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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While examining characters from Painter Of The Night under the aspect “a change of heart“, I had realized that this idiom was a reflection from No-Name’s philosophy: “the whims of nobles”. This signifies that the commoner views the aristocrats as spoiled children. They are lacking maturity and backbone. It was, as if they had no conviction and as such no conscious. To conclude, in the criminal’s mind, the nobles are all selfish and irresponsible persons. And now, you are probably wondering why I am writing another text about back-pedaling. There exists the danger that I could repeat myself. However, thanks to the last analysis “A change of heart❣ “, I recognized that this “leitmotiv” played a central role during the second season, especially during the night of the failed gangrape. Thus I decided first to revisit this day and night and analyze the characters. This means that Min, Yoon Seungho, Baek Na-Kyum and the nobles will be in the center of the examination. This is relevant, as chapter 101 is a reflection from that night (52-53-54).
1. The painter’s change of heart
What caught my attention is that the butler actually criticized the painter for his behavior. He was behaving like a spoiled child. (chapter 52) He implied that he was behaving like a noble. This means that the valet was reminding the artist of his social status. Therefore it is not surprising that the low-born put back the white head-band. It was a reminder of his position in the mansion. On the other hand, if you pay attention to the domestic’s reprimand, you will detect the contradiction. He was encouraging the main lead to become proactive and visit the lord. However, by giving such an advice, Kim was misleading the painter, because a servant is not supposed to act on his own. He has to wait for his master’s order. And now, you comprehend why the valet could violate the main lead’s privacy in the past. He legitimated his trespassing by faking care and kindness. Therefore it is no coincidence that the artist chose during the same day to visit the lord’s bedchamber. He didn’t have a change of heart per se. He was just following the butler’s instructions. He was just a servant in the mansion, and he should act like Kim wanted him to behave: anticipate the lord’s desires. However, like pointed out before, a real servant is not supposed to think and act on his own. On the other hand, the reprimand from Kim had a positive effect, because for the first time, the artist was reminded that he should also pay attention to Yoon Seungho’s needs and wishes. Through the valet’s words, Baek Na-Kyum could realize that the noble was also a human before a lord. To sum up, he helped him to see the person Yoon Seungho behind his title. From that moment on, the low-born perceived Yoon Seungho as a man. Therefore it is not surprising that after witnessing the tongue kiss between Min and his lover, he started wondering about the motivation behind the noble’s behavior. (chapter 52) He began to show an interest in his master. What kind of man is his lord? Who was he exactly? (chapter 52) But since the butler had insinuated with his reproach that the painter should anticipate the lord’s desires and needs, the former had the impression that it was just about to provide services and nothing more. He was his duty to serve the owner of the mansion. And now, you comprehend why the painter denied the main character’s affection. (chapter 54) He thought that the lord’s rescue was motivated by his pride and his duties. As a lord, it was his obligation to keep his staff under control and to ensure safety. Deok-Jae was usurping Yoon Seungho’s authority. He had no right to ask the painter to leave the mansion. (chapter 53) As you can see, the servant perceived the artist’s attitude as a change of heart, whereas it was not right. The painter had long decided to remain in the mansion. Due to the butler’s reproach, he had been reminded that he was now a servant and as such belonged to the staff. Therefore he was bound to the main lead with his vow and as such to this household. Kim never realized that he had actually ruined his own scheme due to the contradiction of his manipulations. No wonder why Baek Na-Kyum was already loyal to Yoon Seungho. To sum up, the painter started seeing the main character not only as his real lord, but also as a man. Under this new light, I come to the conclusion that during that night, the painter had indeed a change of heart. He had truly accepted Yoon Seungho as his master. This explicates why Baek Na-Kyum didn’t get upset after the second sex marathon. It was the lord’s right to do whatever he wanted. Thus in the study, the artist perceived Deok-Jae’s bullying, Min’s kiss and insults as a violation of codex. (Chapter 53) The lord was the lord and host, thus he deserved respect from his staff and guest. That’s the reason why the painter didn’t stop his master, when the latter punched Black Heart or simply followed the lord to the bedchamber. He had no right to object, for he was now a servant. And because he considered himself as a part of the staff, he felt obliged to protect Deok-Jae from the lord’s anger. He was acting as a “WE“. On the other hand, he had no right to interfere in the fight between Yoon Seungho and Min. He could only try to protect his lord’s honor by denying Yoon Seungho’s affection for him. (Chapter 54)
The “change of heart” showed that the painter took his decisions seriously. He could no longer run away or show his pain, for he was simply a servant. In other words, Kim’s intervention was the reason why the painter had a change of heart. However, the butler had expected to achieve the opposite. He desired the painter to see Yoon Seungho with other lords so that he would feel betrayed. He would view it as unfaithfulness. He would get hurt and desert the mansion. But the valet had overlooked one aspect: only nobles can act like that. Kim implied that the painter was behaving like one, while in reality he was just too wounded to notice the special treatment. Besides, observe that the valet was actually speaking the truth. The artist had indeed been spoiled by the lord, and he had never recognized it. Due to the head-maid’s comment, he had suspected that his privileged situation was the result of the main lead’s attachment, but due to the joke and Deok-Jae’s insult, he had come to a different interpretation. Finally, the separation let him see that the lord meant a lot to him.
2. Yoon Seungho’s change of heart
Striking is that in the third season, Kim tried to achieve through his puppet Min the same goal with their prank. They imagined that when the painter would hear the news about the scholar‘s death, he would get upset and would suspect that Yoon Seungho was behind this. Kim relied on the painter‘s memories and past experiences. He had seen the lord‘s jealousy, which had pushed Yoon Seungho to go after Jung In-Hun. (chapter 27) But instinctively, the painter had sensed the main lead’s transformation. He would no longer use the sword. Since chapter 35, the artist has never seen the lord with the sword again, not even after the hunt in the third season. (chapter 84) Furthermore, he would rather use his hands. (chapter 92) To sum up, the artist never saw him carrying a weapon since season 1.
Another important detail is that Baek Na-Kyum never witnessed the main lead leaving the bedchamber with his sword, when the messenger visited the study. And when he returned to the bedroom, he also came back empty-handed. (chapter 82) This means that Yoon Seungho’s bedchamber is not related to the sword. So he has never seen the lord wiping his weapon either. (chapter 1) For the painter, Yoon Seungho’s bedchamber is associated to painting, sex and books. Nothing more.
This is important for two reasons. When the lord got upset during that night (chapter 52-53-54), he just left the room angry. (chapter 52) I have always compared the main lead to a dormant volcano and the pipe was a sign that the lord was boiling in the inside. (chapter 52) Another important aspect is that the lord never threatened the nobles with a sword later, though he got mad, when he saw the painter getting touched by other men. (chapter 54) He threw a bottle and asked them to leave, but he didn’t evict them like the noble with the mole (chapter 8) and Lee Jihwa in episode 18. They were not grabbed by the topknot and dragged through the courtyard. (chapter 54) He simply told them to leave and the nobles followed his request. (chapter 54) The only thing he did towards nobles was to humiliate them, but that was it. Besides, these incidents were never leaked to the outside world.
If you observe the progression of Yoon Seungho’s behavior, you will notice how little by little the brutality vanishes. First, we have this (chapter 53), then Black Heart is punched several times (chapter 54) But note that Min doesn’t lose a tooth like Deok-Jae. The next morning, Min’s face is not so bruised to the point that he is not recognizable. (chapter 56) From my point of view, the painter taught an important lesson to Yoon Seungho during that night: (chapter 53) He reminded him that life is precious. Thus I consider this night as another turning point. The lord had a real change of heart, and not just a fake one like in this moment: (chapter 52) Here, he was simply following social norms and as such behaving like Lee Jihwa. This reveals that the main lead had no faith and as such no true conviction. As a good host, he is supposed to provide his guests with the best care and attention. Since Min was expressing his wish to taste the painter, the noble was pressured to give in. The manhwaphiles can now detect the parallels between chapter 52 and 100. (chapter 100) The use of social norms and peer pressure to achieve his goal. But why did he not react like in the first season, when he threw out the noble with the mole? It is because Min had not given him an order. (chapter 52) He had just reminded him that as a noble, he should pay attention to etiquette. If he favored Baek Na-Kyum too much, he would send a wrong signal. Furthermore, the Joker had implied that the painter’s sudden visit was a sign that the painter was longing for sex. (chapter 52) As you can see, Min also played with social norms. He reminded Yoon Seungho of his duties as a lord and host. Striking is that he criticized the main lead for being weak. In the past, he used to act differently. (chapter 52) He would share his things. It was, as if Yoon Seungho was lacking strength and determination. In other words, he implied that Yoon Seungho had a sudden change of heart. (chapter 52) The precious treasure was a synonym for weakness. That’s the reason why Yoon Seungho gave in, he had a change of heart, for he didn’t want to appear vulnerable. However, by acting like that, he exposed his vulnerability. Observe that after the bedchamber, he denied the existence of his heart. He was not in love with the artist. (chapter 53) However, all the incidents during that night forced him to admit that he was wrong. How? IT is because he saw himself in the painter. (chapter 54) He wanted to be seen as a human and man, but since his youth, he had been denied to live like a human. Through the reflection in the painter’s face, he rediscovered his humanity. Humanity is a synonym for benevolence. Therefore it is not surprising that the lord became a human, the moment he had accepted his heart. For he was a human, he should treasure life. This is no coincidence that the lord confessed the next morning. But because he had behaved like a beast during that night, he imagined that the painter was horrified by his violent behavior. He had treated him like an object and not like a human. Thus he anticipated that the painter would run away after his first love confession full of “contempt and pain”. However, from my point of view, he never realized that Baek Na-Kyum already viewed him as his master and as a human. He was definitely upset, when Yoon Seungho had chosen to bring him to the bedchamber and offered him as a plaything to his guests, but he didn’t throw some tantrum for one simple reason: he was just a servant in the household. It was not his right to criticize the lord. Under this new light, you comprehend the painter’s words in the bedchamber: (chapter 55) He had done something wrong from a moral point of view, but he had not violated social norms. Besides, the painter had not seen his violent outburst as a huge abnormality, he had protected him from Deok-Jae. Then he had defended his honor, when Min had insulted him. As a conclusion, the lord found his true heart during that night, and learned that life was precious. But Yoon Seungho’s lessons were not over. He needs to learn that even a bullying domestic didn’t deserve to die. Notice that he showed no concern for the deceased person. (chapter 98) This is none of his business. Min has a similar mind-set. What should he feel concerned about the death of a peasant? (chapter 99)
As a first conclusion, the lord also had a change of heart during that night. He adopted a new philosophy: love. Therefore it is not surprising that the noble used “sex” as a punishment after the so-called desertion. He was claiming the artist as his “favored servant”. He would never let him go. Hence the use of violence kept vanishing. Observe that once confronted with his father, he never retaliated, though he had voiced the following threat: (chapter 82) He stated that he would kill his father. But none of this happened. Therefore, I come to the following conclusion. Yoon Seungho won’t use the sword in the shrine to kill people. (chapter 101) The worst what could happen is that he cuts off their topknots. But I have to admit that I am more than ever convinced that he won’t do anything. I am not expecting that he will punch the nobles there, for he won’t have much time. His lover’s life looks in danger. No, like I already mentioned many times, he will take away the painter and bring him quickly to the physician. By acting like that, he will show his strength to the other nobles. He doesn’t fear people’s gaze.
3. Min’s change of heart
The villain’s behavior embodies perfectly the Joker’s description: a whims of these nobles. He is always looking for fun and pleasure. He seems to know no boundaries. His friends are no different. Therefore it is no coincidence that the painter was called a brat. (chapter 101) This expression revealed the aristocrats’ mentality. They are actually projecting their own thoughts and emotions onto the artist.
But let’s return our attention to Black Heart. The latter has a huge sense of pride. He gets irritated, thus he feels the need to retaliate. Striking is that in episode 52-53-54, he was the only one who had no change of heart. He was determined to taste the painter. First, he cornered the main lead so that the host would give in. However, note that shortly after the main lead’s disappearance, he followed him. (chapter 52) One might say that he couldn’t simply wait. Yet I believe that he wanted to make sure that the host had no change of heart, once alone with the artist. However, the moment he saw the painter embrace the lord, he could only get envious. He couldn’t resist the urge to kiss his lips. (chapter 53) Yet, he had to pay a huge price for this. He got punched. (chapter 53) Thus I have the impression that Black Heart must have resented the painter for his wounds and humiliation. Notice that he bragged to his partners in crime about the kiss (chapter 101) Nevertheless, he also deceived his peers, because he was only beaten half to death, after mocking the painter and such his host. He was omitting to his partners in crime the insult towards the protagonist. And this shows that Min had never forgotten this incident. Naturally, he resented more the main lead, yet he definitely blamed the painter. Therefore it is not surprising that Min was actually quite rough with Baek Na-Kyum. (chapter 101) It was, as if he was paying back the artist for his past pain. However, what caught my attention is that he doesn’t show any pressing urge to taste the artist which stands in opposition to his past behavior. It was, as if he had a change of heart. It looked like his obsession for Baek Na-Kyum was quite superficial. He let his friends to enjoy the artist first, hence we could say that he acted as the pimp. Why? My first theory was that he was still calculating about Yoon Seungho’s arrival, though I am more and more inclined to think that this was more the butler’s plan, and Min was left in the dark. Remember my interpretation: the purpose is to prove that the main lead is a lunatic. And if he killed noblemen, he would get arrested immediately. And we know for sure that the butler resents nobles. From my point of view, Min was expecting that time would be in his favor. He imagined that he had time. However, because the painter resisted and fought back (chapter 101), Min had to pay more attention to Baek Na-Kyum, thus he no longer paid attention to the door which he had left open.
We can’t say that Min’s interest was just a caprice. He had to deploy a lot of energy and resources to capture the painter. It took him time and effort to achieve his goal. He even confessed to the painter that he went through a lot of trouble because of the trick. (chapter 101) But there’s one thing that he is not expecting: the painter might die! How so? It is because in the first season, Min had also been left in the dark about the artist’s poor physical condition. He was never informed that the artist had almost lost his life. This explains why he made such a suggestion: (chapter 33) He has always been taught that there exists a difference between low-born and noble, therefore he came to view commoners’ life as less precious. He never saw them as humans. They were first commoners. Their life is not fragile either, for there are much more commoners than nobles. Yes, I have the impression that Black Heart is receiving his lesson. Commoners are humans too, and not just playthings. What if Baek Na-Kyum dies? He will never be able to taste him.
Thus I am predicting that the nobles will cooperate with Yoon Seungho. The nobles won’t even stop the main lead from carrying his lover. Why? It is because they are receiving another lesson too. If the painter dies, they will get into trouble. Remember Black Heart’s words: (chapter 43) The death of a commoner has to look like an accident, but in a shrine, this is no accident. Notice that he lied to Jihwa in front of the scholar’s house. (chapter 99) He was well aware that the authorities would investigate the matter. Besides, the corpse was left in a well in town, which couldn’t go unnoticed by the commoners. The latter used that well. The police bureau was obligated to find a culprit because of the scandal of a corpse in town. Black Heart envisioned that he could escape punishment by letting Jihwa take the fall. However, if the painter dies, he can not blame the childhood friend. He is responsible for this mess, and Yoon Seungho clearly heard and saw him. (chapter 101) What we are witnessing is that the peasant’s life has become very precious, even to Min. He saw this whole staging as a huge prank, but now he is forced to face reality. This is no longer fun, because the artist is no longer reacting. (chapter 101) Everyone is expecting that Yoon Seungho will resort to violence and punish the aristocrats. But no… look at their facial expressions. They are no longer laughing or smiling. Finally, I would like to point out that this chapter is a reflection of chapter 33. We have here only 4 of the 8 gay dogs (chapter 33) And what had happened during that episode? Baek Na-Kyum was seriously ill, thus the doctor was fetched. And remember what the physician had said: (chapter 33) For the first time, Min and his friends will learn to value a peasant’s life, because if he dies, they are all in big trouble. This time, Yoon Seungho can no longer be blamed for the wrecked state of the painter contrary to chapter 66. The noble won’t be suspected, for he created such a ruckus in the gibang and town about his lover’s disappearance that his death would get noticed immediately. From my point of view, Yoon Seungho will carry himself the painter to the doctor, he knows where the office is. And now, you are wondering that this doesn’t sound like a harsh punishment. But don’t forget that Min brought the scholar’s glasses to the shrine. Either he never questioned the origins of the glasses and never investigated if Jung In-Hun was alive. Or he discovered the truth, but it didn’t matter to him. However, now there are the glasses of the scholar in the shrine. Min was just so obsessed with Baek Na-Kyum that he viewed everything as a prank. Besides, we have to envision that if the learned sir was alive or not, it was actually none of this concern. He was just a tool for his own entertainment. Furthermore, he used a body from a commoner revealing his lack of respect for humans. (chapter 101)
I definitely consider Min as a fool. And since he tried to frame Yoon Seungho and Lee Jihwa with a murder, his karma would be that he becomes the scapegoat for the learned sir’s curtains. Imagine that Jung In-Hun is not a peasant, but a respected scholar. Therefore Black Heart could get really into trouble,. In addition, I am expecting that the sex orgy in the shrine will be discovered creating a huge chaos in town. Thus Min and his friends’ reputation will suffer a lot. Since Kim is counting on his master’s violence and rage, he needs witnesses to prove that his master is a lunatic. Hence I have the impression that Kim will bring investigators to that place, a new version of chapter 96, where the butler led the policemen to the gibang.
But there’s one thing that Kim miscalculated: Yoon Seungho’s change of heart. Since the butler believes that all nobles are violent liars, he expects that the lord will follow this saying. But he failed to notice the main lead’s transformation. He never sensed that the lord was getting less and less violent, he would manage to control his negative emotions. Finally, by sparing the nobles, Min can definitely testify against Kim. Notice that Min used the pronoun “we”, this means that he was not alone in this scheme. (chapter 101) He could have a change of heart, especially if he has problems with the authorities, and reveal that the Yoons are behind this and used Kim. As you can see, I am convinced that Min will play a major role in the butler’s demise. Don’t misunderstand me. I am not expecting that The Joker will feel suddenly really remorseful, but the possibility of losing the painter will shock him. Moroever, as a coward, he will avoid any responsibility. In the second season, he betrayed Lee Jihwa. Thus I am expecting another backstabbing. The difference to the first abduction is that the childhood friend was the only one responsible for the crime. However, this time the prank implicated many helping hands: Heena (she is still alive in my opinion), the staff, the Yoons, the Lees and Kim. Therefore it is possible that Min denunciates the persons involved in the prank. As a conclusion, I have the impression that in the next episode, we will have another “change of heart”, but this time in a good way. I would like the manhwaphiles to keep in their mind that Black Heart had a change of heart after that long night: (chapter 56) From that moment on he could not longer give up on tasting the painter. Then in the third season, he wished to keep the artist by his side. (chapter 99) That’s the reason why he was no longer in rush to have sex with Baek Na-Kyum. As time passed on, the Joker gave up on the painter’s assassination. So he is getting reformed! Surprising, right? And the painter’s sickness will be a wake-up call for him! (chapter 101) And this would be the butterfly-effect. Baek Na-Kyum’s body has healing effect, the royal touch… and look at where the Joker’s hand is!! On the painter’s heart!! This is no coincidence. This means for me that Black Heart’s hand will play a huge role in the next chapter. While the lord and the painter started seeing each other as humans during the night of 52-54, it’s now the Joker’s turn to view the painter as a human and no longer as a peasant or a low-born. This outlines one more time how title and vocabulary can influence mentality. Hitler used to call Jews “cockroaches” or “parasites”, thus they were not considered as real humans.
As you can see, I am still full of optimism. Why? The reason is simple. As a teacher, you always need to be optimistic, though it is sometimes hard. But witnessing transformation and little progresses are the rewards in this job. Therefore hope is necessary.
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