise, for in my eyes the scarf always looked more grey than blue. From that moment on, I started investigating the artist’s scarf and as such the other characters’ too. By examining closely the muffles, I was able to come to new interpretations.

1. The lord’s gifts

That’s when I realized that the lord had already ordered clothes for the painter even before visiting the tailor shop in chapter 39. Why? No one has ever wondered about the circumstances how the artist came to wear the shirt in Mountbatten pink. It suddenly appeared in episode 35: (chapter 34) (chapter 35) Besides, I have already said that every event will occur twice, though we don’t witness everything directly. This means that the lord visited the tailor twice.

While rereading the episode 34, a detail caught my attention. Compare the hanbok at the end of chapter 33 and the one in episode 34: . Striking is that the second hanbok has a pattern (bird). This indicates that the lord had dressed up!! It was, as if he wanted to impress the painter, a new version of episode 23.

But when he entered the bedchamber, it was already dark. So where did he spend his time between the moment he left Min’s domain and arrived home? Remember that when he departed from Black Heart’s pavilion, the sun was still up. (chapter 33) So where did he go during that time? In my opinion, he must have stopped at the tailor shop and buy new clothes for Baek Na-Kyum, but also for himself. Why?

Due to Min’s words, the lord got reminded how precious Baek Na-Kyum was. Moreover, he had not forgotten that his only servant and possession had gotten sick due to the thin but wet pink shirt. Consequently, he decided to act as a good and caring lord. However, he couldn’t just order a shirt for someone else. He needed an excuse for ordering a new attire. So he went to the tailor and bought a hanbok for himself and added the shirt with the pants. Why do I think so? It is, because of the tailor and lord’s behavior in chapter 39. The former had never seen Yoon Seungho purchasing clothes for someone else. (chapter 39) Yet, we know that the protagonist had already bought the new attire. In addition, the lord tried to hide his relationship from people (chapter 39), hence he asked the tailor and Kim to leave the shop. As you can see, in that scene Yoon Seungho paid attention to his “image”.

That’s the reason why I believe that he bought the new clothes in “secret”. But when he arrived in the bedchamber (chapter 34), he had not the Mountbatten pink shirt with him. This signifies that he must have brought it to the study, because that’s the place he had carried himself the sick painter. And remember that in episode 84, he said this: (chapter 84) So he must have been looking for Baek Na-Kyum in chapter 34 too. And naturally Kim approached him and told him this in my opinion. He had brought him back to the bedchamber, because it was the warmest room in the mansion, a new version of this panel: (chapter 34) That’s how he recovered, and the painter must have been thankful for his generosity. Hence he was waiting for him in the bedchamber. It is possible that he encouraged his lord to be careful. That way, the butler would appear as caring and selfless, while in truth he was hoping that his master would turn into a sex machine again and lust for sex. As you already know, Kim’s MO is always to report information in delay. I came to this theory, because of the lord’s words in the bedchamber. Note what he stated before letting the artist leave his room: (chapter 34) He might have been reminded by the butler, while in reality the valet desired to achieve the opposite. Besides, since Kim’s other MO is always mixing a lie with a truth, I deduce that Kim lied to his master to a certain extent. Consequently I assume, Kim told him that Baek Na-Kyum was waiting for him in the bedchamber. This would also explain why the lord dressed up too, but his facial expressions exposes his hesitation and doubts. Therefore he decided to go to bed without any ceremony and started removing his beautiful hanbok. With this interpretation, we could explain why the noble was surprised by the painter’s reaction. (chapter 34) Why would he leave the bedchamber, when he was supposedly waiting for him. But when he heard the artist’s justification (chapter 34), he accepted the artist’s decision for a different reason. Baek Na-Kyum was himself too weak. As you can see, the butler’s lies backfired, since minus (lie 1) and minus (lie 2) makes +. The butler’s trick didn’t work out like planned, yet it caused Yoon Seungho some pain, for the latter had the impression to stand in front of a huge puzzle. He couldn’t understand Baek Na-Kyum at all and even predict his moves. That’s why he spent the whole night trying to figure out the artist’s behavior. So when the artist returned to the study, he must have found the clothes left by Yoon Seungho. That’s the moment he started wearing the Mountbatten pink jacket.

And now, you comprehend why the main lead got so upset and jealous the next morning. (chapter 35) He had offered him clothes, given his own room for a while and even allowed him to leave the bedchamber the night before, and the next day he had to see him smiling to Jung In-Hun!

Furthermore, when the artist arrived in the domain, he only had his tools with him and that was it. Consequently, I deduce that Yoon Seungho bought him the new clothes so that he wouldn’t get cold and sick. This means that on his way home (chapter 34), Yoon Seungho made sure that the artist would be better clothed. This is important, because it shows a change in Yoon Seungho. Slowly, he is dressing up, showing a certain pride as a noble. By dressing up his servant, his only possession and treasure, he is making a statement, the painter was representing him, though I don’t think Yoon Seungho has ever realized this dimension. For him, it was just important that Baek Na-Kyum doesn’t get sick. The manhwaphiles can sense this mentality, when they observe the chapter 39. The lord entered the tailor shop dressed up, but he wasn’t the only one dressed up. Kim was also wearing a hanbok with a hat. Like I had already mentioned it before, the valet did it in order to outline that he was the lord’s right-hand. He was also making a statement. Baek Na-Kyum wasn’t the only one receiving good clothes. This truly shows that in Joseon, a close servant was perceived as a representative of his master.

I am suspecting that the lord didn’t just order this shirt for the painter (chapter 78), but he must have bought another one: the burgundy one that Baek Na-Kyum is wearing in episode 84. (chapter 84).

So the change of clothes in chapter 34 could be an indication that he bought a new hanbok as well. Let’s not forget that when Min provoked him, the latter was reminded that Baek Na-Kyum was his only possession, his treasure, (chapter 33). Hence I believe that he must have realized that he needed to pay more attention to his “companion and servant”. Besides, the manhwaphiles will certainly remember that in chapter 52, the lord was dressed up with a beautiful hanbok, while Min provoked him again. (chapter 52) As you can detect, I see a strong connection between treasure and clothes. Besides, Min, the tailor and the painter’s clothes are often mentioned or seen together. (chapter 41) (chapter 74) Therefore I came to the conclusion that Yoon Seungho must have bought clothes in chapter 34.

Thus when he visited the tailor with the artist in episode 39, it was to order winter clothes: (chapter 44) But no one truly paid attention to the previous gifts Yoon Seungho had made to the artist. Besides, he even gave the artist socks. (chapter 36). In episode 30, he had no socks. (chapter 30)

Though the new clothes were not a real sign for a couple set, Yoon Seungho desired to make a statement. The painter Baek Na-Kyum was his everything. Moreover, he desired him not to get sick. Furthermore, the manhwaphiles shouldn’t forget that in chapter 38, he let the painter carry his own jacket: (chapter 38) In fact, during the first season, he allowed the artist to wear his own clothes on two occasions: chapter 26 and 38. Then in the second season, he offered his own scarf to the artist in episode 69 and his hanbok in episode 71 .

That’s how I came to the following deduction. After each wrongdoing, the lord offered new clothes: chapter 34 and 69!! Therefore I am inclined to think that after his recent relapse, the master must have given him new clothes. Moreover, if his companion was in danger to catch a cold, he would offer his own clothes. As a conclusion, the lord offers clothes as exchange for his mistakes, a sign of repentance. That’s his way to beg for the artist’s forgiveness. Simultaneously, he also buys new outfits for himself so that the latter are somehow matched to his companion. (chapter 35) (chapter 34) and (chapter 84): grey-burgundy versus black -red. The similarities of the colors should outline their appartenance. Both are belonging to each other. And now, you comprehend why the new shirt is burgundy. It was selected by the noble displaying his own mental disposition. He is not truly alive, he is still tormented by his past and pangs of conscience.

Burgundy: a dark purplish red, it is more sophisticated and serious and less energetic than true red. It indicates controlled power, determined ambition and dignified action and is often favored by the wealthy.” quoted from

2. Blue or grey?

Now, it is time to examine Baek Na-Kyum’s scarf. First, before interpreting the symbolism behind this item, it’s necessary to determine the color. The majority saw it as blue and they were right. (chapter 69) However, they were referring to the one in episode 69. What everyone failed to recognize is that the scarf in episode 69 is not the same than in episode 44. Note the slight difference: In episode 44, it is definitely grey and there’s no blue. That’s how I realize that in episode 69, Yoon Seungho offered his own scarf to the painter!! In other words, in the first season, the noble bought a set of clothes for the artist and himself: a grey muffler with a hat for the artist, a dark blue grey scarf for himself! That’s how I realized that when the lord ordered new clothes for Baek Na-Kyum, he bought new clothes for himself too which led me to the discovery in chapter 34. This theory explicates why in chapter 69, he only brought the muffler and no headgear, for the noble is expected to wear his hat. This means, he desired to obtain couple clothes. That sounds cute, right? But there’s more to it.

3. The choice of the colors

What caught my attention is that grey and blue have something in common. They are associated to melancholy, sadness and depression.

“Blue: Negative keywords include: […] depressed and sad, too passive, self-righteous, superstitious and emotionally unstable, too conservative and old-fashioned, predictable and weak, unforgiving, aloof and frigid. It can also indicate manipulation, unfaithfulness and being untrustworthy.” quoted from

Grey: Negative keywords include: indecisive, non-emotional, indifferent, boring, sad, depressed, lifeless, lonely, isolated”. quoted from

This truly outlines the noble’s mental state at the end of the season 1. He was actually depressed and sad! Why? It is because he had decided to release the painter. When he made love to the painter, he realized that he couldn’t console the artist. He sensed that if the artist remained by his side, he would become a “prostitute” and we know for sure that Yoon Seungho hates prostitution. This means that he had decided to give up on Baek Na-Kyum and was revoking his previous decision. (chapter 42) Therefore he made the following resolution. He encouraged the low noble to bid farewell to Baek Na-Kyum with the hope that the artist would decide to follow his “master”. (chapter 44) Though he was smiling here, we have to envision that deep down, he was sad and depressed. And I have another evidence for interpreting the lord’s smile in such a way: the painter’s smile. (chapter 44) His smile was fake too here, he was heartbroken. How could he smile, when he asked to throw away his last creation? So when the noble questioned the scholar about the painter, he hoped that the learned sir would meet the artist so that the latter would beg Jung In-Hun to take him. However, the former teacher refused to meet the artist, for he saw no reason why.

From my point of view, Yoon Seungho explained Baek Na-Kyum’s depression with the teacher’s imminent departure. Naturally, he had no idea that the scholar had already betrayed and abandoned the artist. Therefore he thought the artist would follow Jung In-Hun. That’s the reason why Yoon Seungho ordered the hat and the scarf for the artist. He desired Baek Na-Kyum not to suffer from the cold weather. It is also possible that he wished to leave a present to the artist, as a reminder of their time together, something similar to the fake poem. He hoped that Baek Na-Kyum would remember him as a generous noble. But he bought the dark blue grey one for himself, so that he could think of the painter with this scarf. They would be somehow connected with the muffle.

In fact, he bid farewell to the painter, without saying it explicitly. He imagined that since the low noble had left without biding farewell to the artist, the latter would run away. And if this happened, then the wealthy aristocrat would no longer be obliged to sponsor the scholar and could abandon the low-noble. This explicates why the door was left wide open. (chapter 44) This stands in opposition to episode 69, where the main lead hoped the opposite and made the following request: only to the gate. Here, he wished the opposite, but he wasn’t sure if his wish would come true (chapter 69), for Heena could take him away. This explicates why he followed Kim’s suggestion by threatening the kisaeng out of fear, she might return and ask for her brother.

But let’s return our attention to episode 44. And now, you comprehend why the lord chose such dark and depressing colors (grey- dark blue grey). He was himself wounded. How do I know this? The reason is simple. He put himself the scarf on the painter. (chapter 44) That’s the reason why the low-born had a knot made for nobles. Baek Na-Kyum doesn’t know how to do it. Hence in the second season, when he put on the yellow scarf, he knotted it differently: (chapter 74) (chapter 74) Byeonduck only exposed the lord’s action in episode 69. This was his leap of faith, whereas in chapter 44 this gesture had the opposite signification: resignation, loneliness and sadness.

And since I have already discovered that the lord had witnessed the artist’s disappearance and return, you comprehend why the noble felt so happy. He had the impression that the artist had truly chosen him!! Hence they had a second sex marathon, and the lord wrapped his lover in the hanbok with the cranes (chapter 45) which reminds me of the hanbok from chapter 34: .

This discovery is very important, because if you recall the noble’s statement in front of Heena, everyone thought that Yoon Seungho was lying blatantly: (chapter 65) It was not entirely correct. In reality, he was copying his father’s MO. He was reporting a delayed information, in other words he was paltering!! He couldn’t tell the kisaeng that her brother had tried to commit suicide, because that’s what he believed. So when she intruded in the mansion, for the lord, she represented a certain relief, as the lord had a reason to blame the painter. He had tried to escape with his sister’s help, that way he was in no way responsible for the artist’s suicidal attempt. (chapter 65) Notice that he covered the artist’s mouth in that moment, for he didn’t want him to reply to his statement. He didn’t want to hear anything.

The use of paltering in this scene truly confirms my theory that Kim is the real source of Yoon Seungho’s misery, as he represents the worst role model. This is not surprising that the protagonist became a ghost, and acted as a selfish and violent noble, when he desired something for the first time: the painter! From my perspective, Yoon Seungho is not just a reflection of the eldest master Yoon, but also of Kim. It is also very likely that the butler influenced father Yoon in a negative way too due to his belief and misguided advices.

Hence after their Third Wedding night, the lord bought his lover a new scarf, yellow. This reflected his happiness and relief. For him, the painter had become the sun and light in his life. Thus Byeonduck created panels with refraction. (chapter 74) This is not surprising why he was smiling in that episode which could only move the low-born’s heart. Therefore you comprehend why I associated the painter’s clothes in chapter 84 to the ones in episode 44. The readers couldn’t miss the return of the burgundy (chapter 84), a sign that the lord was troubled and depressed. However, one thing was missing: the scarf!! Where is it in episode 84?

It is a sign of the lord’s distress. That’s why he couldn’t pay attention to his lover. Due to the separation, he couldn’t be present to knot the scarf properly. And because he distanced himself from Baek Na-Kyum, the latter started dressing up as a servant again. We have to envision Kim’s intervention again, a new version of this panel: (chapter 52), like for example: “He should do something in this mansion, since he is a servant. He has caused enough trouble to his master.”

Hence I came to the following interpretation: the scarf is a reference of the painter’s nobility! That’s the reason why it is not present in chapter 84, because we have the return of the white head-band!! Observe that each time, he had the scarf on, he never wore the head-band, a symbol for servitude! (chapter 44)

(chapter 51)

(chapteer 52)

And now put yourself in the wealthy protagonist’s shoes, when he saw this: (chapter 61) Not only it gave the impression that the painter was suicidal, but also it signified that Baek Na-Kyum was rejecting to be treated like a “noble”. It was, as if he was claiming that he was just a servant, a low-born!! Therefore it is not surprising that Yoon Seungho chose to treat him as a domestic afterwards.

However, note that he never put him the white headband on! In fact, he brought him back to his bedchamber, for he preferred keeping an eye on his lover, for he feared that the artist could abandon him with his death.

(chapter 84) The absence of the scarf seems to symbolize that the painter has lost the lord’s favor. Yet, like I have already stipulated before, this is just an illusion. This separation exposes the lord’s agony and self-loathing. However, once he returned to his lover’s side, he paid attention to his well-being. This is not surprising that during their reunion, the main lead took care of Baek Na-Kyum’s comfort and put the cover under his butt on the cupboard. (chapter 84) This was his way to “protect the artist’s comfort and health”. (chapter 84) He is making sure not to hurt his wife. To sum up, the artist’s muffle always reflects the lord’s emotional and mental state, but also mirrors Baek Na-Kyum’s real status. In Yoon Seungho’s eyes, the artist is a noble.

4. Kim’s scarf

Yes, by looking at his scarf, I also made another huge discovery. It started with chapter 57: The butler has a white scarf, and everyone is aware of the meaning of this color: innocence and purity. When we all saw this picture, we all envisioned that the butler had rushed to his lord’s side, once he had discovered his disappearance. The way he intervened gave the feeling that he had followed his master like a loyal dog desiring protecting his master.

However, one detail caught my attention. When he entered his master’s bedroom, pay attention to the way he was dressed: Where is the scarf? But more importantly where is the hanbok? And this little detail made me realize that we were all victims of a trick. The valet never rushed to his master’s side. He took his time, for he chose to dress up. (chapter 57) But why would he dress up? It is because he imagined that lord Song was waiting for Yoon Seungho at the tavern. He wanted to make a good impression. Striking is that the hat is covering the white heat-band, while he is wearing the scarf. The hanbok and the scarf indicate that Kim is acting as a noble in the end. However, since he hates nobles for he views them as brutal liars, he is not dropping the white headband and his hat is not the same than his master’. On the other hand, I believe that unconsciously, the hat is there to mask his real status. Let’s not forget that we should always differentiate between conscious and unconscious in this manhwa. In my eyes, Kim has always viewed himself as an aristocrat due to his pride and entitlement, because he acts like one! On the other hand, due to his hatred for nobility, he can’t become a noble entirely. Besides, he hates responsibility, hence he chose to remain a butler, the lord’s right-hand. That way, he can always avoid accountability. This explicates why we have a combination of both. The manhwaphiles should keep in their mind that the butler embodies hypocrisy. He hates sodomy, yet he pushed his master to become a kisaeng.

But let’s return our attention to the butler’s actions. The latter changed his clothes before leaving the propriety. However, because of his scared face (chapter 56), there’s no doubt that he was not eager to meet lord Song so soon!! (chapter 56) This means, he decided to arrive late on purpose, a new version of this situation: (chapter 50). Kim wanted his master to take the whole burden, while at the same time, he desired to give the impression that he was acting as Yoon Seungho’s guardian. This explicates why first he brought Baek Na-Kyum to the physician, before going to the tavern. (chapter 57) As you can detect, the valet took his time in the end. However, once he got there, he realized the absence of lord Song, hence he only intervened after Yoon Seungho had caused a ruckus. He definitely faked concern and care , while in truth he was not willing to become responsible for the meeting. He arrived late, because Yoon Seungho should clean up the mess made with the frightening lord Song. Let’s not forget that lord Song got banished too. (chapter 83) And there’s no doubt that the butler is the one who caused this mess. That’s why he felt so scared (chapter 57) and was trying to buy some time. Yoon Seungho should take the blame. However, he never pondered why lord Song would ask for a meeting in a tavern!! I doubt that this is a place that such a noble would be frequenting!

Striking is that after putting the protagonist on the wooden planks, the butler vanished one more time. Where is he, when Jihwa confesses? (chapter 57) This is the last image we have, before Jihwa comes to his friend’s side and kneels in front of him. (chapter 57) Where is Kim? He let the two nobles cause a ruckus… However, he portrays himself as a martyr. (chapter 57) He had to deal with two terrible nobles, while he let everything happen. During this whole time, he remained passive, though he gives the opposite impression. Another important detail is his next reaction. (chapter 57) He hides his whole face, when he expresses relief!! I am suspecting him to be smiling and happy here. Lord Song was not present, this was what mattered the most for him. As you can see, because of the butler’s scarf, I discovered many new elements.

5. Jihwa’s red scarf

So what does Lee Jihwa’s red scarf represent? Note that the color of the muffle is burgundy.

Burgundy: a dark purplish red, it is more sophisticated and serious and less energetic than true red. It indicates controlled power, determined ambition and dignified action and is often favored by the wealthy.” quoted from

Striking is that in that scene, Lee Jihwa was the one under pressure, therefore he had no controlled power. (chapter 57) On the other hand, in front of people, he expressed his wish, he wanted to love Yoon Seungho more openly. Thus we could say that he had not given up on his dream and was still determined to achieve it (“ambition”). Nevertheless, since the red is associated to passion and love, we could say that the scarf was announcing his love confession. Nonetheless, red is also associated to blood and as such to anger. This is not surprising that this love confession was full of resent and reproaches. (chapter 57) He blamed his childhood friend for ruining him. (chapter 57) He was definitely trying to wound the protagonist with his words, especially when he stated this: (chapter 57) How could he say this, when he knows about Yoon Seungho’s terrible past? (chapter 83) Was he trying to remind him that he used to be treated like an animal? He was terrible because of his boldness and his “sodomy”, yet Lee Jihwa is generous enough to overlook his recklessness. Did he want to say that Yoon Seungho should be thankful that Lee Jihwa is willing to embrace him despite his past status, when he was just a kisaeng? (chapter 57) This is not surprising that Yoon seungho could only reject the red-haired noble and why Lee Jihwa regretted his actions later. (chapter 61) The expression of regrets resemble a lot to the love confession in episode 57 due to the idiom “ruin“. And it is very likely that the criminal‘s terrible description about the murder could have reminded Lee Jihwa of the past and as such of the purge. Striking is that the second lead had no red scarf during the abduction, hence his words (chapter 60) were not referring to love at all. He only thought of his affection and friend in the shed, but said nothing. However, Nameless could perceive his true thoughts, thereby he stopped him.

One thing is sure: I judge the red scarf as something negative. The second lead’s love was superficial, for it is only covering the throat, and as such it is connected to the mouth. He might have said “I adore you” to his friend, yet this was not a real true love, for Lee Jihwa has never treated his friend properly. He has always abandoned him, when he felt cornered and was afraid of getting caught. The red scarf symbolizes Lee Jihwa’s superficial and selfish love. That’s why he waited for his friend, he desired him to make the first move. (“burgundy = passivity”)

This contrasts so much to the protagonists’ clothes. Both are wearing shirts in pink or red or hanboks in burgundy (chapter 34, 44 and 45). Yoon Seungho’s affection might be dark, but it is related to his darkness which occurred in his youth. Yet, note that for the first time, the lord chose a more bright red, a sign that his darkness is slowly getting removed from his soul. This explicates why the painter is now the one wearing a burgundy shirt. He is taking away his darkness, removing the poison from his soul. He is now worrying for his lover’s mental state. The shirt reflects his concern and care.

As a conclusion, even the scarf plays a huge role in this story.

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Painter Of The Night: Sex and drugs 💉💊

This is where you can read the manhwa. 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: 

Feel free to make some donations/sponsoring:  That way, you can support me with “coffee” so that I have the energy to keep examining manhwas.

I have to admit that when I chose this title, I imagined that this analysis would be very short, for I mainly desired to talk about Min. However, the more I pondered about the content of this essay, I realized that I should actually include all the drugs in Painter Of The Night. This led me to examine all the other characters suffering from drug addictions. That’s how I made new discoveries again.

1. The drugs in Painter

First, it is important to list the drugs present in this manhwa. We have alcohol (chapter 75), tobacco (chapter 61) and opium (chapter 52).

And because Min and his friends brought opium to the Yoon’s residence and the main lead was present, the readers jumped to the conclusion that the main lead would smoke opium too. (chapter 52) And this perception got reinforced, when the butler confided this to the physician later: (chapter 55) Many readers had the impression that Yoon Seungho had been smoking opium, many went so far to imagine that he had been smoking opium right from the beginning. (chapter 5) However, this was just a lie. Yoon Seungho never smoke opium!!

2. Yoon Seungho’s true addiction

And now, it is time to prove my interpretation. First, you’ll realize the deception, once you read the side effects of opium:

Short term effects may include: 1. euphoria, 2. relaxation, 3. analgesia” quoted from

This drug has a sedative effect, therefore the opium smoker falls into a torpor and semi-sleep. And we know that Yoon Seungho avoids sleep, for he is plagued by nightmares. (chapter 74) Hence consuming opium would even instigate his nightmares. In addition, observe that in chapter 5, Yoon Seungho was never euphoric nor sleepy. He could interact with the painter normally.

Nicotine causes a range of effects on both the body and mind, including:

Decreased appetite

Heightened mood […]




Better memory

Increased alertness

As you can see, nicotine increases alertness and memory. Therefore the lord never forgot the words from the painter during the day. They bothered him so much that he kept thinking about his own image: (chapter 05) As you can see, Yoon Seungho had a drug addiction, nitocine.

One might argue that he started smoking opium only later.

And now, pay attention to this image. (chapter 52) The noble in the background was the one smoking opium. Besides, the manhwaphiles will certainly remember how Yoon Seungho behaved in that scene. He heard Min’s words addressed to the painter, he walked straight to Black Heart in order to protect his lover, well aware that Min would invite the painter to join the party. (chapter 52) This means, he was conscious and alert. Besides, we saw him later getting in rage (chapter 53). Here, I would like the manhwaphiles to keep in mind that side effects of opium like euphoria, relaxation and analgesia last for at least 3 to 6 hours. So this outburst of rage is an indication that our protagonist was not under the influence of opium. He was not hallucinating either. He had grasped the whole situation, when he heard Deok-Jae predicting a terrible fate to the artist. In addition, this drug is not considered as a poison inducing psychosis.

opiates are the only sedative drugs that possess an anti-psychotic effect.” quoted from

However, this doesn’t mean that an user from opium won’t suffer from any psychotic symptoms. They are more related to withdrawals or to hallucinations due to the big consumption of opium.

However, one of the side effects of nicotine is heightened mood, this would explicate his outburst of rage and his irritability right after smoking tobacco. (chapter 52) This explicates why he beat Min and Deok-Jae so furiously, he wasn’t acting under the influence of hallucinations. He was perceptive, he had clearly understood the meaning behind the servant and the noble’s words. As you can see, the lord’s mood swings were more triggered by his addiction to nicotine. This explicates why the main lead had such a violent outburst in the shed after the abduction. He had smoked tobacco the whole day. (chapter 61) Remember how I compared him to dormant volcano, here he was boiling internally.

On the other hand, a person consuming opium will show signs of withdrawals 24 hours after the use. And these are the following signs of opioid withdrawal: Anxiety, insomnia, sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, shaking, yawning, restlessness, widened pupils, body aches, seizures, hallucinations, body aches, rapid breathing, fast heartbeat and more importantly irritability.

Min shows all the signs of a withdrawal in chapter 76. First, he vomits, but hides it under the excuse, he drank too much. He gets in rage, when No-Name calls him a fool. He can no longer keep his mask contrary to the altercation in episode 41, when Yoon Seungho compared him to a mouse: (chapter 41) Besides, we have another evidence that Black Heart has developed an addiction to opium with the following panel: (chapter 76) The gaze is different, an indication of the widened pupils. Furthermore, his restlessness is perceptible the way he approaches The Joker. This time, he has to meet the criminal personally. We could say that he rushes to meet the criminal. Like he said, he was “running out of time”… (chapter 76) These words reflect his own troubled mind.

However, you can see that the lord didn’t get any sign of withdrawal after that terrible night in episode 52. Yes, he got sick, but it is because he didn’t sleep and he had no clothes on. Therefore he caught a cold. Let’s not forget that he had lived for a week without eating or sleeping properly. But my most conclusive evidence is this panel:

(chapter 74) Observe the painter’s reaction. He is coughing, he doesn’t seem affected by the smoke, while he had a total different reaction in chapter 54: Note the euphoria and the sedative effect on the artist’s face. This explicates why he didn’t push the rapists away.

As a conclusion, Yoon Seungho is not addicted to opium, he never smoked it. The aristocrats chose his place to smoke it, because they wouldn’t be caught by their parents. That’s the reason why the noble said this to Black Heart. (chapter 53) They wanted to smoke this drug there, for no one would interrupt them. But because Yoon Seungho let them smoke opium, he became guilty by association: he was also an opium smoker. And the readers had fallen into the same trap. As you can see, I believe that the author is using the method on the manhwaphiles. They are misled by what they see and hear without questioning the authenticity of the statement.

The manhwaphiles will say that Yoon Seungho has another addiction: alcohol. (chapter 55) However, this is another deception. Yoon Seungho is no alcoholic either!! 😲

I have many evidences for this. First, notice that during the first sex orgy, there was no drink and food offered. It was simply sex!! (chapter 08) So his debauchery was linked to sex and nothing more. He would live for sex and nothing else. Furthermore, the manhwalovers will certainly recall the lord’s behavior in the tavern. He ordered wine(chapter 75), but notice that he never became drunk like the painter. (chapter 75) The main lead can consume wine in moderation contrary to the painter!! Therefore he has no addiction to alcohol.

And this is different for Baek Na-Kyum, who became a drunk after his abandonment. (chapter 1) Notice that each time, Baek Na-Kyum would drink alcohol, he could never stop until he almost lost consciousness and started hallucinating (chapter 19) or he would be so inhibited that he couldn’t walk properly. These were the sign of his addiction. I can’t forget the lord’s words in episode 75: (chapter 75) Here, he saw how the alcohol was affecting his lover’s behavior.

Notice that at no moment during the night (52-53-54), Yoon Seungho walked under the influence of alcohol. His feet were the proof that he never consumed wine to the point he would lose consciousness or started hallucinating. (chapter 53) He was walking straight. When the readers saw the following image, they saw it as a confirmation that Yoon Seungho was a drunk. (chapter 54) But in truth, he took some wine in order to overcome his pain, to give himself some “courage” to go through. He had longed for the artist’s warmth after a week of separation, but he knew that Baek Na-Kyum viewed sex as prostitution. He was alert enough to see the consequences of his decision (chapter 54), therefore he broke the bottle. (chapter 54) This is no coincidence that he destroyed the bottle of wine. He had the impression that this drug was the cause for his “hallucination”, he was seeing the painter in ecstasy which could only remind him of his own past. Besides, he didn’t want his companion to become a shadow of himself: (chapter 54) He recognized the perversion of the artist’s redness and lost gaze. He loved him for his pure gaze and blushing.

For an alcoholic, a single drop of alcohol is a synonym for a relapse. Hence the addicted has to avoid anything related to alcohol, like vinegar or medicine containing alcohol. So when the lord proposed the wine, he had no idea about the consequences of his offer. So imagine his reaction, when he heard this: (chapter 75) The lord was responsible for his relapse!! Naturally, this could only pain the lord, for the latter wanted to make his lover smile. On the surface, Baek Na-Kyum’s words were reflecting the truth, as the master had encouraged his lover to take the soju. Hence Yoon Seungho could only feel accountable for this situation. He decided to act as a mature man who should take care of his lover’s intoxication. On the other hand, during the whole dating, Yoon Seungho always remained clear-minded, this was another indication that he never abused alcohol.

So when he said this to Bongyong (chapter 78), I believe that Yoon Seungho never proposed too much wine to his lover afterwards. He had made the experience that if he did, he would be the reason why Baek Na-Kyum would become a drunk. In my opinion, the painter’s relapse was linked to his own suffering, he was tormented by the idea that Yoon Seungho would abandon him, his affection was not deep. Since they had no longer any sex, he had the impression that Yoon Seungho’s love for him was vanishing. As you can see, the painter’s dependency to wine was linked to his repressed libido and his fear of abandonment.

As a conclusion, Yoon Seungho was never addicted to opium or wine. However, this doesn’t mean that nicotine addiction is no big deal. In truth, this drug is as unhealthy as any other drug. The withdrawals are only perceptible, when a consumer stops smoking. The addiction is never obvious like opium or heroine. In addition, the body doesn’t just get poisoned because of nicotine, but the latter also affects sexuality and as such relationships.

The investigators began to realize that smoking actually became a method of subtle communication for members of the couples being studied. Lighting up gave clues to each partner that it was time to talk, time to give space, or even time to defend yourself because a world-class argument was about to begin. federally funded study is scheduled to go on for another year, and hopefully, will provide methods to help counsel couples how to recognize cigarettes as an abusive third member of their relationship. If couples are going to weed the habit from their lives, the researchers say they will have to find other ways to relate to each other, and more often than just during the familiar after-sex smoke. And of course, as Jordan found, smoking can directly torpedo the sex, too.” quoted from

3. The truth behind Kim’s statement

But then why would the butler describe his master as a man addicted to wine and alcohol (chapter 55), if this was not correct? It is related to the situation how the lord became ill: the orgies and more precisely the presence of Black Heart.

What caught my attention is this: (chapter 33) Compare this sex orgy with the following one: (chapter 8) At Black Heart’s party, wine and tobacco were offered, while in Yoon Seungho’s bedchamber you only had books, pictures and sex. Besides, there were more guests. As you can sense, the parties were totally different: austerity versus luxuriousness. Yes, Min wanted to impress his host Yoon Seungho!! He desired to show him what a true sex orgy was. He desired to prove that he was the real hell-raiser, the real king among nobles.

Besides, another detail caught my attention: (chapter 33) The Joker and the bottle of wine!! The manhwaphiles will certainly recall how the villain offered the expensive alcohol to Yoon Seungho (chapter 19). Moreover, I realized that in episode 33, we have a slight change. While Black Heart is seen first with the pipe full of tobacco, (chapter 33), slowly the author brought the villain in connection to the bottle of wine: And at the end, we have this: (chapter 33) The pipe is no longer present, but Byeonduck focused on the bottle. In my eyes, she desired to outline that Min was slowly getting addicted to alcohol. This means, Black Heart is not only addicted to nicotine and opium, but also wine! Notice this:

  • chapter 43:
  • Chapter 83: .

In these two scenes, Min was serving alcohol or encouraging Jihwa to drink! And now, you have an explanation why the red-haired master became a drunk, when he got abandoned by his lover or tormented by the murder plan. Black Heart was the one introducing this addiction to the second lead. And this interpretation becomes more visible, if the manhwaphiles revisit the event around the failed gangrape.

chapter 51

The person laughing so loudly was in reality Min. You recognize him with his green hanbok. So he was visiting his “acquaintance” and was drinking wine there. While the maid thought, the lord would be the drunk one (chapter 51), I believe that Black Heart was the main consumer!! And now, you comprehend why Yoon Seungho fell into debauchery. (Chapter 55) There was this peer pressure coming Min, who loved luxurious parties. But these parties were no longer sex orgies, for the protagonist was no longer interested in sex. He needed to offer something else to his guests: alcohol and food. Therefore the last picture above is actually more deceiving the readers than anything else. It gives the impression that Yoon Seungho was consuming wine all the time, while in truth he was killing time with these parties. He was alert for the most part of time keeping his thoughts to himself.

But like I outlined above, Black Heart was the one who became more and more addicted. First nicotine, then wine and finally opium. But why? Notice that this coincides with his obsession with the painter. He grabbed the bottle of wine (chapter 33), when Yoon Seungho refused to share his painter with him. So when he heard that Yoon Seungho was organizing parties again, he envisioned that his plan had succeeded. Hence he visited the mansion, yet his loud laugh was actually masking his pain. (chapter 51) He was far from happy, for his fixation on Baek Na-Kyum had not disappeared at all. Therefore, it is not surprising that he started drowning his sorrow. However, alcohol was no longer effective, he needed something stronger to dull his agony. That’s how he discovered opium. And notice that when the lord got punched in the propriety, he felt no pain. (chapter 54) He didn’t protect himself, he had no strength because of the relaxing and sedative effect. He even laughed, a sign that he was under the effect of the drug. (Chapter 54)

However, this doesn’t mean that Min left the house happily! All the guests got evicted like vulgar commoners. His ego was definitely hurt, just like the other nobles’. Therefore on his way out, he told Kim that they had been evicted due to Yoon Seungho’s intoxication. He was under the influence of alcohol and opium. That way, appearances were saved. For the butler, the truth didn’t matter. He could just portray his master as a man living in debauchery, so that no one would ever blame him for this! The appearances were against him. He had indeed organized parties, but they were no longer sex orgies.

The most infuriating is that the butler was to blame for this “relapse”. He had made sure that the painter and his lord would no longer be together. Since he had no sex, then he could only offer wine and food. But there’s another point why I don’t believe that Yoon Seungho ever consumed opium. Since this drug was illegal in Joseon, the butler would have to dirty his own hands to buy such a thing. Besides, notice that the nobles brought the drug themselves. (Chapter 52) This shows that the aristocrats had to buy the opium themselves. This was too dangerous to give this task to a domestic, the latter could definitely betray them. So when Black Heart said that the main lead was smoking opium, his true goal was to ruin the main lead’s reputation. And for Kim, it was perfect. He needed his master to have a bad reputation so that he could live his life peacefully.

4. The connection between sex and drugs

In my opinion, Min’s addictions are his karma. He had to pay a huge price for plotting in order to obtain the painter. He became more and more addicted to the wine, and later to the opium, when he thought that his plan had succeeded. In other words, his opium’s addiction is the divine retribution for hurting the shaman. The irony is that his obsession for Baek Na-Kyum never disappeared. In other words, since he couldn’t have sex with the painter, he replaced sex with drugs. That’s how I realized the following connection. Baek Na-Kyum, Jihwa and Black Heart used drugs to cover up the absence of sex and indirectly love. For me, they somehow symbolize a subterfuge, to mask the absence of passion.

Notice that the artist’s libido is strongly intertwined with the paintings, so the moment he could no longer paint, he was forced to become chaste. Hence he started drinking. (chapter 75) This strong connection between sex and drugs gets even confirmed in the same episode. Notice that in that scene, Yoon Seungho had not sex with the painter for a while, and Baek Na-Kyum was definitely missing it. Naturally, his true desire was to get loved by his companion. For the low-born, sex is a symbol of love. Hence he drunk because of Yoon Seungho. (chapter 75) He felt the need to fill the void. But I believe that the incident with Nameless was a wake-up call for the artist. Through the hug and the music box, he realized that the lord’s affection had not diminished at all. And now, you comprehend why the painter is no longer addicted to the wine. He no longer feels awful and fears abandonment…

As for Jihwa, he drank, when he was happy, for he imagined that he would get his friend’s attention again, or when he was sad, for he had been repudiated. Once he got abandoned, he could no longer have sex… (chapter 36) and he drowned his sorrow in wine. (chapter 59) However, this association between alcohol and his lust for Yoon Seungho started changing, after Jihwa had sex with Nameless. Notice that in episode 83, he is no longer looking like a wreck. (chapter 83) He is still biting his nails, a sign of remorse and fears, but he is no longer obsessed with Yoon Seungho. From my point of view, the torments the second lead suffered in the second season played a huge role. He started drinking alcohol for another reason. (chapter 50) This time, he got afraid of the consequences for the murder. As you can perceive it, there was a slight shifting. This shows that the wine became less and less connected to his obsession with his childhood friend, his desire to have him. This explicates why he was so devastated at the end of the second season. Out of guilt and anxiety, he started drinking again. (chapter 76)

And now, we have to wonder why Lee Jihwa doesn’t seem plagued like in the past. (chapter 83)It is because his father got involved again, and visited father Yoon. The second lead imagines that after his father’s intervention, his problems will be solved. He won’t have to fear for his life, for Yoon Seungho will be sent away to his father. (chapter 82) He knows about his father’s plan. If Yoon Seungho is forced to submit himself to his father, he won’t be able to use his wealth and power to attack him. That’s the reason why he is no longer looking like a wreck. In other words, he is well aware what is going to happen to his friend. He witnessed the abuse, but he doesn’t care, for his “life is in danger”. 🙄 As for Min, he looks more healthy again (chapter 83), for he had to plot in order to achieve his goal. He needed to find a new puppet, lord Lee, and as such he needed to make a good impression. He had to become proactive and become more directly involved. Hence he needed to be more alert.

As for Yoon Seungho’s addiction, it becomes obvious why Yoon Seungho smoked in the past. It was not related to sex, but to his inner turmoil. He had to calm down his frustration and negative emotions. Notice that only he smoked during the day, a sign that this was not connected to sex at all. However, it started changing too. Yoon Seungho felt the need to smoke while having sex with the painter (chapter 45), for he felt something was missing. Consequently, this is not surprising why Yoon Seungho had a sex marathon in the shed after smoking the whole day. It was to contain his rage, but also to mask his strong desire for the painter. What caught my attention is that after their love session, the main lead started smoking again, exactly like in the past. (Chapter 74)However, there is a huge difference. In my opinion, he was trying to control his sexual desires. Remember the quote above: nicotine has a huge effect on libido. That’s another reason why Yoon Seungho was so chaste in the study: (chapter 74)

However, what caught my attention is that during the third season, we never see Yoon Seungho smoking. Though he hurt the painter and felt terrible, he decided to leave the mansion in order to hunt. He wanted to vent his anger and hide his anxieties: (chapter 83) This observation is important, for it shows that he is no longer using tobacco to hide his inner turmoil. That’s why I believe that Yoon Seungho’s addiction was originally linked to his traumas. It was his way to “anesthetize his emotions”, he had the impression that he would become more clear-sighted.

5. Personality and drugs

I have to admit that when I started preparing this analysis, I tried to discover why Min, who is a psychopath, would come to consume drugs. That’s how I discovered that personality indeed plays a huge role.

The Five-Factor Model of Personality

The Five-Factor Model of Personality is a group of five broad trait aspects that help explain personality differences and people’s behavior. The five traits include:

Extraversion- is when someone enjoys being around other people more than being alone.

Neuroticism- is the tendency to be in a negative, stressed, or anxious emotional state.

Agreeableness- is a set of characteristics perceived by others as being sympathetic, warm, kind, and considerate.

Conscientiousness- is being careful or diligent, hoping to do a job or task successfully, and to take obligations seriously. Conscientious people tend to be organized and efficient.

Openness to Experience- indicates how open-minded a person is, and is characterized by being imaginative and curious, and enjoyment in trying new things.

Generally, those who use drugs or alcohol are characterized by having high Neuroticism, high Openness to Experience, low Agreeableness, and low Conscientiousness.

quoted from

After reading this quote, you can recognize that Black Heart has a predisposition for addiction. He fits the following profile: “high Neuroticism, high Openness to Experience, low Agreeableness, and low Conscientiousness”. He loves experiencing new things (chapter 52), he is always seeking entertainment (chapter 66), a sign that he is not hardworking. He is very sensitive to criticisms, which was underlined in chapter 83 one more time. (chapter 83) Therefore I tried to find out if persons suffering from Antisocial Personality Disorder could be suffering emotionally, though they are supposed not to feel any pain and empathy. And yes, such persons are definitely not happy, for they are often lonely.

psychopaths may be unhappy due to the quality of their interpersonal relationships. Romantic relationships and friendships are critical to happiness. […] The results from our studies suggest that people with high levels of psychopathic tendencies are generally unhappy. They show low levels of positive emotions and life satisfaction, and high levels of negative emotions and depression. Further, this unhappiness is partially explained by the poor quality of their romantic relationships. ” quoted from

This explicates why Min was so obsessed with Baek Na-Kyum. (chapter 9) He felt lonely, and hoped that the artist would give him the same gaze, when he looked at the protagonist. He had already snatched Lee Jihwa, but the latter was too obsessed with his childhood friend to look at him in a different way. Min was definitely longing for love, but he could never admit it. Striking is that Min picked his “bride”, exactly like the psychologist Love described it:

For instance, Love notes that individuals high on the psychopathy spectrum prefer friends who contribute to their volatile lifestyles, such as criminals, fellow thrill-seekers, or ego-feeding suck-ups. Teaching psychopaths how to form healthier, more positive, interpersonal relationships with emotionally stable individuals, however, may help to reduce their antisocial behaviors.” quoted from

And now, you comprehend why Min was dissatisfied with Lee Jihwa in the end. The latter was a delinquent, a selfish man who desired Yoon Seungho’s constant attention. He could never give him the attention and love Black Heart was longing. (chapter 66) Hence he could only view the second lead as his puppet. That’s why The Joker had to use “drugs” to mask his emptiness and longing for affection.

On the other hand, the Five-Factor Model of Personality explicates why Yoon Seungho never fell into debauchery so deeply. First, he didn’t have many addictions despite suffering for a decade. His tumultuous sex life was influenced by the brainwashing and his traumatic past. In my opinion, the principles from Taoism were another reason why the protagonist never became a drunk or desired to smoke opium. Then he reads books, but no one knows this except the butler. Finally, he definitely worked hard, for he could gather wealth and create connections. From my point of view, the enemies are definitely underestimating his power.

As a conclusion, when in chapter 52 we had this cold war between Black Heart and Yoon Seungho, we didn’t assist to a sex party, but to a drug party: tobacco, opium and wine. There was no sex at all!! Hence Yoon Seungho had no erection… however, they attempted to turn this into a sex orgy (chapter 54), but fortunately they failed. Thus when I look again at this sex orgy (chapter 8), I can only view this as quite harmless: this party reflected the main lead’s purity. He is definitely no hell-raiser!! The real one is Black Heart, but father Lee has not realized it yet, for he believes in reputation and rumors. Since Min was able to keep his name intact, the lord Lee trusted in the noble’s integrity. He never discovered that his son was under the influence of a vicious and perverted man. I would say now, Jihwa is supporting a murderer. (chapter 83)

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