This is where you can read the manhwa. 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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As you can see, this new analysis is quite similar to the last two, as I am paying attention to sound and silence again. Nevertheless, there exists one huge difference to the previous essays. I am combining these elements to the darkness and the light. I had already pointed out the contrast between the noble and the painter‘s nightmare. While Yoon Seungho‘s bad vision starts with the appearance of the light (chapter 74), it is the opposite with the painter. (chapter 98) Furthermore, the silence in the noble’s nightmare took over the moment the candle was switched on. That’s how I recognize a new pattern. The combination between silence and light plays a huge role in the story, for it helps to unmask the traitors. Under this new observation, I decided to revisit certain chapters.
1. Lord Song‘s letter
As you can see, I am reexamining chapter 56, and more precisely the scene in the bedchamber. What caught my attention is that contrary to the other chapters, Byeonduck didn’t choose to repeat the ending of episode 55. (chapter 55) The chapter begins in medias res (chapter 56), which means that there’s no introduction, the story starts in the middle of the action. And now, it is important to question ourselves about the intention of the author. Why did she change her MO? I found the answer the instant I realized the importance of the two following aspects. The light… and the sound, in this case: HAA… (chapter 56) In the past I used to think that this scene had occurred early in the morning. But now, I am thinking otherwise. In truth, right after receiving the letter, the butler went to the bedchamber directly and woke up his master!! This signifies that this scene took place during the night. But how did he do it? He just needed to remove the light from the bed and lit other candles. That’s the reason why the candles are positioned like during the night of the brother’s visit. (chapter 56) Besides, the manhwaphiles should remember the way the room was enlightened, when Baek Na-Kyum was keeping company to his lover. (chapter 55) It was quite dark. (chapter 55) And strangely, the main lead could sleep comfortably. He was not plagued by a nightmare. (chapter 55) He could even sense the artist’s presence unconsciously, therefore he confirmed his affection for the painter. And now, you can imagine what happened. Once the valet received the letter, he went to the bedchamber directly and sent Baek Na-Kyum back to his bedroom under the pretense that he would take care of his master himself. However, the moment Baek Na-Kyum had left his side, the valet lit more candles (chapter 74) and positioned them far away, which triggered the lord’s nightmare. But why? It is because the light creates shadows like this one. (chapter special episode 3) Note that there’s no candle placed next to the entrance of the lord’s bedchamber for that reason. The noble only feels comfortable, if the light is situated close to his face, because that way he won’t see any shadow. Thus we have such a scene in the first season. (chapter 35) The candles are always placed next to his bed. And now you comprehend why the lord moved to the patio during their first night together. (chapter 38) He didn’t want to disturb the painter in his sleep, for he needs light during the night, but only next to him. This explicates why Yoon Seungho woke up from his nightmare right away, when the bougie had been blown out. (chapter 74) But how did it happen? Was it the work from the wind or the candle was extinguished by the protagonist’s heavy breath or was Kim behind this? Because I had no answer before, I had not mentioned this observation. Fortunately, my friend Luzyla came to my rescue and gave me the answer which I totally support. Kim must have intervened during that night, because for the first time, the nightmare was becoming more precise. But how did she confirm my suspicion? It is because the butler had this image, when he tried to convince the painter that nothing would change. This panel (chapter 87) represented the butler’s memory. This means that the butler must have seen him from the outside. He didn’t want the painter to discover the lord’s suffering. And it worked, for the lord never let this transpire to the painter after that night. And now, you comprehend why the butler had to make sure that the couple would no longer sleep together at the end of the second season. But let’s return our attention to episode 56.
So when the butler placed the candlestick on the commode, he caused a flashback to the main lead. But the valet knew about this. However, he chose to feign ignorance and must have said something similar: (chapter 34) The entire time he acted, as if Yoon Seungho was fine, for he was conscious. Then he gave the letter to his master and knelt far away from him while looking down. (chapter 56) On the surface, it looked like Kim was showing great respect to his lord. Yet the reality was totally different. He was avoiding his gaze and didn’t want to be near him. The butler’s attitude explicates why in chapter 86, the lord pushed the artist away. (chapter 86) The former has long internalized that he is scary and dirty. Yet the truth is that the butler’s gaze reflects his hatred, for he considers him as responsible for his own misery. Don’t forget that he is tormented in the presence of Yoon Seungho. The latter is a reminder of his own sins. To sum up, for Kim, the reason for his distance and avoidance is simple. He doesn’t want to be confronted with Yoon Seungho’s suffering, for he is refusing to admit his own guilt. The protagonist already knows about this unconsciously. Thus he hid his gaze the entire time. (chapter 56) The first “HAA” weren’t laughs, but the sign of a panic attack. Yes, for the first time the manhwaphiles discovered the lord’s health issue (flashback), but no one truly grasped, not even me. I had imagined that his heavy breathing was related more to pain and his illness. I only recognized the existence of the panic disorder in episode 66, though I was already aware of his PTSD.
In the scene from chapter 56, the valet was following his own philosophy: (chapter 86) He pretended he saw and heard nothing. But how can I be so sure that it was the night? Simply because all the windows were all closed. Thus Byeonduck drew such an image: (chapter 56) Besides, observe that there is more light in the bedchamber, when the butler entered the room later: (chapter 56)
Another important detail is this. Kim was supposed to fetch the medicine for his master, yet when he was kneeling in front of the lord, the manhwalovers can detect the absence of water or teas. (chapter 56) So where is the medicine? But this question only came to my mind, as soon as I realized that this conversation took place during the night.
And now, it is important to determine the purpose of his intervention. Why would he lit the bougies and awaken Yoon Seungho, fully aware that this would trigger a panic attack? Simply because of the letter from lord Song. (chapter 56) He wanted to wash off his hands on this. The moment he conveyed the message to the master, it was no longer his responsibility. If lord Song had truly sent the missive, then Kim could say that this had been his master’s decision to refuse to follow the request, if they were confronted for their disobedience. This means that Kim was lying, when he said, “I am sure lord Song will understand”. He was just expressing an expectation, but there was no guarantee that the mysterious man would be very understanding. In addition, one idiom caught my attention: “If” This was a condition and not a real statement. Kim never said that since Yoon Seungho was ill, he could refuse the invitation. This signifies that the valet refused to confirm the noble’s illness. It was Yoon Seungho’s choice to say if he was feeling ill or not. To conclude, he refused to assume any responsibility. And now, you comprehend why Byeonduck added a drop of sweat on the butler’s face. This was showing his discomfort and deceptions. The man didn’t want to be associated to the noble and become responsible for him.
That’s how I realized another aspect: Kim has always been acting, as if he was helpless. “He couldn’t do anything!” However, this scene exposed his huge hypocrisy. He could have comforted his master with words here and offer real support. He was totally silent in that matter. He chose to occult the flashback. On the other hand, he was definitely good at lip service, for many readers saw his words as genuine concern. People had even the impression that Kim was oozing responsibility, calmness and rationality. But this was not the case, deep down he was so scared, thus the moment the name was spoken, he had some difficulties to swallow his saliva. (chapter 56)
This explicates why at no moment, Kim was willing to protect Yoon Seungho. (chapter 56) The former would give him suggestions, but Kim never made a promise that he would help him as a witness. Note the absence of the personal pronoun “I”, whereas “you” is constantly used. The only time he employs “I” is concerning belief and expectation. But his cowardice doesn’t end here. Once he was asked about the artist’s whereabouts, (chapter 56) he proposed to fetch the boy. Why? It is because the butler didn’t want to be confronted any longer with the lord’s panic attack, though he had been the one to trigger it! But he didn’t care, for his true goal was to save his own skin. Should lord Song get angry, Kim could definitely use the truth to his advantage. He had delivered the letter right away, and the noble had been well enough, since he woke up and read him the content. (chapter 56) 🙄 Under this new light, I couldn’t help myself shaking my head, when I read this from the butler. (chapter 56) His words implied that the lord had woken up on his own, whereas in reality the butler was the cause for this. Kim knew that his master would never go back to sleep after their conversation. This explicates why the candlestick was placed again at the head of the bed. (chapter 56) I can envision that the valet had left his lord behind under the pretense that he should go back to sleep, for he was still sick.
Then I wondered myself why Yoon Seungho would read the missive loud. It is because he believes that the butler can not read. However, what he doesn’t know is that the man can read calligraphes. This explicates why he handed over the letter immediately. He couldn’t keep it, for if the invitation was true, he could have been blamed. And this is important, because in the third season, we have the reverse situation. Kim let the maids deal with the kisaeng’s letters so that if anyone had to become responsible for them, it would be the maids and the lord, but not him. However, as you can envision, Kim must have talked to the maid similarly: “I am sure lord Seungho will understand.” And since the butler got away with it in the second season, it was the same for the maids. Why? It is because it creates the illusion that the maids were taking the lord’s best interests into consideration. However, they had become the painter‘s companions. This means that they had betrayed him. It was not their position to act on their own. As you can see, the maids had a similar behavior than the butler‘s. What caught my attention is that the aristocrat was viewing Kim as accountable for the actions of the staff. Yes, this was the result of Baek Na-Kyum’s desertion and abduction. The moment he used the painter as shield for his own safety and to cover up his disobedience (chapter 68), his fate was strongly intertwined with the artist’s. But it changed, when the lord heard that Baek Na-Kyum was blamed for his insomnia and he hadn’t been able to meet the artist during broad light (chapter 79), he punished Kim. It was, as if the butler had failed to protect the artist. And because the painter‘s visit to his bedchamber had taken place during the day, it revealed his loneliness. That‘s the reason why I believe that this conversation pushed the lord to give the maids to the artist. They should become his ladies-in-waiting so that he had someone he could talk to. However, Yoon Seungho never let the butler know about the true reason for his punishment. He used the father as subterfuge. Finally, we shouldn’t overlook the valet’s pledge: he swore that he would serve the lord. (chapter 77) This means that he was now judged as accountable for his actions in front of Yoon Seungho. However, Yoon Seungho made a huge mistake, because the moment he brought up the father, he was acting as if Yoon Chang-Hyeon was the owner of the mansion. He was now Young master and not Lord Yoon. Yet, his duty was to be a loyal domestic to the protagonist. And now, you comprehend why Kim was reminded of the past, it is because he was put in the same situation than in the past. And what did he do? He made the exact same decision. He sided with Yoon Chang-HYeon, but there existed two divergences from the past. The first difference is that the elder master would listen to his words, and the second is that he lied to his master. (Chapter 77) Here, he was pledging loyalty to Yoon Seungho. Moreover, he is viewed as the eldest servant in the mansion, this means that he is accountable for the staff’s words and actions. However, Kim is making a terrible mistake, for in his mind, past, present and future are the same. (chapter 87) But this is totally incorrect, for the lord is now an adult. Thanks to the painter, Yoon Seungho is on the verge of entering adulthood. Observe that the butler vowed his loyalty to young master Seungho. By calling him “young master”, he treated the protagonist as an infant, but this is no longer possible. This was perceptible, when the main lead met his father. (Chapter 86) He refused to acknowledge him as the owner of the mansion. He took the seat in front of his father. He was now acting as the lord Yoon.
2. Quarrel and darkness
SLAM! What is this sound? I am quite sure that you can recognize it immediately. A door has been opened quite violently. (chapter 85) Strangely is that in that scene, we never heard any STEP, STEP, STEP like here: (chapter 97) There was no sound, therefore I deduced that Kim didn’t run to the study. However, observe that the butler is breathing heavily. It was, as if he was out of breath: HUFF HUFF. (chapter 85) So why would he fake his breathlessness? I am quite certain that you already have the answer. He was hiding the fact that he had been spying on their conversation, which I had mentioned in one of my previous analyses. However, there’s more to it. The other and major intention is to give the impression that he did everything he could for his master. In other words, he is creating the illusion that he could do nothing against the father!! (chapter 87) Yes, that’s his other principle to justify his cowardice, his fear of responsibility. He implied that he had rushed to his master’s side right away to alert him. If asked, he could legitimate his passivity by saying that the father had barged accompanied with 2 guards. But why didn’t he get caught by the protagonists? Simply because he is no longer caring a light contrary to the first season. (chapter 20) (chapter 25) (chapter 36) The night had already fallen, when Yoon Chang Hyeon was present in the mansion. If the butler had carried a chandelier, the painter or the noble would have sensed his presence. Thus I deduce that the butler’s function in the protagonist’s suffering was to lit the room, the moment the pedophile and other sexual abusers approached his prey. That’s the reason why his nightmares are triggered by the sound of a lit bougie and the light accompanied with shadows.
However, this is just an illusion to think that Kim is always carrying a torch. I believe that the butler has more often moved around without light than with. Why? That way his spying activities could not be detected. In truth, he used the light to fake his loyalty and obedience. Even in the first season, he walked in the propriety properly without any candle: (chapter 26) This scene took place in the courtyard. This is the bathroom for the staff which you can see in the background (chapter 30), the grey building with grey bricks. And it happened again in episode 32, in episode 55 and chapter 64: And now look what we have in the third season: (chapter 77) (chapter 82), (chapter 94) and (chapter 98) He is no longer carrying any light, not even for his master. Why? It is because he can spy without being detected. Thus he approached the messenger only after the main lead had left the study. Don’t you find it weird that he acts as if he knew nothing (chapter 82), while he presents himself as the senior domestic in the mansion? (chapter 82) This represents a contradiction. If so, he should have been informed immediately. Thus I come to the conclusion that this scene reveals his incompetence and betrayal. Did he aid the messenger, when the latter got beaten? No, he only made his appearance, after the incident had occurred. And this is not surprising that the other domestic looked down on the butler. (chapter 82) He already knew that he had betrayed his own master through the letters. So I doubt that he viewed Kim as trustworthy. Another important element is that when the butler is seen in connection with the light, he speaks much more, while in the darkness, he remains silent. This is naturally connected to his spying activities. Simultaneously, the words coming from the butler often appear as empty. They remain quite superficial, for the butler is always putting conditions. “If there is anything I can do…”. That’s the reason why the butler doesn’t feel any real concern for the main leads in the end. This is not his business. And now, you are probably wondering why I used “quarrel” in the heading. It is because in episode 85, the butler had heard the argument between the couple. This is relevant, because the butler chose to recreate the same situation in episode 98!! 😲
(chapter 98) In this image, Byeonduck portrayed the servants arguing. They are stressed and screaming at each other: “I told you”. They give the impression that they are trying to do anything for their master. Nevertheless pay attention to the previous image: (chapter 98) The light is coming from the butler’s back. How is it possible, since there is no torch next to the gate? (chapter 98) Besides, you can see their shadows in the ground. And there is no street light either. (chapter 98) In reality, the light comes from the mansion. The domestics are carrying torches behind the door. Thus you can perceive some light coming from the top of the gate. But wait…. (chapter 98) Where is the sound in this panel? There’s only silence except the butler’s voice: “Young master”. If the domestics were so worked up looking for the whereabouts of the painter, then their voices would have been visible in this image. But no… there’s nothing. And this observation leads me to the following conclusion. The butler is trying to fool his master by repeating the prank in front of the study. The servants are supposed to fake their dutifulness. Yes, they are all acting, when the door opened abruptly. (chapter 98) But what are they staging? A fake research, but more they are acting, as if they would do anything for their master and as such as if the painter’s desertion was something they couldn’t stop. YES, the staff is following the butler’s principles. They act, as if they were powerless, there’s nothing they could do. (chapter 87) The painter deserted on his own. And now, you comprehend why the revelation occurs at the door. The gate symbolizes the butler’s deception and hypocrisy.
And observe that the gate could have been opened much sooner. The servants were all waiting for the lord’s return so that they staged this fake search. It was, as if the butler had given the signal by saying “Young master”. (chapter 98)
However, Kim never expected that his students would listen to him too well. 😉They even copied his words. (chapter 98) By using the idiom “damn brat”, the servant reveals that he looks down on the painter. This can give the impression that the latter has been bullied, which is not wrong either. All the servants, including the maids, pushed the artist to leave the mansion. They also abandoned him in the bedchamber, which is something similar to episode 56!! (chapter 98) The women knew that the artist wasn’t feeling well. But they never sent for the doctor and gave him any true comfort. They kept criticizing him. Yes, all the servants bullied the artist. The butler never realized that through his badmouthing, the staff would imitate him. They would chatter idly and fake concern, yet Kim is actually silent in front of his master. He just says the minimum, for the most part, he has to feign ignorance. He acts, as if he was blind and deaf, but in front of the staff he behaves the exact opposite. And this huge gap makes it possible to perceive his conniving personality. However, the main lead didn’t pay attention to the insult („damn brat“), as they had faked their concern. The lord had the impression that they had indeed done their best, hence the main lead felt the need that he had to do the research on his own. (Chapter 99) He believed them.
But why did Kim play such a prank? It is because he had succeeded once. (chapter 85) First, his tricks had not been perceived. Secondly, he had not been punished, though he had disobeyed the lord’s order. (chapter 86) So the valet had the feeling that nothing had changed. However, like I mentioned it above, he never realized that his fate was now linked to the painter’s and as such he was responsible for his well-being. Thus he got surprised with this new kind of order. For the first time, the valet was tasked to investigate outside the propriety. (chapter 98) In town, he can not really fake his obedience and honesty, for his lies can be perceived more easily. He has no control over the town folks. If the lord were to ask the tailor, the latter would definitely reveal that the body was not found in a well in town.
The domestics had to blame someone… and it can only be the kisaeng Heena. The latter is an outsider, she is not part of their “community”. Exactly like the butler had blamed Yoon Chang-Hyeon for his powerlessness.
How did I come to this interpretation? It is because of this scene. (chapter 98) Many readers, including myself, were quite confused first. However, note that there’s light coming from the building. From my point of view, this is the gate. However, this scene took place before the arrival to the mansion. I believe that this scene represents the moment, when the lord left the office of the investigator. But I can not be 100% sure. However, one thing is sure. Byeonduck wanted us to notice the importance of the light and the silence. The lord was pondering deeply, thus he didn’t pay attention to Kim. But now, the noisy domestics brought the main lead back to reality. (chapter 98) The death of the servant does concern him, for it affected the artist. I view this scene as a reflection from the previous chapter, where the gates were left wide opened. (chapter 97) The painter didn’t run away immediately. He remained quite some time in the domain, therefore after the last tragedy, the lord will have the time to ponder about the painter’s question. (Chapter 102) Yoon Seungho was separated from his lover for so long, because he had been deceived. It is only a matter of time, until he realizes that he had been deceived by his own staff. At some point, he will view the staff accountable for their misdeeds.
3. The painter and the darkness
Since I had detected a connection between the darkness and the painter’s nightmare, I realized that the artist must fear the darkness. This is perceptible, when you realize that the painter had problems to fall asleep (chapter 38) and he woke up in the middle of the night. (chapter 84) However, the lord got the opposite impression, for when he entered the study, the painter was sleeping on the floor in the dark. (chapter 02) This explicates why he would always extinguish the candles. (chapter 97) However, he never realized that the painter could only fall asleep in the dark, because he always sensed his lover’s presence. This means that when he reached the aristocrat’s hand, it also gave him some comfort. (chapter 97) Because the artist’s fate is similar to the noble’s, I deduced that this fear is connected to the artist’s past. Why does he fear darkness? It is linked to the vanishing of the candle light!
What caught my attention is that the painter’s dreams are all connected to light. (chapter 6) (chapter 34) (chapter 87) Thus in episode 56, Baek Na-Kyum had this vision too. (chapter 56) In the past, the painter used to sleep with the candle night on. For him, the light gave a sense of safety. There’s no ambiguity that he wouldn’t sleep alone, though we have to imagine that the noonas would leave him behind at some point, if they had to work. Thus I came to the deduction that the candlelight was to create the illusion that he was not alone.
However, observe that in the latest nightmare, the darkness appeared with the entrance of the scholar. (chapter 98) And it was the same in the nightmare of the first season, though it was a little changed. The darkness appeared, for the ghost Yoon Seungho was confronting the painter with the truth. He liked painting erotic pictures of sodomy, which contradicted the scholar’s preaching. (chapter 34) Finally, since the butler is a reflection from the learned sir, this signifies that he is also connected to light.
That’s how I came to develop this theory which is connected to the painter’s past. Why did Baek Na-Kyum appear in this scene? (chapter 68) What made him looking for his noona? What if the bougie was blown out during his sleep and Jung In-Hun was behind this? Byeonduck said that the scholar’s attachment to the boy was genuine, nevertheless there is no doubt that the learned sir was a greedy person. Maybe he woke up, because he detected the absence of warmth, as the noonas had left his side. Hence the painter sensed the abandonment in his sleep, which made him wake up. Consequently, he started searching for his noonas and he opened the door. No one would suspect a young child opening the doors in the kisaeng house. But by opening the door, the artist caused a ruckus, people could hear a protesting child in a room. And during that scene, the artist met Yoon Seungho who was captured by the guard!! This memory represents the night of the sexual lesson. Observe that the color of the hanbok corresponds to the one lying on the floor. (chapter 86) This means that the one trapping Yoon Seungho was not Yoon Chang-Hyeon, for the latter had a green hanbok. Besides, I started wondering why Jung In-Hun carried away Baek Na-Kyum and left the gibang with him. (Chapter 70) Why would he do that? He could have bring him back to his chamber!! Why walk through the countryside and for a long time? It is because he was not allowed to be in the gibang. Remember that he used to sleep in the annex. (chapter 87) From my point of view, Baek Na-Kyum would have heard Yoon Seungho‘s struggling. Besides, we need to question ourselves this: Why is the annex empty?
To sum up my theory again. Jung blew out the candle during the night, the artist woke up and went looking for his noona. He opened the door, when the young master Seungho was protesting. Thus, as soon as they left the gibang, the young noble got tied up, and the „sexual lesson“ was supposed to take place. They used the incident to use violence on the main lead. There’s no doubt that Yoon Chang-Hyeon must have feared for a scandal. Then the father left the building and returned home. (chapter 87) He entrusted Yoon Seungho to Kim. But in my opinion, during the same night, the young noble was dragged to the annex, where the pedophile was waiting for him with probably other guests. That‘s the reason why Jung had to spend a long time outside the gibang. Maybe that‘s how he received his position as teacher. Remember the commoner’s remark: (chapter 29) People believed that he had already passed the exam, while it was not the case. Then I started wondering this. Why does the painter associate the learned sir to the moon? It is because the learned sir would visit him during the night. (chapter 94) The light from the moon comforted the artist, it became his companion, for the artist still feared the darkness. However, since the painter described that he would always cry because of his noonas, I am sensing that the scholar must have dragged the artist quite often outside the gibang. And this could coincide to the sexual abuse Yoon Seungho was exposed to. Kim said that the sexual abuse took place in the bedchamber. (chapter 87) But is it true? I have my doubts about it. By making such a statement, he is putting the blame on Yoon Chang-Hyeon. Note that the start of the sexual abuse began in the kisaeng house. The more I am analyzing, the more I am sensing that the elder master was just a stupid, selfish and violent father. However, if this had happened in the gibang, then he was as guilty as the kisaeng and the other helping hands.
As a conclusion, the painter came to fall asleep in the dark thanks to the lord’s presence. Thus we had this scene: (chapter 50) Both give each other comfort and warmth so that they feel safe. Maybe the FWOP; FWOP sounded like a lullaby to the artist’s ears. (chapter 49) 😂
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