Painter Of The Night: The secret behind curry🍛 , apple 🍏and butter 🧈 (second version)

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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You are probably wondering about the meaning behind this title, for until now, food never played a role in the story. However, all these words have another common denominator. 😮 The trigger for this essay started, when I discovered the expression “brown-noser” while reading another manhwa. The definition of “brown-noser/brown-nosing” are the following:

Brown-noser: a person who tries to please (esp. one’s boss) so much that their nose turns brown from kissing their ass. Quoted from https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=brown-noser

Brown-nosing: If you accuse someone of brown-nosing, you are saying in a rather offensive way that they are agreeing with someone important in order to get their support. Quote from https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/brown-nosing

1. Brown-nosing and boot licking

This means that the person flatters or humors somebody in an obsequious manner for personal gain. Striking is that if you look for synonyms, this is what you find

That’s how I discovered why Yoon Seungho started licking Baek Na-Kyum’s ass. In the essay “Painful departures”, I had written that the story was constructed like a kaleidoscope, thus it contained so many reflections. Each incident or notion will be reflected in each season twice and within the same chapter, just like there will be an allusion in the previous or next episode. One might say that in season 1, the manhwaphiles never saw the main lead licking the painter’s ass. So it looked like my interpretation was wrong. However, this is again just an deception. Why? It is because the lord was taking these expressions literally. 😂

The verb “brown-nose” has for synonyms “curry favor”, “apple-polish”, “suck up to”, “get on the right side of”, “to kiss someone’s feet” and “butter up”! https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/brown-nose https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/suck%20up%20to Under this new light, the manhwalovers can grasp the other common denominator between the “curry, apple and butter”. They are referring to hypocrisy, power and selfishness. However, in Painter Of The Night, these idioms get a totally new meaning. Yoon Seungho has long internalized that the exchange of favors is based on sex!! He had to do it personally. That’s the reason why he is taking the expressions literally and the painter is responding the same way. Here he is seen as a back-scratcher: (chapter 89) The lord’s back is covered with marks. Yet, he was not brown-nosing here at all, for he was rejecting the lord’s advances. And now, it is time to take a closer look to season 1.

2. Apple and fellatio

When I read the expression “apple-polisher”, I remembered this scene in the woods: (chapter 23) Baek Na-Kyum was seen holding an apple, here it looked like he was indeed polishing the fruit before eating it. Striking is that during that scene, valet Kim was interrogating him. He was acting, as if he was interested in him. It was, as if he was buttering up to Baek Na-Kyum. The purpose was to gain the artist’s trust so that at the end, he would listen to his advices.(chapter 23) However, the reality was that the valet was actually digging for information, spying on the main lead, so that he could create a new incident. As you can see, there were two apple-polishers in that scene, the painter and the butler. This was the reflection within the same episode. While Baek Na-Kyum was literally polishing the apple, the other was just cajoling Baek Na-Kyum in a figurative way. Yet, the former was not truly sweet-talking to the artist. He gave the impression that he was totally honest. And now, it is important to recall what happened to the painter in the next chapter. Jung In-Hun was kissing the painter’s hands.(chapter 24). He was flattering the painter with the hope that Baek Na-Kyum would spy on his account. But the scholar couldn’t succeed with his request. Why? It is because he only kissed the artist’s hands. He never licked his boot or his ass. We could even say that he did scratch his back, but in the wrong way: (chapter 24) In other words, he could never lower himself in front of the low-born. This was too much, explaining why the scholar failed with his request.

Let’s not forget that in the hallway, Yoon Seungho had made the following request to Baek Na-Kyum. (chapter 27) In exchange for saving Jung In-Hun’s life, Baek Na-Kyum was forced to do a fellatio. We could say that the artist was sucking up to the owner of the mansion. But the fellatio is not just an exchange of favors. It is also associated to forgiveness. At the tailor’s shop, the painter had blushed because of Yoon Seungho, The latter had embarrassed him. Thus the lord made the following suggestion: (Chapter 39) This was his way to apologize, though here he was teasing his lover. These were the principles he had been taught, therefore it is not surprising that he applied them for the painter. And now, you comprehend why in episode 71, Yoon Seungho sucked the painter’s phallus in the bathroom, he was also currying the artist’s favors. His goal was not to be pushed away, to be accepted. (chapter 71) He had wronged the painter so many times, that the blow-job was not enough. Thus he licked his ass in the bedchamber. He was hoping to seek his forgiveness. (chapter 71) It was, as if he was lowering his head, the kowtower. In this episode, the lord was on his knees in front of the painter, and this twice. One in the bathroom (chapter 71) and the other time in the bedchamber. (chapter 71) However, his nose didn’t get brown, as the painter is a pure and innocent person. 😉 That’s how I realized why Baek Na-Kyum was sent to the bathroom. His role was to divert Yoon Seungho’s attention from Kim so that the master would forget to ask for the butler’s punishment. In other words, the valet used the low-born to seek his master’s favors. This shows that Yoon Seungho had been taught that the blow-job and the ass-kissing are the means to obtain forgiveness.

And remember what I mentioned previously, the notion “suck up to or kiss ass” will continue to appear in the next episode. This is no coincidence that the author drew such a panel: (chapter 73) He was licking the painter’s foot so that he could keep thrusting. Don’t forget that during the whole night, he behaved like a servant… the one who was “sucking up to Baek Na-Kyum”. (chapter 72) On the other hand, the latter scratched the lord’s back for the first time during that night. (chapter 72) This was the reflection within the same episode, yet the “back-scratcher” was not doing it for his personal gain at all. We couldn’t say that he was currying favor or buttering up Yoon Seungho. He believed that he was just a servant and nothing more. From the outsider’s perspective, he was treated indeed like a favored servant, though in truth Yoon Seungho viewed him more like his new master and lord.

3. Baek Na-Kyum and Kim’s sucking

Episode 71 with the ass-kissing was the positive reflection of chapter 45.

Striking is that in chapter 45, we have an allusion to the teacher’s pet: (chapter 45) In this scene, the lord was acting like a teacher, and the painter was supposed to do a blow-job in exchange for a favor. But since the painter was heartbroken, he was doing it absent-mindedly. Thus the roles got switched. After the noble licked the painter’s ass, and masturbated him anal, the painter was able to confess his pleasure: (chapter 45) This shows that the lord was slowly “currying favors” to Baek Na-Kyum. And this is no coincidence that Kim brought the ink and brushes to the mansion. (chapter 45) Once again, he was acting, as if he was buttering up to Baek Na-Kyum and indirectly to the host. But the reality was that everything was done for Kim’s interest…. On the other hand, we could say that Yoon Seungho was not really different from his surrogate father, for in that scene, Yoon Seungho was more thinking about himself than the painter’s. Yet, there is a slight nuance, the lord was sensing that the painter was not himself. He was talking to him, so licking the painter’s ass was not just done in order to obtain the painter’s support. His true goal was to be noticed and looked by the painter. He desired to have a true exchange of thoughts. Interesting is that by licking briefly the painter’s ass, he indeed succeeded, Baek Na-Kyum started thinking about him afterwards. The irony is that Yoon Seungho was just applying what he had been taught. That’s how I discovered the other reason why the main lead is not suspecting the butler of treason. Contrary to Yoon Chang-Hyeon or the pedophile, Kim was never seen asking Yoon Seungho for sexual favors: no fellatio or no ass-kissing. But this is just a deception, for we could clearly see that the butler is connected to the sex parties: (chapter 33) (chapter 52) He was the one who separated the couple. Because of his intervention, the painter deserted the mansion and got sick afterwards. Then in chapter 50, he revealed the argument between Baek Na-Kyum and Jung In-Hun. Striking is that in that scene, he was standing on the lord’s left side!! (chapter 50) No wonder that Yoon Seungho got furious. Simultaneously, while Kim was acting, as if he was defending the painter’s interest and as such feeling sorry for the painter, this signifies that he was no longer sucking up to his own master. Therefore, it is not surprising that the lord scolded him. (chapter 50) In fact, he should have “buttered up” his master and not pitied the painter. And now, you comprehend why the main lead misinterpreted Kim’s behavior. In his mind, the valet was actually “apple-polishing” to the painter. He had somehow “witnessed” it in the woods. But he had misjudged the situation, in reality he had caught Kim spying. (chapter 23) Unfortunately, the lord was not perceptive at all.

4. The night of Yoon Seungho’s relapse

And this leads me to the following observation. When Yoon Seungho kissed the painter’s ass in season 3 again, it was not done for personal gain. (chapter 80) He enjoyed seeing the painter’s facial expressions and reaction. He looked so shy and pure. (chapter 80) However, during that night, three people were trying to bootlick someone figuratively speaking: the new version of Deok-Jae, Kim and the messenger. Let’s not forget that before the arrival of the messenger, the painter made the following request to the butler: (chapter 79) One might say that he was currying favor to the butler, when he asked the butler about the music box. But what did Kim do? He brought the item to the bedchamber. (chapter 79) But this is not what the painter had actually requested, since the butler said this “I thought”. He had taken the initiative on his own. In my opinion, the painter had just asked that the music box should be brought back to the study. However, Kim brought the expensive present to the bedchamber for one reason. He expected the arrival of the messenger. We could say that he was “ass-kissing” the painter in order to obtain his trust. Kim definitely imagined that Yoon Seungho was sleeping. As you can see, this scene was the reflection of Yoon Seungho’s action in chapter 80. (chapter 80) While Kim had asked the painter’s to clean his face himself, the lord was cleaning the painter’s ass himself. Or we could say that he was polishing the painter’s apples, for he has an apple-shaped buttock. 😂 This clearly indicates that Kim has never washed Yoon Seungho himself. In other words, while Yoon Seungho was totally selfless here, this was not the case for the valet. And this is no coincidence that right after, the new version of Deok-Jae appeared in front of the door calling his master. He was faking loyalty and dedication. (chapter 80) Here, he was acting, as if he was sucking up to Yoon Seungho, but his gaze betrayed him. In my opinion, he had been deceived by the butler, for the latter expected that the painter would open the door. This situation was reflected within the same chapter. Notice what the messenger said to the young master in the study: (chapter 80) He was implying that his father had to bootlick an official in order to hide the incident. And how did the lord react to this? He not only asked the servant to do him a fellatio, but also made an allusion to the sexual favor: (chapter 80) His father must have kissed someone’s ass. But as you already know, Yoon Chang-HYeon is not someone who will do such a thing himself. And this shows that he has definitely used his son in order to obtain favors in such a way. Yoon Seungho had to do fellatios and let people lick his ass for his father’s sake, as he was a uke in the past. This is not surprising that the messenger received such a beating in the end. (chapter 80) He gave an order to the main lead, he threatened him. But actually, he was just a servant. He was not treating Yoon Seungho correctly. Interesting is that he showed more courtesy and respect to lord Lee than Yoon Seungho. (chapter 82) It was, as if the man was hoping to obtain father Lee’s support either. Another interesting aspect is that when the butler approached the wounded emissary, the former was definitely brown-nosing. (chapter 82), until he heard that the scholar Lee had approached father Yoon. On the other hand, his introduction didn’t fool the courier, for he was aware of Kim’s meddling. (chapter 82) In my opinion, Yoon Chang-Hyeon had followed the butler’s suggestion. Since the painter would always sleep in the study alone, he envisioned that the messenger would suggest to the artist to meet Heena. The man could fake that he had been sent by his noona. He was dressed up for that reason!! Observe that the color of the hanbok is similar to this one: (chapter 94) Thus I had this sudden idea. What if the messenger was receiving his karma for beating the painter in the past? Remember how I had deducted that these two men could have been disguised as nobles!! And this new perception would fit my interpretation. But let’s return to our main topic. The courier refused the obsequious and submissive remarks from the butler. He was no fool, for he knew that because of his “plan”, he had become the biggest victim of Yoon Seungho’s wrath. This explicates why the author never revealed the father’s words, because the manhwaphiles would have discovered the valet’s plan and as such betrayal (chapter 82) This means that if father Lee or Yoon Chang-Hyeon are cornered, they could be forced to “ass-kiss” the king.

Under this new light, it becomes comprehensible why Byeonduck released such panels on Twitter: Baek Na-Kyum is now imitating his lover. He is also licking the lord’s boot/foot. However, contrary to the signification, he is actually making love to his companion. This has nothing to do with selfishness and hypocrisy. We could even say that at the end of season 3, Yoon Seungho had become the teacher’s pet, the yes-man towards Baek Na-Kyum: (chapter 92) He could never refuse his lover’s requests. Thus in the gibang, he encouraged the painter to stay in the gibang. (chapter 93) It was, as if he was seeking the kisaengs’ support. Thus he chose leniency towards these women, though the latter had insulted him. At the same time, he was not hoping to receive any flattery from the noonas. He was the one “sitting on the painter’s right side”. (chapter 93) To conclude, the lord had been “tamed”, he was apple-polishing Baek Na-Kyum, but not in a negative way. It is the positive reflection of Kim who will act behind people’s back, and definitely use sex for his own advantage. We have the perfect example with the 2 sex marathons. He always let the painter suffer in order to cover up his own wrongdoings. But by allowing the main lead to act this way indicates that he was not helping Yoon Seungho. What people thought as assistance was in truth “brown-nosing”.

Under this new light, it becomes comprehensible why Yoon Seungho questioned the painter’s fellatio in the annex. (Chapter 95) In his eyes, the lord didn’t need it, for he was already aroused. Remember in the beginning of the story, Lee Jihwa had to prepare his lover (Chapter 3) Secondly, the painter was in the position not to ask for favors, to suck up to Yoon Seungho. In their relationship, the low-born had the upper hand. Finally, Baek Na-Kyum had done nothing wrong before, so he didn’t have to beg for the main lead’s forgiveness. That’s the reason why the lord was actually rejecting the blow-job!! (Chapter 95) But his teacher taught him this: the fellatio is there for pleasure and sensuality. (Chapter 95) It is the expression of affection and love.

5. The night in the shaman’s house

In my opinion, we should see it as a reflection of Yoon Seungho’s past. Min was also associating sex to favors. (chapter 101) The painter had to do a fellatio to lord Jang in exchange for protection. (chapter 101) The artist was not acting like the teacher’s pet, (chapter 101), hence he needed to receive some lesson. In their eyes, Baek Na-Kyum should have licked their boot, sucked up to them… due to their power and social status. Therefore, it is not astonishing that at the end, they were executed. Why? It is because Min and the others could never “curry Yoon Seungho’s favor”. (chapter 102) Without the painter, the lord had no reason to continue living. Baek Na-Kyum was his source of joy and of strength. Without him, he was powerless. And this leads me to the following observation. Since we have a situation of brown-nosing concerning Black Heart in the shaman’s house, this signifies that we should have a reflection earlier in season 3. And now look at this: (chapter 92) In that scene, Min was indeed “flattering” his ex-sexual partner, while he was rather dismissing the painter. (chapter 92) He was also indirectly currying the lord’s favor. This was the reflection of the night in episode 52 either. However, contrary to season 2, Yoon Seungho had the upper-hand, as the painter had already sided with him. But one might say that this perception of “apple-polishing and buttering up” stands in opposition to my previous statement: sex is like a battle, a fight where there is only one winner. But that one doesn’t exclude the other, since Min had also tried to eliminate Baek Na-Kyum before changing his mind. This truly shows that we had two different philosophies, yet both were evolving around sex. This truly outlines that someone was “consumed by lust” in the end.

6. The Yoons

This means that Yoon Seungho can only discover the butler’s betrayal, when the latter no longer acts, as if he was buttering up to Baek Na-Kyum. But so far, the lord never discovered it. Even when he thought that the artist was dead, Kim gave him the hanbok. This could only reinforce the impression that Kim liked the artist. (chapter 102) On the other hand, Baek Na-Kyum is slowly sensing the valet’s disloyalty towards the aristocrat. (chapter 86) Since the lord could see through Jung In-hun’s true personality, I believe that it is the painter’s duty to grasp the valet’s treason. In my opinion, since he caught Kim having sex with the maid, it is only a matter of time, until he realizes his true personality. In chapter 77, valet Kim had thought that he could rekindle with the owner of the mansion, hence he brought him tea and the medicine. He envisioned that if he acted like a loyal and dedicated servant, he could regain Yoon Seungho’s support. (chapter 77) In other words, he was buttering up to the young master. But observe that in that scene, he never lowered himself in front of the young man. He didn’t go on his knees or he didn’t bow to him either. This attitude exposes the valet’s true personality. He considers himself better than Yoon Seungho and Baek Na-Kyum, refusing to admit any crime or mistake. In that scene, he never said YES! In fact, he kept contradicting his master. (chapter 77) Under this new light, the avid readers can understand why he contacted the patriarch in the end. He knew that Yoon Chang-Hyeon would listen to him, for he had been brown-nosing him for years. And the color brown of his shirt is no coincidence. Observe that when the father visited the mansion, he was wearing brown and red… (chapter 86) He envisioned that his elder son would return him the seat and as such he would become the owner of the family mansion again. Why? It is because of the main lead’s words in the library. His so-called respect towards the father was just fake. That’s the reason why the father imagined that he just needed to show up and he would get the mansion back. However, in reality, he should have sought his son’s support, and as such kiss his ass in order to achieve his goal. But the man has never done it himself. He has always been used to being fawned and ass-kissed that it is not surprising that he barged in the mansion. And this is the same for Yoon Seung-Won. The latter might have sent letters in order to obtain his brother’s support, but we can’t say that he was sucking up to Yoon Seungho. Thus it is no coincidence that at the end, the latter advised his brother to follow the father’s principles. (chapter 37) Here, he was implying that Yoon Seung-Won should do fellatios and other things in exchange for favors.

7. Conclusions

After these observations, I come to the conclusion that the sexual actions are not only reflecting the lord’s brainwashing, but also they are revealing what will happen in season 4. The more the couple will follow these principles (apple-polishing, boot licking, ass-kissing, sucking up, teacher’s pet, yes-man…) in a literal way, the more we will see the negative reflections of these actions in the other characters. The butler and the other antagonists will try to curry favors to the pedophile at the couple’s expense. And now, here is the question. Who will do it, fellatio and other things in exchange for favors? Yoon Chang-Hyeon? Yoon Seung-Won? Kim? Or Heena? As you can imagine, I am inclined to think that this should be Heena. Why? I can not forget the scholar’s words in the library: (chapter 40) Moreover, according to me, she used the young master Seungho and her brother to avoid sex. Furthermore, I would like to point out that when the kisaeng argued with her brother, this is what she said to her brother: (chapter 97) Here, she was referring to favors. Yet, shortly after she proposed this to her brother: (chapter 97) It is clear that the agreement was not selfless. No nobleman would spend money and energy for nothing. The noona was hiding the content of the deal to her brother, the negative reflection from season 1. And now, you comprehend why I am sensing that since her deal was to sell her brother in exchange of favors, her karma should be that she has no other mean than to sell herself in order to survive, as she is now on her own. And if this truly happen, this can only reinforce her resent and hatred towards the couple. But we will see, if Heena is the one “sucking up” in season 4.

Finally I would add that though Baek Na-Kyum kept saying “no no”, deep down he meant “yes, yes” and the perfect example was during the second Wedding Night: (chapter 73). But keep in mind, this is related to the painter’s education. He had been raised not only to hide his homosexuality, but also to reject sexuality as such. Naturally, in reality a no means no and nothing else.

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Painter Of The Night: Painful departures 👋🩸⚰️

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/ 

It would be great if you could make some donations/sponsoring: Ko-fi.com/bebebisous33  That way, you can support me with “coffee” so that I have the energy to keep examining manhwas. Besides, I need to cover up the expenses for this blog.

Announcement: The essay “Powerful fellatios” was updated.

Before elaborating my new discoveries, I would like to repeat the following principles on which the story was developed:

  1. There is always a reflection within the same chapter.
  2. The next episode is mirroring the previous one, naturally with slight changes.
  3. Each season is reflected in the previous and the future one.
  4. The author is working on positive and negative reflections.
  5. Thus the story is going in circle.
  6. Thus the lord’s destiny is reflected in the painter’s.

Like explained before, the reason for this huge amount of reflections is that her story is constructed like a kaleidoscope. Therefore it is not surprising that I keep contrasting many images and chapters with each other. That way, we can get new insight about the past. At the same time, the author can not expose the whole truth for two reasons. We don’t have a narrator, and since it is a manhwa, the narration is really limited. Moreover, Yoon Seungho might confess to Baek Na-Kyum about his traumatic past, yet his testimony will never mirror the entire verity. Why? It is because as a victim, he didn’t know everything. He had no idea what people would think and do behind his back. Since he had no idea about a conspiracy in season 1, 2 and 3, I conclude that it was the same in the past!! Hence it is up to the readers to fill the blanks and as such to solve the puzzle.

Striking is that after the end of season 2, I had examined the topic “farewells” [For more read essay 195 “Farewell” ] which sounds quite similar to the title of this analysis. One might fear that I could repeat myself. However, this is just a deception, for I am focusing now on season 3. With the new panels, I could get new clues about the painter’s departure from the gibang. So far, I had stated this: Heena did it for the painter’s sake. It was to protect him, (chapter 46) This was actually implied by Heena’s words and gestures, yet I had already questioned this, for Heena appeared as dishonest. Now, it is time to expose my new interpretation concerning Baek Na-Kyum’s eviction from home.

1. Exits in episode 94

What caught my attention is that chapter 94’s main topic was departure. How did I come to this perception? First, we have the well which reminded Yoon Seungho of the scholar and his poem. The latter had given the poetry referring to exit to the painter as a farewell gift. Why was the lord thinking of Jung In-Hun in that moment? It is because he had read the letters from Heena and as such her accusation against him. He had killed the learned sir, hence in the lord’s mind, it was only a matter of time until Baek Na-Kyum would bring up the subject and decide to leave him. The letters are not destroyed, for he asked this to the painter: (chapter 94) Yoon Seungho had two reasons to expect such an outcome. First, it was related to Yoon Seungho’s offer to Baek Na-Kyum. (chapter 44) Secondly, Baek Na-Kyum had already showed to the main lead that he could leave him at any moment. (chapter 85) Finally, what mattered to the artist the most was the lord’s love and trust. (chapter 85) He believed in his affection while thinking that Yoon Seungho would keep his promises. But if there was a slight doubt about him, in Yoon Seungho’s mind, the painter would choose his noona over him, like he had experienced it in the study. To sum up, in the gibang, the lord was fearing the artist’s departure. Moreover, when the painter confessed his love to the noble, he was also leaving the scholar’s side. His path was no longer following the teacher’s. Thus when he said this (chapter 94), he was actually biding farewell to Jung In-Hun. He was moving on. Finally, if you include these panels from chapter 94, , the painterofthenight-stans can notice that people are about to leave. In the first image, the young artist is chased away by the comments from the other children. Then the painter is standing in front of his noona Heena, he has just left the side of the sitting nobles. He is definitely crying, he wished to be embraced and taken away by Heena from the room. As for the last picture, we see two “nobles” leaving the painter behind. They are the ones leaving the gibang, for the exit is close. The painter ‘s face had been beaten, hence we could view drops of blood on the ground and the white head-band.

Interesting is that these three departures were all painful. First, Baek Na-Kyum’s heart got broken, for he was excluded by the children forcing him to live in the gibang. After that, he lived in seclusion. The children used their words and gestures to make him leave. Simultaneously, this panel indicates that the painter had left the kisaeng house and strolled through the streets. Then in the second image, the nobles were more aggressive, for they had removed the painter’s pants. As the manhwalovers can detect, the violence was increasing, thus when the painter’s visage was wounded, it represents the high peak of violence against the painter. Under this new light, it becomes comprehensible why the author chose not to follow the chronology. In this panel, the painter had still a braid (chapter 94) (chapter 94), but not here. This means that the rejection from the “peasants” happened afterwards. And now, if I include Jung In-Hun’s departure, the latter is supposed to have been killed, it becomes palpable that in Painter Of The Night, departure is strongly associated to blood, desertion, imprisonment and death. But this doesn’t end here.

2. The painter’s departure

I couldn’t help myself connecting this scene (chapter 94) with this physical assault in front of the learned sir’s home: (chapter 99) In these two scenes, the painter got so hurt that he was bleeding. In addition, the painter’s hair was free. In front of Jung In-Hun’s house, the perpetrators had removed his headgear, while in the gibang, the white head-band was on the ground. To conclude, the painter’s short hair was visible. Don’t forget that the short hair was indicating that the artist was an orphan. So by removing the headgear for noblewomen, Min and the black guards made sure to expose that the victim was just a low-born without any family. But let’s return to our comparison. Min was wearing a similar hanbok than the noble in the gibang. Furthermore, the black guard resembles a lot to the aristocrat with the hunting outfit in the kisaeng house house. The painter’s white headband is now serving as a cover for masking the black guards’ identity. As you can see, due to these similarities, I came to the conclusion that this scene (chapter 94) was the reason why Baek Na-Kyum left the gibang. Why do I think so? First, it is related to Heena’s absence.

3. Heena’s role

Where is she? Why didn’t she come and protect her brother? The perfect excuse would be that she was busy with a client. And this leads me to the following observation. Note that in this scene, Heena was standing in front of the door. (chapter 94) She was actually the one hindering the painter to run away. She didn’t act like Jung In-Hun at all (chapter 68). She let her brother hear the laughs from the younger masters. It looks like she is consoling her brother, yet she is not, for she is not embracing him. She is grabbing him by the shirt which reminded me of this gesture: (chapter 97) Hence I deduce that this scene in the gibang (chapter 97) is a reflection of the incident in the painter’s youth. (chapter 94)

Chapter 94 negative reflectionChapter 97 positive reflection
Painter in tears  Painter smiling, even when he gets scared
Heena brings a table with food.Baek Na-Kyum returned to the room in order to fetch the “paper”.
Heena says nothing and feels sorry for the painter –She talks the whole time
She remains next to the door.She approaches her brother in the room.
She grabs him by the shirtShe grabs him by the shirt
BNK wants to be huggedHeena wants to hug her brother, but she is rejected
BAek Na-Kyum believes herBaek Na-Kyum reproaches her to tell stories
Heena doesn’t weepShe is now in tears
Heena definitely portrayed the nobles as ruthless and filthy.Now, she found a nobleman who would help them
Heena stands in front of the entrance.Heena stands in the way to the door.

As you can see, these two scenes share so many parallels that I came to the conclusion that in both cases Heena was stopping her brother from leaving the room. (chapter 94) The table and the kisaeng were in his way. In other words, in this scene, she didn’t let the painter leave the room. However, the huge difference is that contrary to episode 97, she was acting under the influence of her unconscious/subconscious. This means that she was not doing it on purpose contrary to her confrontation with her brother in the annex. Here, she desired that her brother wouldn’t return to Yoon Seungho’s mansion. He should remain by her side and follow her. In chapter 94, she could have acted like the scholar (chapter 68) But she did not. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think that she had bad intentions here. However, her passivity caught my attention. She was immobile and silent. (chapter 94) Hence Byeonduck drew her without mouth. Her behavior contrasts so much to this scene: (chapter 65). Thus she gave more the impression of being righteous and truly concerned.

Moreover, another detail caught my attention: (chapter 94) The presence of the moustache beard!! Three of them have one!! (chapter 94) The painterofthenight-lovers will certainly recall Yoon Seungho’s words: (chapter 44) However, there exists a difference between the painter and the lord’s association for beards in my opinion. The latter suffered due to old men wearing a long moustache beard with whiskers. (chapter 82) (chapter 83) (chapter 37)

Noblemen’s grooming styles for facial hair found in thirty portraits handed down from the Joseon Dynasty are as follows. Facial hair is classified into three types: beards, moustaches and whiskers according to its location. Twenty one portraits show that the subjects groomed all three types of facial hair.” Quoted from http://www.rjcc.or.kr/journal/article.php?code=7079

But there exists another style of moustache beard.

The remaining nine scholars also grew and trimmed their moustaches in the 八shape neatly, and had beards in an inverted triangle long enough to reach the lower part of the neck. However they do not have whiskers in their portraits. Quoted from http://www.rjcc.or.kr/journal/article.php?code=7079

Striking is that Kim is also wearing such a moustache beard. (chapter 87) However, so far in the story, this type of moustache beard was only present among commoners and not nobles!! (chapter 39) (chapter 45) (chapter 45) (chapter 64) (chapter 78) Hence I started suspecting if these two persons were truly nobles in the end. (chapter 94) Just because they are wearing clothes destined to aristocrats, this doesn’t mean that they are truly lords. And don’t forget that when the painter was attacked in front of the learned sir’s home, many people were disguised. The kisaeng Heena was dressed like a commoner’s wife (chapter 99), Min was cosplaying Lee Jihwa, the guards were covering their mouths, Baek Na-Kyum had been wearing a expensive scarf and a headgear for noblewomen, (chapter 99) so that he had been mistaken for a young master. (chapter 91). Therefore I came to the conclusion that the painter has repressed the link between the moustache beard and nobles. Since the noona kept saying nobles, what made Baek Na-Kyum shudder in the past were nobles. But the connection between the beard and nobility is existent in the painter’s subconscious. This explicates why Baek Na-Kyum would show such a respect to valet Kim, he would call him sir and listen to him. (chapter 52) However, the more time passed on, the more the butler kept pointing out that he was just a servant, so that this moustache beard is losing its meaning, the symbol for power and nobility. At the same time, the painter met more and more people with beards, like for example the tailor (chapter 74), the physician (chapter 74), Bongyong (chapter 78) and finally Yoon Chang-Hyeon (chapter 87). However, note that when the patriarch left, the main character only paid attention to his gaze and not his beard. (chapter 87) This explicates why Baek Na-Kyum is not mentioning the beard concerning nobility, while Yoon Seungho never made the connection between the old bearded men and Kim, though the latter has now a moustache beard! To conclude, I don’t think that this physical assault (chapter 94) was really done by nobles. Moreover, we shouldn’t forget that the gibang is not only visited by aristocrats, but also by commoners (rich merchants, small shop owners, workers). (chapter 99). That’s the reason why I came to the following theory. These persons wounded the painter on purpose and in my eyes, it was suggested by Heena. (chapter 94) She couldn’t ask nobles to commit such a crime due to her social status, hence she asked the assistance of low-borns. Striking is that the painter was mostly hurt by commoners in the different seasons: The servants (chapter 13), the maid (though not intended) (chapter 36, here the painter is drugged against his will), Deok-Jae , Nameless, (chapter 60), Kim (chapter 66) [As you already know, for me Kim was the one who tried to kill the painter during the abduction], Bongyong (chapter 78), the calligrapher with his insults (chapter 91), the maids with their reproaches (chapter 91) (chapter 98) and the black guards from Min. (chapter 99) The commoners are often the helping hands of the nobles. But as you know, Heena has been denying their existence and involvement. Why? It is because she has been a helping hand herself. Under this new approach, you comprehend why I came to the deduction that Heena had utilized people to make her brother desert the kisaeng house. This is no coincidence that in chapter 97, the painter was accompanied by 2 servants (chapter 97), two commoners who neglected him totally. By the way, the one with the green shirt and white jacket vanished later. He was not seen in the mansion. Anyway, the two domestics wouldn’t even follow the lord’s orders properly, for they never stayed by the painter’s side. And since it is a reflection from chapter 94, I deduce that the two “nobles” acted the opposite. They played their role perfectly to the point that the painter was terribly wounded and he never doubted their identities. They were just nobles! And that’s the point. That way, no person was truly blamed for the incident.

Hence Heena didn’t suggest the painter’s exit right after this incident, she had to wait for his recovery, and naturally she had to blame someone: the nobles!! She played with his prejudices in the end. The first evidence for this theory is that during that fateful night, Baek Na-Kyum didn’t go straight to the teacher’s home, for he first returned to Yoon Seungho’s mansion. This time, she couldn’t convince her brother to follow her suggestion, an indication that the indoctrination was no longer effective. This stands in opposition to chapter 94, where the painter’s self-esteem was ruined. Thus he chose to listen to her advice without resisting. This explicates why during their first farewell, the readers were able to see the painter’s face and the white headband on his head!! (chapter 46) This was the “positive” reflection of this scene: (chapter 94) No matter what… Baek Na-Kyum should leave the kisaeng house. What caught my attention is that she only presented her argument, the moment the painter was about to leave her. Thus he recalled her words when he was on his way to the gibang (chapter 46) and as such to the scholar’s home. (chapter 46) Moreover, I am now doubting that Baek Na-Kyum and Heena were seen in front of the gibang. (chapter 46) Why? It is because of the building and the absence of the cheongsachorong (the blue and red lantern). First, the gibang is surrounded by a wall made of stones! (chapter 19) (chapter 69) (chapter 93) Secondly, there is no window next to the entrance of the building contrary to the image from chapter 46. Consequently, I deduce that Heena had left the gibang with her brother saying that she was meeting a client, and just before entering the mansion, she sent away her brother. This explicates why he had only taken his tools and nothing more. Remember what the noonas said in chapter 93: (chapter 93) She implied that the noona was not present in the kisaeng house, while in reality she was punished, trapped in a storage room. And now, you comprehend why Heena said this to her brother: (chapter 46) He couldn’t bid farewell to his noonas, for he had already left the kisaeng house. But he had no idea that he would be sent away during that day. The other evidence for this theory is that the painter went to his lover’s home before visiting the scholar’s house. (chapter 97-98) Furthermore, the night before, the noona had implied that Heena had left the gibang. Thus I conclude that Baek Na-Kyum was truly abandoned by Heena in the end, but he got deceived by her gentle words and gestures. The physical abuse in the kisaeng house and her kind gestures had played a huge role in this. He could no longer be protected there. She justified this that it was for the painter’s best interests. She knew what the artist truly desired. However, this was not true, as she had manipulated him and she had never asked him. Under this new light, you comprehend how Heena could deceive her colleagues so easily with this statement: (chapter 93) He had suddenly vanished without voicing such a desire before. And note that in chapter 97, she was already acting on Min’s orders, a sign that in the past, it was different. She had done it on her own accord. In the annex, the kisaeng was definitely scared, hence she was trembling. (chapter 97) I have always said that the painter’s departure from the kisaeng house (chapter 1-46) was related to a crime, but the noona was not aware of this, or deep down she knew, but she chose to close an eye to this. Why do I think that this is related to murder? Simply, because in front of the scholar’s house, she faked her death and the painter had been wounded too. (chapter 99) Finally, we have this execution in chapter 1. During that night, Baek Na-Kyum should have died. But let’s return to episode 97. Here, she was resenting her brother. (chapter 97) She was totally unhappy which stands in opposition to chapter 46 in my eyes. Hence she was looking for new tissues at the tailor’s. (chapter 64) This would explain why she never looked for her brother afterwards. This shows that unconsciously, the painter had judged her betrayal and abandonment correctly, but he had been deceived by her argumentation and attitude. In other words, he was in denial.

4. The purpose of these reflections

I believe that these incidents are created to expose the transformation and evolution of characters. Heena felt powerless and scared, when she was young. Due to her anxieties (according to me, genophobia) she made wrong decisions, thus she let the protagonists suffer. She was definitely a victim due to her social status as kisaeng, for it was not her choice to become a kisaeng. Nonetheless, the problem is that in chapter 94, she utilized the painter as her shield. The real victim in this scene is not Heena, but Baek Na-Kyum. She had brought the table and let the painter approach the nobles. Why did they want to confirm, if he was a girl or a boy? (chapter 94) The clothes were indicating that he was a boy!! Moreover, why did she let him approach these men? It was during the night, for he was wearing his night clothes. So he should have slept. In my opinion, she utilized the painter in order to explain why she couldn’t perform her duties as a kisaeng. She was constantly followed by the painter. Simultaneously, she could utilize this incident to portray herself as a victim of violent and filthy nobles. She could lie to her brother, and explain that when he was not with her, she had to bear such an attitude. He would believe her, for he had experienced it once. She was clearly avoiding her fate as a kisaeng. Furthermore, she could explain why she was not working or sharing her bed with the other noonas. (chapter 87) So in this scene, (chapter 68), Baek Na-Kyum had the impression that she was telling the truth. It looked like she was a victim of violence, while in reality, Yoon Seungho was the real victim. He got dragged and tied up! Today, I just discovered another evidence for this interpretation! (chapter 68) The blue skirt is revealing her presence. She is next to the door and observe that there is a table to her right!! Exactly like in chapter 94! But it was much bigger. This means that she left the room. And since the table was not present in this image, (chapter 86), I deduce that Heena explained her desertion by taking away the table so that she had the perfect excuse to leave this room and abandon Yoon Seungho. It was not her business. But if she left the room during that night, she could have followed her brother. But she never did it. She let her brother imagine that she was suffering. (chapter 70) Terrible, right? However, since the painter had been deceived by impressions, he came to believe her version and lies. But there is more to it. Because the artist was so young, he never realized that he could have detected her manipulations!! How? She should have become a wreck… have bruises on her body, but she never had any.

This new interpretation is truly important, because it made me realize why Heena got punished in the storage room. 😮 (chapter 93) Since she excused her vanishing by saying that she had to remove the dishes and as such was busy in the kitchen, it is normal that she was imprisoned next to the kitchen 10 years later!! Here, we can recognize the kitchen by the door made of wooden planks: (chapter 95) But there exist two other evidences why Heena is associated to the kitchen. Remember the painter’s thoughts in the inn: (chapter 75) They let see that he was thinking of Heena, though he spoke of his noonas. However, the presence of religion was introduced with food. (chapter 75) This truly exposes that Heena preferred working in the kitchen. That way, she could avoid sex with the clients. Another interesting aspect is that when she was sitting at the table with nobles, she was not talking to her neighbors. . (chapter 93) She was not even serving the noble next to her. (chapter 93) Once again, she was passive and immobile. Since she was doing nothing, she could hear her brother’s name and turn her head. (chapter 93) Under this new light, it becomes understandable why Baek Na-Kyum didn’t detect her presence in the patio. It was not her usual place. At the same time, the readers can grasp why the artist didn’t mind eating in the kitchen with the maids and felt comfortable around the head-maid. (chapter 46) This was reflecting his past relationship with Heena. And now, you comprehend why Heena never paid attention to the painter’s education. She had not the time and the motivation to do so. She was busy in the kitchen during the evening and night, yet keep in mind that the painter was her excuse to keep her distance from the nobles in the beginning. This explicates why Yoon Seungho crashed the table in the gibang: (chapter 99) This was Heena’s karma. She could no longer use the table as an excuse to betray and abandon a young boy. Moreover, we could see this gesture as a compensation for the past incident. (chapter 68) Finally, the lord could voice his frustration and his resent for the kisaeng who had “deceived” him. Now, I am wondering if during that night, the rice had not been spoiled too. The most important aspect is that she had definitely seen the abduction and sequestration, yet she did nothing. But if the food was spoiled, then I can understand why she acted that way. She didn’t want to be punished. But if this theory is correct, , it depends on if she was involved in this incident or not. Yet I don’t believe that she was responsible here. She preferred Yoon Seungho taking the fall. So she took the table with her colleague and left the room. (chapter 68) How do I come to this idea? It is because there is a progression in the responsibility. But we will see, if the lord’s anger was caused by spoiled rice. One thing is sure: the butler is recreating events from the past. And shortly after the painter’s departure from his noona situated in chapter 46, (chapter 46), we had this incident: . (chapter 47). That’s the reason why I am connecting the kisaeng to the food. And I had already demonstrated that there exists a link between the gibang and the lord’s kitchen.

That’s how I made a new connection between Heena and Nameless. The latter is a butcher, and he was seen in the kitchen. (chapter 60) And now, we know for sure that the chicken blood was used to stage the crime scene in the scholar’s house. (chapter 101) For me, Nameless was behind this prank. It sounded so harmless, but the reality is totally different. Consequently, Heena can become the prime suspect in the scholar’s disappearance. Remember that according to me, Yoon Seung-Won went to the gibang after leaving his brother’s mansion and discovered that he had been deceived. For me, there is no ambiguity that Yoon Seung-Won and lord Song are behind the learned sir’s murder, for both had a huge interest for his vanishing. But in my eyes, Heena is the link between the nobles, lord Song and No-Name, because the kisaeng house is frequented by all kind of people. I have already mentioned that the learned sir must have gone to the kisaeng house after meeting the fake servant. (chapter 38) This encounter took place during the day, however he returned during the night. So he must have spent some time elsewhere. Because of the connection between Heena and the kitchen, I think, she will have to take the fall for No-Name’s crimes. Under this new light, I comprehend why Byeonduck declared that she had no longer planned Mumyeong and Lee Jihwa. Both were already receiving their punishment, when they fled. But since I detected a connection between Heena and No-Name, I am quite sure that she is also responsible for the downfall of No-Name. And don’t forget that during the incident in the bedchamber, we had a party!! (chapter 83) Then I had already demonstrated that the kisaeng had already visited the mansion, for she knew where the painter’s room was. (chapter 65) So she could have worked in the kitchen… helping the other maids. To conclude, the kisaeng had committed the following wrongdoings. She had manipulated her brother with a mixture of belief and prejudices to cover up her own fears and wrongdoings. While in chapter 94, she stopped the painter from leaving the room unconsciously, it was no longer the case with Yoon Seungho, as she was standing in front of the door. (chapter 68) She contributed to his abduction and sequestration. But this doesn’t end here. She was also a witness of his sexual abuse, but she chose to close an eye. Thus she said this to the painter: (chapter 68) For her, sex had become a synonym for torture and death. Her wrong choices reinforced her fears about sex in my eyes. Every time, she decided not to face the truth, she preferred being blind. Thus the goddess chose to punish her by letting her deceived by impressions. (chapter 88) (chapter 66) Here, she couldn’t help her brother, though the “sequestration” was nothing compared to what Yoon Seungho had experienced at such a young age. She had deceived her brother in the past, and now she was put in the same position. She was the fool one. In addition, she was forced to be confronted with reality, because she needed to admit her wrongdoings. Since she was behind this assault (chapter 94), she had to see her brother wounded, the consequences of her lies and manipulations. (chapter 99) Yet, each time she refused to become responsible. She always had a perfect excuse: the nobles were to blame for this, the lord had acted like a spoiled child etc…. In front of the scholar’s house, it was because her brother had not listened to her. Besides, Min was also accountable for this. (chapter 99) She never pointed her finger to the black guards, for she knew that they could reply that she was responsible for her brother’s resistance. She had not been able to convince him to follow Min. She preferred blaming innocent people (Baek Na-Kyum, Yoon Seungho and “Jihwa”) than recognizing her own guilt and her bad choices. Since in the past, she stood in front of her door, her punishment was to remain outside. She could never enter the room (chapter 66). (chapter 96) She even got sequestered herself. (chapter 93), therefore it is not surprising that at the end, she was determined to leave the kisaeng house. But this doesn’t end here. The painter had been denied the right to bid farewell to his noonas a second time because of Heena (again), (chapter 99), this means that her punishment will be that she will never see her colleagues again. Since she faked her death (chapter 99), her karma will be that she gets killed for real. In my opinion, Heena is destined to suffer and die a horrible death. Remember that in this story, karma will be 1000% worse than the crime itself. She will be definitely blamed for the murder of many people. Since she claimed that nobles were filthy and violent liars, her doctrines and belief could be used against her, the moment the police investigate Black Heart’s death. .(chapter 102) She is a Christian, hence she could be accused of sacrilege too. In my eyes, Heena will never be able to bid farewell to her brother again. His words in the mansion will become a reality. (chapter 69) As you can see, I am detecting a progression in her wrongdoings. She is getting more and more involved, though there is no ambiguity that she was deceived herself in season 3. But this doesn’t excuse her crimes, for she refused to listen to her brother and called him an idiot. At no moment, she pondered on the situation. Her decisions were strongly influenced by her emotions (fear, anger and hatred). That’s the reason why I am convinced that if she is not dead (my theory), her attitude towards her brother will worsen to the point that she will call her brother a bird of misfortune! (chapter 68) Remember her metaphor concerning the gibang, it was viewed as a nest. She was already comparing her brother to a bird. (chapter 93) Thus the only thing that is missing is “of misfortune”. And she can only adopt such a belief, for everything she had planned never worked out. She imagined that she could exchange her brother for her freedom (chapter 97) which represented a betrayal of her own doctrines. But the result was that Min was killed, hence her situation can only deteriorate. If she can escape punishment concerning the nobles’ killing, she has then an opportunity to change her situation by putting the blame on her brother. Why? It is because Baek Na-Kyum will be perceived by Kim and the pedophile as the bird of misfortune. They will be reunited by this “belief”. This reinforces my conviction that the departures in season 4 will become very bloody and painful. The irony is that her metaphor with the bird revealed more about her own thoughts than she imagined. She just needed to give him some warmth, feed Baek Na-Kyum, and that was it. He had a bed and he could eat. A smile and a caress on the cheek were enough to motivate the painter. Her affection was fleeting and trivial in the end. However, while writing this essay, I realized why Baek Na-Kyum ended up drawing in the courtyard. It is because this was the only place where he could be in peace. In the room, he got assaulted by the nobles (chapter 94) or he had to witness his noona getting “beaten” by a violent noble (chapter 68). As you can see, the kitchen and the courtyard seemed to be the only place where he was left alone, until he got assault in the courtyard. Naturally, it was only possible during the day. Thus the learned sir had such a memory. (chapter 01)

5. Conclusions

The story is not only reflecting Heena’s metamorphosis and downfall, but also it serves as an example for the painter. Through her, he can grasp why Yoon Chang-Hyeon had such a cold gaze towards his own son. The ruin of their relationship will make him realize why the father could turn his back on his own son, the refusal of admitting his wrong choices and guilt. If he recalls their last argument, he can already notice the change in her gaze. (chapter 97) Fake concern versus anger and resent (chapter 97) The only difference is that here her fury and hatred were addressed more towards Yoon Seungho than the painter. However, gradually she was slowly revealing her anger towards her brother. At the end of season 3, her exit is quite sudden and brutal: staged death! (chapter 99) But by faking her death, she not only hides her desertion, but also she is not able to bid farewell to her brother. He is left behind unconscious, so he can not notice her “death”, while in her mind, she can only remember this image: (chapter 99) Baek Na-Kyum lying unconscious and his head covered in blood. Will she feel remorse and blame herself for his “death”? If she is still alive, it is possible, however the moment she realizes that Baek Na-Kyum escaped death and as such staged his curtains, she can only resent him, for he deceived her. In reality, she was the one who deceiving everyone: Jihwa and the other nobles. To conclude, she played a bigger role in Yoon Seungho’s suffering in the end.

Feel free to comment. If you have any suggestion for topics or manhwas, feel free to ask. If you enjoyed reading it, retweet it or push the button like. My Reddit-Instagram-Tumblr-Twitter account is: @bebebisous33. Thanks for reading and for the support, particularly, I would like to thank all the new followers and people recommending my blog.

Painter Of The Night: Happy laughter 😄 and fearful agony 😧

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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What is the common denominator between all these images? The painter’s mouth is wide open. This implies that the painter is laughing! In other words, these pictures are showing a happy Baek Na-Kyum. The laughter is not just a symbol for joy, but also an indicator for social bonding, cooperation and as such social acceptance. Note that in all these scenes, the painter is not laughing alone. He is either facing his lover and the “witnesses” of his marriage.

On the other hand, what caught my attention is that in the story itself, the manhwaphiles never saw the painter laughing in the present!! The only time, he was caught laughing happened during a dream. (chapter 87) Naturally, this vision reflected the past due to the presence of the noonas. But if you read my previous analysis, you are aware that the painter’s nocturne visions are always composed of three elements: memory, nightmare and desires which will come true at some point. The readers will certainly recall the painter’s wish in the bedchamber: (chapter 81) However, here again, this was not real, for he was imagining it. He had restrained himself, for he felt that his actual life was like an illusion. It was too good to be true. Thus I conclude that in both visions, the painter wished to laugh and as such to be happy. And this observation led me to the following deduction. In season 4, the manhwalovers will witness Baek Na-Kyum’s laughter. But this doesn’t end here. All the quoted pictures share another similarity which is the absence of the sound!! There is no HA, HA, HA…. Thus I deduce that in season 4, the readers will even hear Baek Na-Kyum’s laugh!! 🤣

1. Evidences for this prediction

First, I would like to remind my avid readers the following rules: Yoon Seungho’s actions will always be reflected by the painter’s and the reverse. Secondly, each scene in a season will be mirrored in other seasons. Striking is that the readers could witness Yoon Seungho’s joy and laugh in season 1. Thus this means that the painter should laugh in season 4. Interesting is that the author had separated the lord’s laugher in two different scenes. In episode 1, the protagonist had his mouth wide open, because he was so happy to meet his idol. (chapter 1). His mouth was exposing his emotions: happiness. It was, as if he was laughing internally out of joy. Then in the pavilion, the author let us hear Yoon Seungho’s laugh, while we couldn’t see his face. (chapter 25) As you can see, Yoon Seungho was not truly seen “laughing”. This is what we saw right after: (chapter 25) Either the sound was missing, or the readers couldn’t see his open mouth. Then in chapter 51, Byeonduck created an ambiguous situation. (chapter 51) Who was laughing here? The main lead or Min recognizable with his green hanbok? This confusion was deliberate. It was to give the impression that the lord had moved on, he was not missing his partner. This image served to divulge the reality: this happiness was fake. Another interesting aspect is that we couldn’t see the lord’s mouth, for it was too far away. It was more or less drawn from the painter’s perspective who was walking in the courtyard. (chapter 51) The purpose of this trick was to deceive the painter, Yoon Seungho would no longer care for him. However, this trick didn’t work out like imagined due to the maid’s words. She wished that he would remain in the mansion. But let’s return our attention to the laugher in this panel. I would even add that there was no real social bounding, for Black Heart was enjoying about Yoon Seungho’s misery and loss. He believed that the painter had died. And if it was Yoon Seungho who laughed, then this was to mask his pain. Then in chapter 70, he was caught laughing. And observe that the author separated the sound from the face: (chapter 70) Yoon Seungho would even hide his face from the painter, as he was looking down. His laugh was barely perceptible, and when the author revealed his face, Yoon Seungho used his hand to mask his smile. (chapter 70) It was, as if Yoon Seungho was not allowed to smile or to laugh at all. I would even go so far to say that laughers were actually forbidden in the mansion. Striking is that in season 3, for the first time, we could see and hear the lord’s laughter contrary to season 1 and 2.. (chapter 78) This illustrates the progression of the lord’s healing. He was getting happier, and he would interact more and more with people. Yet, in this scene, the lord’s laughter was not loud contrary to the one in the pavilion. Then in the gibang, his laugh was also fake, for he was masking his pain. (chapter 93) Thus the author didn’t let us see his mouth once again. But the painter could see the difference between a sincere laughter and a fake one, as he had already heard and see the lord’s true laugher! Because the lord laughed in all 3 seasons, I could only assume the painter’s laughing in season 4. But I have another proof for this prediction. In season 3, the painter’s laughter was shown in visions (chapter 81, 87) or through the testimony of the maid. (chapter 91) However, the manhwalovers have to envision that, when he caught the pervert with the maid together, he was totally embarrassed. Hence his laugh was fake! In other words, I am doubting that he truly laughed. That’s the reason why Baek Na-Kyum denied to find the situation funny. (chapter 91) As a conclusion, expect a picture with Baek Na-Kyum ‘s laughter reflecting his happiness and sincerity. And this is definitely related to his marriage: I have another proof for this expectation, the lord’s mouth in this scene: (chapter 87) Here, he was making fun of his father, and used the rumors about his imminent marriage. That’s how I realized that in season 3, the lord had often played the role of the Joker (chapter 78-79; 87; 89-90-91), until he was replaced by Black Heart. That’s the reason why I have been predicting that in season 4, Yoon Seungho will play a huge prank on the old bearded men, especially the mysterious lord Song, with his marriage. But while making this connection between the lord’s laughter and the painter’s, I had another revelation: the mouth wide open is not just the expression for laughter, but also for fear and suffering.

2. Anxiety and torture

Look at this image: (chapter 102) There is no HAHA, this shows that this situation is not funny. Yet, Black Heart is still smiling, he is even explaining that they were just playing. However, this smile is totally fake, for he is already scared. Hence he is stuttering. Moreover, he is trying to downplay the whole situation, as he describes it as a game. But the closer Yoon Seungho got to him, the more the villain got scared. (chapter 102) On the other hand, Black Heart’s mouth remained wide open, but it slowly exposed his true emotions. As the manhwalovers can detect, the sound “Haa,” is not expressing joy or happiness, but huge anxieties. Thus I couldn’t help myself thinking that in season 4, the painter’s laughter will be reflected with the heavy breathing from fear and pain. Someone will have a mouth wide open out of fear!! And this connection was already present in chapter 1: (chapter 1) versus (chapter 1) Baek Na-Kyum and Yoon Seungho had both flashbacks (chapter 66), while Min was smiling. He was internally laughing, for it found it entertaining. [For more read the essay HAHA Flashbacks”] And this fear was exposed by the sound: HAA (chapter 99) But this doesn’t end here.

The sound HAA is just associated to anxiety, but also to moan. Hence I couldn’t restrain myself thinking that the wide open mouth can not only express pleasure, but also pain caused by TORTURE! Let’s not forget that the painter had been hiding his moaning out of pleasure in the past (chapter 84), but in the gibang, he dropped this habit for good: (chapter 96) This connection between pain, pleasure and laughter appeared in chapter 91, as the story is based on the following rule: there is always a reflection within the same episode. I would like the manhwaphiles to observe this image: (chapter 91) Here, the lord had changed position provoking pleasure to the artist. Before, the maid had laughed so loudly in order to get the painter’s attention. (chapter 91) According to my interpretation, she hoped that Baek Na-Kyum would discover the existence of the kisaeng’s letters so that the painter would feel betrayed by Yoon Seungho. He had ordered to hide the correspondence. But for that, she needed to explain the reason for her loud laughter. Hence she revealed the incident with the pervert. The irony is that due to his pleasure and embarrassment, Baek Na-Kyum didn’t pay attention to her words. He already felt ashamed, after the servant had exposed the situation in the bathroom. (chapter 91) Thus he avoided his lover’s gaze. And note that in chapter 25, the lord laughed, before he raped the painter. (chapter 25) This episode exposes the connection between laugh and pain. Here, you can see that the painter is also screaming out of pain, the negative reflection of Yoon Seungho’s laugh. Baek Na-Kyum’s mouth was wide open. When people are tortured, they will usually scream their pain and fear.

The last image is taken from Dong-Yi, a historical k-drama, which I am employing as a reference. The beholder can detect a huge difference between this scene (chapter 37) and the one from Dong-Yi. The absence of the sound. Moreover, the manhwalovers can not see the mouths from the victims either. The torture was already finished, for they had removed the tools and the „suspects“ were covered with blood. And this leads me to the following observation. The author selected a perspective from far away, and didn’t add the sound on purpose. This shows that the pedophile was not present, when the torture took place. He only arrived afterwards. This exposes his cowardice. Secondly, since I had outlined that the author had separated the sound (HA HA) from the lord’s mouth concerning the laughter, I am quite certain that she will use a similar processes for the torture. Naturally, I am also assuming that torture from the past could be slowly revealed. Consequently, my prediction is that the negative reflection of the painter’s laughter will be the yelling combined with fear and pain. This signifies that people will suffer in season 4 and probably die. Another evidence for this prediction is that the author often focused on the characters’ mouth. And this is what we have: (chapter 77) (chapter 86) (chapter 98) In the last scene, Heena was sort of “punished”, when she confessed to the main lead. That’s the reason why I believe that in season 4, we will see people screaming out of pain and fear. It can be in the present or in the past. The interrogation and torture should be exposed in my eyes contrary to chapter 37. Why? It is because Baek Na-Kyum needs to know what happened to Yoon Seungho to understand him. There is no ambiguity that the painter will suffer again, for in this work “pain” is necessary to change the painter’s mind and heart. Remember that he was “tormented”, when he finally admitted that he believed in his lover’s innocence. (chapter 99) Despite the “torture”, he still claimed that Yoon Seungho was no murderer. Thus I conclude that in the next season, it should be the reverse. Yoon Seungho has to make a new leap of faith believing in the painter’s innocence and purity. Hence I am expecting an arrest in season 4. Finally, we shouldn’t overlook that each word Yoon Seungho said became the truth, so when he stated this (chapter 65), he was already warning the sister. She could face human justice. However, this idiom suddenly caught my attention: “the wrath of humans”. It can be a reference to the authorities, but also to the inhabitants. The latter could get infuriated by the police work and put the officers under pressure or in the worst case, the inhabitants could decide to do their own justice: lynch mob. According to me, many commoners died in season 3. Hence this could upset the town folks who would ask for real justice. And if Yoon Seungho’s fiancée is acknowledged by them, then it will be impossible for the pedophile to use the authorities to achieve his goal, separate the couple and hide his own crimes. Thus his last puppets will have to take the fall. Another important aspect is that when Yoon Seungho warned the kisaeng, Kim was also present, though he still remained in the background. (chapter 65) As you can imagine, I am already sensing a bad ending for Heena and Kim. Striking is that in this scene, while the noona was seen constantly with her mouth wide open, yelling at the host and calling for her brother, the latter was having a flashback. This is no coincidence, especially if you recall that Heena was connected to Baek Na-Kyum’s tears: (chapter 68) (chapter 94) In fact, this reinforces my conviction that the painter’s laughter will be contrasted with people’s moaning and yells out of agony. At the same time, I think that Heena is connected to scandal, but in season 2 and 3, she failed to create a ruckus. Why? It is because in the past, she had helped to cover up the crimes committed in the kisaeng house.

3. Conclusions

Under this new perspective, the manhwalovers can comprehend why I used the following emojis in the title: 😄😧 Both of them have a open mouth, the only difference are the eyes. Out of fear, the eyes get bigger, because the body is in survival modus. On the other hand, when these persons got tortured, they closed their eyes out of agony,

reminding us of the painter’s suffering in the gibang. Yet, the closed eyes and the open mouth is quite similar to the painter’s laughter: The readers can grasp why I made this connection between suffering and happiness in the end.

Feel free to comment. If you have any suggestion for topics or manhwas, feel free to ask. If you enjoyed reading it, retweet it or push the button like. My Reddit-Instagram-Tumblr-Twitter account is: @bebebisous33. Thanks for reading and for the support, particularly, I would like to thank all the new followers and people recommending my blog.

Painter Of The Night: The rise of the dragon 🐲

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/ 

It would be great if you could make some donations/sponsoring: Ko-fi.com/bebebisous33  That way, you can support me with “coffee” so that I have the energy to keep examining manhwas. Besides, I need to cover up the expenses for this blog.

1. Yoon Seungho the king

After the end of season 1, I had been contacted by many followers asking me about the possible ending of Painter Of The Night. Many feared for a depressing ending, as Byeonduck had declared that the protagonists would be happy on their own. In their mind, this meant that the protagonists wouldn’t end up together. My reply was that the couple would become happy without getting too dependent on each other. I meant Yoon Seungho and Baek Na-Kyum would come to give a new sense to their own life, and their love would help them to have a goal and purpose in their life. And that’s how real couples live. Thus while examining season 1 closely, I came to imagine that Yoon Seungho would become the king and Baek Na-Kyum his painter. As you can see, very early on, I connected the noble to royalty. Why? First, we had the lord outlining his powerful position in front of the painter. (chapter 11) Secondly, I had associated the main lead to the eagle which is the symbol for the kings and emperors in Europe. He was seen here flying (chapter 30), and his fingers reminded me of the eagle’s claws. (chapter 18) And this perception got even reinforced, when I saw this panel: (chapter 52) In this scene, he was sitting like a king surrounded by his “court”. The hanbok had such a design that I couldn’t help myself associating it to Joseon’s monarchy.

However, I have to admit my mistake, for this interpretation was strongly influenced by my own culture and as such European history. Yet, here we are dealing with Korean and as such with Joseon culture. Hence the symbol for Joseon’s dynasty is not the eagle, but the dragon. That’s why when I saw this new image on Twitter , I had another revelation. On the one hand, it actually confirmed that Yoon Seungho was somehow destined to become a king, yet he is not represented by the eagle or the phoenix, but by the dragon. Hence the moment I saw this image, one idiom came to my mind: Dragon king!

2. Yongwang

Because of this sudden association, I decided to look more into it. Thus imagine my surprise, when I discovered this:

https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2022/10/113_324712.html

Yongwang, or Dragon King, is a deity of the river or the sea, overseeing peace in the house, good health and longevity in the family, the harvest, catch and safe sailing. Yongwang is also called Yongsin (Dragon God).

Communities worshipped Yongwang as a water god, holding divine powers to control rainfall. Dragon King worship is closely related to the contemporary practice of staging rituals at village springs or wells that are believed to be dwelling places for Yongwang. Around the country there are also legends regarding dragon springs and dragon wells, created by a dragon that brought rain to repay humans by turning wasteland fertile, which shows that Yongwang is closely related to farming. […] In shamanism, Yongwang oversees not only fishing, but the souls of those who have drowned and died. In the worship of household gods, it is a deity that oversees peace in the household, good health and longevity in the family, the harvest, catch and safe sailing.

Among rituals held for Yongwang in the home by women, the most widely spread is yongwangmeogigi (feeding the dragon king), also referred to as yongsinje (dragon god ritual) and gaetje (fishing ritual). This ritual can take place in three different venues: First is a private well in the backyard; second is the communal well, where, in some cases, a spring ritual (saemje) is held, then water from the well is brought to the home and placed in the kitchen or on the sauce jar terrace for the Dragon King; […] https://folkency.nfm.go.kr/en/topic/detail/2618

The moment I read this article, I couldn’t restrain myself making the parallels between Yoon Seungho and Yongwang. First, the deity in the background reminded me of Yongwang. (chapter 100), though this deity is always accompanied with a dragon and in this picture, the readers couldn’t see one. However, it is possible that the author didn’t desire to reveal too much.

“his most distinctive traits are that his beard, moustache and eyebrows are (usually) “spiky,” protruding in sharp points, sometimes resembling coral, and his eyes are often bulging out like those of a fish. He most often holds the banya-jinju (般若眞珠, flaming pearl of wisdom, a type of ma-niju 摩尼珠), but sometimes a branch of coral or a sword.” quoted from http://www.san-shin.org/EKB-Yongwang-DragonKing.html  

Secondly, we have a strong connection between rain and the main lead’s situation and emotional state. It rained, when the lord had sex with Baek Na-Kyum. (chapter 21) Why? It is because the lord was happy. These were the tears of happiness, which Yoon Seungho couldn’t express contrary to the painter. And this is no coincidence that in chapter 58, it started snowing, when the couple was making love: (chapter 58) And we had the same weather, when Yoon Seungho saved his lover. (chapter 102) The weather was expressing the main lead’s emotions: tears of happiness or sadness. We could say that the lord has the “power” to move the sky.

Furthermore, the well plays a huge role in this story. Many people are found dead in a well (chapter 97), and according to me, the messenger was drown there. (chapter 94) In addition, my theory is that Deok-Jae and/or Jung In-Hun’s body were placed in a jar in order to hide the murders. For me, the jar plays a huge role in Painter Of The Night… thus Byeonduck created such a scene in season 2 (chapter 46) and we have so many jars next to the pond: (chapter 94) [For more read the essay “The secret behind the library”]

Furthermore, this story takes place in Jemulpo, a town situated next to the sea, and Yongwang’s realm is supposed to be in the sea. (chapter 91) This is no coincidence. To conclude, all these elements (rain, jar, well, soul of a deceased), connected to the dragon king, are present in Painter Of The Night. Thus I came to the conclusion that Yoon Seungho is like Dragon king. This reinforces my conviction that the main lead is not only connected to shamanism, but also embodies royalty. So he might not be the king of Joseon, but he is powerful in his own way, though he is not aware of this. And note that the moment he wished to commit suicide by drowning in the pond, he was brought back to life. (chapter 102) Water is his true element.

In different temples, you can discover Yongwang accompanied with a woman. She is also dressed in royal clothes with a small crown. What’s unclear is if she’s another Yongwang or if she’s his wife. And this could be a reference to the painter, who will become Yoon Seungho’s bride, but his true identity will remain hidden.

What caught my attention is that the rituals concerning Yongwang are held by women, which stands in opposition to the shrine and Confucianism. (chapter 85) This means that in the Yoons’ mansion, people didn’t venerate this god. And since the aristocrat made such a statement to the elder Yoon Chang-Hyeon, (chapter 86), I have the impression that in season 4, we will assist to a real ritual to ward off evil and back luck, leading the tormenting souls to the afterlife peacefully.

And this leads me to the following observation, the dragon in Korea and Joseon is perceived as a good omen! He would bring good fortune.

Since the release, I realized that the decorated tree (chapter 100) and this altar (chapter 100) were exposing the presence of a ritual. However, my problem was that I couldn’t determine exactly the nature of the ritual. But by making the connection between the dragon and good fortune, I had now more clues. I have to admit that I can not be 100% sure for this, but this is what I found:

Yonggyeong (Kor. 용경, Chin. 龍耕, lit. dragon’s plowing) is a custom observed on Dongji (Kor. 동지, Chin. 冬至, Winter Solstice) in which people tried to predict the outcome of farming for the upcoming year based on the direction and angle of cracks on the surface of a frozen pond. The custom is also known as yonggari (Kor. 용갈이) or yong-ui batgari (Kor. 용의 밭갈이), both meaning ‘plowing by the dragon.’ When ice covers a pond, there is often a crack that divides the ice sheet into two halves, as though a field were divided along a furrow left after plowing. This phenomenon was considered a trail left by a dragon and, therefore, interpreted as having divinatory power concerning farming success in the year ahead. […]

According to another custom referred to as dongbok (Kor. 동복, Chin. 凍卜, lit. ice fortune-telling), on the eve of the year’s first full moon (the fourteenth of the first lunar month), people left two bowls of fresh water out overnight and positioned them north and south of each other. The next morning, they examined the ice sheet that appeared in the bowls and tried to predict the success of farming in the northern and southern regions.  quoted from https://folkency.nfm.go.kr/en/topic/detail/4622

The timing fits to our story, and we have the presence of bowls in front of the deity in the yard. In my eyes, the shaman had prepared a ritual for the dragon king, and was praying for the success of the farming. Don’t forget that it takes place just before Spring. Consequently, this is not surprising that the lord got connected to peasants and this very early on. (chapter 4) (chapter 6) (chapter 82)

This observation leads me to the following conclusion: Yoon Seungho, as a new version of Dragon King, will bring luck to the commoners and peasants. He will help them to improve their living conditions (education and good farming). As you already know, I consider Yoon Seungho as a representative of Sirhak. [For more information read the essay “The scholars’ fight”] And now, you comprehend why very early on, I expected that Yoon Seungho would become a king. He doesn’t need to become a real “king”, yet there is no ambiguity that his fate is to become famous as a spiritual and fair leader.

3. Dragon and imoogi

That’s the reason why I started looking for more information about the dragon. As the readers could see through the deity, this mythical animal is strongly connected to water!

What caught my attention is that the Korean dragon has no wing, yet it can still fly and he has no beard!! But more importantly, this creature is a combination of different animals: the body of the snake, the antlers of the deer, the forehead of the camel, the nose of a pig, the ears of the cow, the claws of the hawk, the scales of the carp, the fist of a tiger and the eyes of the rabbit! He contains all the strongest features of these animals:

  1. luck for the pig
  2. strength for the tiger
  3. elegance of a deer
  4. stubbornness and resistance of a camel
  5. compassionate and giving nature of a cow
  6. the constant change, the metamorphosis of a snake (cycle of death and rebirth)
  7. the rapidity of a hawk
  8. fertility of a carp
  9. the abundance of the rabbit by sharing its eyes

In other sources, I read that the Korean dragon had also features of the dog, the frog and the sheep. But why does this mythical animal possess so many features from different creatures? It is because this powerful, God-like creature embodies the love and respect Korean people have for the natural world. I would even say that he represents nature, and as such he stands for harmony and justice. By being sharing features of different animals, he can understand their life. This is not surprising that the Joseon kings utilized this animal as their emblem. It symbolizes their power (omnipotence and “immortality”) while substantiating their ability to be fair and just rulers. 

Striking is that we have an allusion to these animals in Painter Of The Night. First, the lord was able to kill the boar (chapter 83) and the deer (chapter 22). Then the lord compared Baek Na-Kyum’s eyes to a rabbit. (chapter 78) Since both resemble each other, I deduce that the main lead has the same eyes, the rabbit’s. Like mentioned above, he utilized his fingers similar to claws: (chapter 18) He would fly like a bird, though he has no wing (chapter 30). His fists in this scene reminded me of a tiger’s: (chapter 54) One might argue that this signification is totally impossible, for the lord doesn’t have the body of a snake. This point can be refuted very easily. What is the major characteristic of a snake is molting. A regularly recurrent event during the activity period of all snakes is the shedding of the skin. This coincides with the lord’s change of clothes. The latter reflected his downfall and rising. Furthermore, this animal is linked to death and rebirth. My avid readers are already aware that I had detected different scenes, where we could witness the lord’s spiritual death and rebirth, like for example in the shed: (chapter 62) When he discovered his misjudgment the next morning, he felt like dead. He no longer saw himself as a lord, but came to view the painter as his new lord : (chapter 66) As a conclusion, Yoon Seungho shares so many similarities with the dragon that I came to view him as one. This explicates why even after getting married, he will never wear a beard! The change of dresses and hair dresses of Yoon Seungho represents the different social status in Joseon society: young master, painter, male kisaeng, slave, peasant, executioner, servant, lord, concubine, “wife”/husband” etc. Moreover, since I had detected parallels between the protagonist and the legend of Dangun, this could only reinforce my conviction that Byeonduck is referring to old tales and religions (and as such Dragon King) in her story. The author has already stated that she won’t create a story with the couple set in our time, and this becomes understandable, if she is constantly referring to old traditions and myths.

According to different sources, the Korean dragon is not born as such. They were once said to be Imoogi , a giant lizzard that resembles sea serpents. They exist several different versions on how Imoogi become Dragons. One said it would take a thousand years for them to become a dragon, while another says they must catch Yeouiju (star) falling from the sky. Thus in temples and in pictures, the Korean dragon is also always represented with a ball.

Another theory that exists and sounds the most logical to me, says that Imoogi was born in a place where living and dead intermingled. It was created in cave where thousands of people were stuck due to war in 420AD. As more and more people started to die in the cave, their intense agony and suffering led the foundation for Imoogi’s birth and therefore it symbolizes destruction and sadness. Imoogi controls the power of birth, death and rebirth. Ouroboros, a symbol of wholeness/infinity is also represented by a snake(serpent) eating its tail.” quoted from https://rtaori60.medium.com/imoogi-the-great-lizard-aca02c6c9b1e

Since it takes 1000 years for an imoogi to transform into a dragon, we have 10 years of suffering in Painter Of The Night. For me, this is not random at all. This means that after chapter 102, Yoon Seungho turned into a real dragon! This corresponds to his Coming-Of-Age. That’s the reason why I don’t think that he will be manipulated again like in season 2 and 3! My avid readers are already aware of the presence of ouroboros in this manhwa. For me, Kim symbolizes the imoogi and Ouroboros! He could never turn into a real dragon. But why does the imoogi need to wait for so long ? Some say that this is a curse, other traditions hold the idea that Imoogi are “pupae” or “larvae” of dragons. And they will become full-fledged and full-fledged dragons after being in the ocean for 1000 years. This signifies that time, experience and patience are essential for this transformation. Thus not every imoogi can become a dragon in the end, and that’s Kim’s fate. He was not able to recognize Yoon Seungho as his “yeouiji”. The shaman’s house reminds me of the cavern (chapter 102), and thanks to the painter, Yoon Seungho’s soul was able to escape this “mental prison”.

And this leads me to the following aspect: Baek Na-Kyum is the lord’s Yeouiji, his fallen star fulfilling all his wishes. That’s the reason why the dragon is never seen without his star. One might say that this is exaggerated. However, my avid readers should remember that I had associated the painter to a star, the sun, in previous essays, even before making the relation between the dragon and Yoon Seungho! This explicates why the lord is carrying his lover like his bride (chapter 45) (chapter 102), similar to the dragon in the picture above. His “star” serves as his guide, support and his source of life. Thus when the main lead confessed to the painter for the first time, the sun entered the bedchamber (chapter 55) and as such his heart and mind.

Therefore I come to the conclusion that in season 4, the readers will witness a clash between two dragons, the king and Yoon Seungho! The fight between the fake and the real dragon! Thus when the author released this panel recently, (Twitter), she was actually announcing the arrival of the monarch in Joseon. Hence you comprehend why I selected such a title, the rise of the dragon. “Lord Song” can no longer hide his true identity.

4. Dragon king and expulsion

My readers will certainly recall that the starting point of this essay was this expression “dragon king” which came to my mind, when I saw the recent publication. Why? First, the main figure was wearing the gonryongpo (곤룡포), where dragons are sewn on it. This hanbok is the everyday robe for the king which explains why the latter is always wearing the red robe all the time he appears in front of people. Hence I made this association in my mind: dragon king. When Byeonduck published this image, , she was naturally creating a new story, another Alternative Universe. The student Baek Na-Kyum who got bullied by the classmate Deok-Jae was suddenly sent back to Joseon, and appeared in front of the king’s bedchamber, Yoon Seungho.

Striking is that this panel resembles a lot to this picture which the author hasn’t used yet: The painter is sitting inside a room, while Jung In-Hun is standing outside. Nonetheless, the position of the characters are very similar. This indicates that the author’s new alternative story is actually inspired by the main story!! This can only reinforce my perception that Yoon Seungho in the main story is associated to royalty. However, since it is a reflection, I deduce that this image is the positive reflection of this scene: How did the learned sir react here? He criticized the painter by stating that this was “filthy”. In this scene, the characters are caught by surprise, but it becomes obvious that there is no disgust or expulsion. In fact, the fall of man took place before, for Baek Na-Kyum was sent to Joseon. In this encounter, I detect attraction and curiosity. Hence I come to the conclusion that in the original story, when this scene took place, , Yoon Seungho was far from being living like a king. As you already know, according to my interpretation, the protagonist was treated like a male kisaeng. That’s the reason why I believe that this scene played a huge role in Yoon Seungho’s liberation, the physical expulsion from hell in the end. Since in the parallel story, the student experienced time-travel and as such rejection and expulsion, I conclude that in the main story, Yoon Seungho must have made a similar experience! But this doesn’t end here, as the readers should keep in the mind the following rule: The painter’s destiny reflects the lord’s.

On the other hand, the manhwaphiles will complain that so far, Yoon Seungho has never appeared as a dragon. Yet, we shouldn’t overlook that the phoenix is the symbol for the Queen in Joseon. (chapter 50) (chapter 52) This means that the mysterious lord Song was actually claiming the main lead as his wife in the last scene. Min and his friends were sent there in order to entertain the protagonist, but they failed. This explicates why the next day, Black Heart was seen with a hanbok of lower quality. (chapter 56) It was, as if Min had been compensated for his bruised face by the mysterious lord Song. However, for the pedophile, Black Heart was just a concubine, and not his main wife! Hence the hanbok had not such a detailed and expensive design. This would explain the villain’s jealousy. And now, if you look back at the hanboks from the main lead, you will recognize his ascent. First, he is wearing green, which is similar to Yoon Chang-Hyeon’s color. At the same time, his hat resembled a lot to Kim’s. (chapter 1) Then later, he is mostly wearing blue which is actually the color of the Crown prince. (chapter 11) Yet, his robes initially have no design. Slowly, the lord is wearing colors and designs that are actually reserved for a king: blue, red, black and purple. This constant change of hanboks symbolizes the “snake molting” and as such his transformation and rising. This is not astonishing that on the night of the bloodbath, he had such a hanbok: (chapter 102) Here, he was no longer acting like a noble, but as a ruler. Don’t forget that according to me, the mysterious lord Song had proclaimed the main lead as his unofficial Queen by giving him hanboks with phoenixes. However, naturally, this was never mentioned to Yoon Seungho directly. Why? It is because Kim usually selects his clothes. However, this rise was not natural, as the lord had no real saying in this matter. The real metamorphosis took place in the shaman’s house, when the lord was sent back to the past and as such the darkness. (chapter 102) The moment he left the “cave”, he went to the mountain and surrounded by the wind and water, he changed into a dragon. This expulsion corresponds to the final release, the lord’s mind is finally freed from the darkness, while I believe that this scene is linked to the lord’s physical liberation. .

5. Nightmare and dream

Above, I had mentioned that the painter was the dragon’s fallen star and the love sessions were strongly connected to the weather. If so, why did it snow, when the learned sir left the mansion? (chapter 44) It is because the main lead was thinking that the painter would actually run away. Thus the door was left opened, and he was wearing warm clothes. Yoon Seungho never imagined that Baek Na-Kyum would remain by his side. Yet, during the previous night, the lord had consoled his lover by embracing him.

Furtheremore, the manhwalovers could also wonder why the lord had a nightmare in the bedchamber after their second love session? The painter’s presence should have brought relief. Moreover, during that night, there was no rain. (chapter 71) But this can be refuted easily. First, don’t forget that during this love session, the lord was acting like a servant pleasing his new lord. So this had nothing to do with Yoon Seungho’s feelings like sadness or happiness. He was determined to keep the painter by his side, and ignoring his own feelings. He never expected the artist to reciprocate his feelings. Secondly, Yoon Seungho’s nocturne vision is not just a nightmare, but also a DREAM! Yes, you are reading this correctly. Only recently, I discovered that all the artist’s visions are a combination of 3 elements: memory, nightmare and dream! I will give you three examples as illustration, for I am slowly running out of time.

Chapter 28: This vision is a combination of these three elements: memory, nightmare and dream. This had happened during the First Wedding Night (memory) (chapter 21), then we have a similar situation in chapter 49: , , but the painter was rejecting this future. Hence he considered it as a nightmare.

  • Chapter 34 : Memory ; nightmare the lord becomes a ghost and confronts the painter with his biggest fears (admitting his attraction, passion for erotic paintings and homosexuality) and dream (The painter’s true desire was that the lord would kiss him, he was deeply longing for his lips, yet he was still in denial in this vision.
  • Chapter 98: Memory, for the painter was remembering the corpse in the courtyard, a dream, as he wished the return of his loved one . He hoped that the lord would take care of him personally. Naturally, the “spirit” is the nightmare .

Since the lord’s fate and personality are similar to the painter’s, I could only come to the conclusion that the lord’s vision in the bedchamber is not just showing the past and the future horror. It also exposes the lord’s dream and hope! 😮

So where were his desires visible? First it was about breaking free from his jail… (chapter 74) This had already happened, but the lord had not grasped the significance. (chapter 53) Besides, he had not opened the door himself. Even when he went to the scholar Lee and opened the door with the his foot, the lord still felt trapped. (chapter 67) Then in season 3, he could break a door, but it was thanks to the painter. (chapter 96) This shows that the lord’s wish to get released had not been fulfilled so far. In my eyes, it is connected to the torture Yoon Seungho suffered and as such to the purge organized by the authorities. That’s the reason why I deduce that the lord will break a door in season 4, and this won’t be by accident and it will be witnessed by many people contrary to chapter 53, 67 and 96! The broken door will reflect the lord’s rise and power, and no one will be able to stop this. In my eyes, this wish is connected to the door in the servants’ quarter. That’s how his imprisonment started.

Moreover, the protagonist was voicing his thoughts, the reproach to Kim and his father! They had abandoned him. (chapter 74) The “dragon” wished to see Kim and his father, and confront them! And this did take place in season 3. Yoon Seungho confronted the butler with his attitude and betrayal (chapter 77), but this argument was just short-lived. He still viewed the valet as a hard-working and trustworthy person. He had just made bad decisions. Then in the bedchamber, the lord could blame the father for his suffering: (chapter 86) As you can see, the lord’s wishes were granted, but the nocturne vision was so difficult to grasp that neither the readers nor the main lead could interpret the message correctly immediately. Besides, the nightmare was mostly silent. But this doesn’t end here.

(chapter 74) In this image, he is floating in the air… a sign that his status is changing. At the same time, this shows that he is escaping from the hands. They are trying to drag the main lead down. Thus I come to the conclusion that the vision was announcing the lord’s transformation (into a dragon) and as such his “rise”. Note that in this image, he is still a teenager, but in the following panel the protagonist has already become an adult. (chapter 74) Simultaneously, the vision also displays the lord’s expulsion from “hell”, the sex orgies (chapter 74). the hands are trying to bring him back. This image displayed that Yoon Seungho would become powerful, and the hands wouldn’t be able to contain him any longer. The pink is a reference to the painter, and not just to the gibang! Thanks to the painter, Yoon Seungho is changing so that he will be able to face the KING, but not only him!! This is what the dream was telling him too. Thus we have this image: (chapter 74) Simultaneously, the dream showed that the lord wished to see this painting again, though deep down, he blames this image for his suffering. As you can see, the vision was revealing the tormented disposition of the lord. He was switching from nightmare to dream and the reverse… a mixture of anxieties and desires.

However, pay attention that the painting was standing behind Yoon Seungho, when the hand grabbed him (chapter 74) This signifies that he was approached by someone from behind, he had not noticed that the “door” had been opened. Thus he never expected his apparition. For me, this perception demonstrates that the painting is not the real cause for Yoon Seungho’s suffering. Since he had turned around, I came to recognize that this scene stands in opposition to the situation in the painter’s nightmare: (chapter 34) The painter had been able to witness the entrance of the ghost contrary to Yoon Seungho. The latter was caught by surprise. This image illustrates the lord’s biggest fear. That’s how I realized that his biggest nightmare is not the pedophile in my opinion, for the main lead in Baek Na-Kyum’s “nightmare” (chapter 34) stands for attraction, honesty and love… thus it should be the opposite in Yoon Seungho’s nightmare: repulsion, betrayal and resent! He fears to admit the truth, the biggest traitor is Kim, but he is still in denial. He has repressed the terrible betrayal from Kim, just like the painter’s, though I think that the biggest traitor in Baek Na-Kyum’s case is not really Jung In-Hun, but Heena. This would explain why Heena noona was not present in the terrible vision in chapter 34. This is not random that we don’t see the face of the owner’s hand. Naturally, the king was involved in this betrayal, for Yoon Seungho is caught between the hand and the painting. He was trapped between two forces.

This means that Baek Na-Kyum will help Yoon Seungho to face the truth: Kim is a traitor and the king is the pedophile. The vision is indicating that the butler will betray him again in the future, backstab him one more time… However, this time he will recognize his action. Why? Because this time, there is light in the room… as Baek Na-Kyum symbolizes the Yeouiju, the fallen star helping the dragon. If the author presents another dream from the main lead, we will definitely get new clues. And this brings me to the following conclusion:

Yoon Seungho had been portrayed as a bird of misfortune on purpose. (chapter 86) In reality, he was a dragon, who could bring luck and fortune to the person who would cherish him. This is no coincidence that the pedophile sent hanboks with the crane (chapter 34), (chapter 45) In his eyes, the main lead brought him luck, as all his wishes got fulfilled, and he was never caught committing a sacrilege or crimes. However, since the presence of Baek Na-Kyum by Yoon Seungho’s side, it looks like nothing is going like planned. The main lead is not only drifting more and more away from him, he even left everything behind. That’s the reason why I believe that the dragon, the king, will vent his anger on many people in season 4, a new version of this scene. (chapter 30), but much more brutal and violent!  While this “dragon”, the king, stands for court, and as such civilization and immobility, the Korean dragon embodies nature and hope for commoners who dreamt of ascending the ranks! This is not surprising that Baek Na-Kyum is slowly ascending the ranks, while in the past Kim was acting as the unofficial lord of the Yoons’ mansion.

As a conclusion, in season 4, expect a battle between an “imoogi” and dragons. In addition, it becomes obvious that the winners will be our beloved couple. Since Yoon Seungho was turned into a “dragon”, I am more than ever convinced that he will act like in season 1: confident, perceptive, smart and cheerful! He can not longer be used like a pawn, for the “dragon” can not be tamed! And removing the falling star would signify the dragon’s death!

Feel free to comment. If you have any suggestion for topics or manhwas, feel free to ask. If you enjoyed reading it, retweet it or push the button like. My Reddit-Instagram-Tumblr-Twitter account is: @bebebisous33. Thanks for reading and for the support, particularly, I would like to thank all the new followers and people recommending my blog.

Painter Of The Night: Nightmare Inn 🏨🍚🍜 (second version)

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/ 

It would be great if you could make some donations/sponsoring: Ko-fi.com/bebebisous33  That way, you can support me with “coffee” so that I have the energy to keep examining manhwas. Besides, I need to cover up the expenses for this blog.

In the essay “Breakups, chagrin and alcohol” I had outlined the parallels between Baek Na-Kyum and Lee Jihwa. Both would use alcohol to numb their pain after the separation from their loved one. Thus the painter and the red-haired noble went to the inn and became drunks. (chapter 1) (chapter 36) In addition, after realizing that each location is associated to a certain event in the past, I came to the conclusion that the inn represents no exception. Hence the tavern is full of symbolism too.

1. The significance of the tavern

If the manhwaphiles can recall all the scenes where the inn appeared (1, 12, 36, 56, 57, 59, 75, 92), they get aware immediately that this place is connected to breakups and more precisely to abandonment and rejection. This signifies that the place embodies longing too, for the “betrayed” one is still missing the partner. I also noticed that in all these scenes, there were 3 people! In episode 1, we have the servant, Baek Na-Kyum and Yoon Seungho. In episode 12, Jihwa, the servant from the Yoons and the noble with the mole. (chapter 12) In episode 36, we have Min, Lee Jihwa and the noble with the mole. (chapter 36) In episode 57, the noble with the mole got replaced by Kim: (chapter 57) In episode 59, the tavern owner asked No-Name to take away Lee Jihwa (chapter 59) And in episode 92, Black Heart joined the couple (chapter 92). The only exception seems to be the scene in chapter 75: (chapter 75) However, this is just an illusion, for the ghost Jung In-Hun was present. And even before, the painter kept thinking about Heena noona. As you can see, the painter’s words were influenced by his “surrogate parents”, the third party. But let’s return to the major parallel: the confession leading to a rejection.

In the inn, the red-haired noble suffered a huge humiliation, when he confessed his feelings for his childhood friend and got rejected. (chapter 57) Though Yoon Seungho had punished his friend for his forged letter, he still listened to his confession before rejecting him properly. He gave an explanation why he would never reciprocate the affection towards his friend. (chapter 59) What caught my attention is that Lee Jihwa perceived the rejection as abandonment, while in truth the protagonist was not truly cutting ties with him. The real traitor was someone else: the noble with the mole, who ran away, when Yoon Seungho confronted his friend. (chapter 57) In that scene, the young master Jihwa had drunk before the arrival of his friends, though he was in full possession of his mind. (chapter 56) As you can detect, in this scene, the author employed the following elements: confession, sanity, tears, sadness, rejection, alcohol and abandonment.

Then in episode 1, the painter was sad, because he was forbidden to paint. At the same time, he could no longer live with the learned sir. Thus he said this to Yoon Seungho in the tavern: (chapter 75) He was heartbroken due to the loss of his passion and his loved one. At the same time, he was plagued by guilt. He felt responsible for Jung In-Hun’s failure. This is important, because it shows that guilt is another common denominator. In chapter 57, Yoon Seungho was guilty for the antagonist’s suffering.

Striking is that in episode 75, the painter was drunk again. (chapter 75) Why? It is because he was also rejecting the lord. He couldn’t give him his heart, for the lord had such a fickle nature. (chapter 75) He was responsible that the painter wouldn’t get close to him. He was judged as not trustworthy. At the same time, the painter’s confession in the tavern mirrors that Baek Na-Kyum was not delirious. Despite the influence of the drug, he could think and speak properly about his feelings and thoughts, similar to Lee Jihwa in chapter 57. To conclude, in season 2, the commoner and the red-haired noble were not stoned during their confession, which stands in opposition to the First Wedding Night:: (chapter 21) And this common denominator reinforces my theory that when Yoon Seungho got kissed in the study, he was not in full possession of his mind. (chapter 77) As you can see, the drug is not only strongly associated to rejection and broken heart, but also to delirium and insanity.

And now, look at the lord’s reaction, when he was approached by Min in the inn: (chapter 92) Min was voicing his longing for Yoon Seungho, he was implying that he had been abandoned by the protagonist. However, note that the lord utilized water to reject Black Heart! (chapter 92) It was, as if the noble was now crying. The water was displaying the hypocrisy of Min, the “fake tears”. He was not missing the main lead at all, in reality he was yearning for the painter’s gaze. Thus he expressed this in the shaman’s house: (chapter 99) Striking is that when the lord with the green hanbok complained to his acquaintance, he was also acting as if he was guilt-tripping Yoon Seungho. According to his words, the protagonist had abandoned him. It was, as if he had completely forgotten him. (chapter 92)

The most astonishing is that just after splashing Min with water, the protagonist justified his action. Min had lost his sanity. (chapter 92) It was, as if he wanted to bring him back to reality, similar to this gesture: (chapter 102). He explained Black Heart’s attitude with the alcohol. Due to the liquor, Min had become insane and obscene. He was speaking about sodomy in a public place. Striking is that the Joker was portraying himself as a man consumed by lust. He needed the lord’s phallus to feel good. That’s how I detected another similarity: the presence of sex and sensuality in the conversation!

  • Chapter 1:
  • Chapter 12: Here, the idiom “toy” was implying sex, though the main characters had not sex together yet.
  • Chapter 36:
  • Chapter 57:
  • Chapter 59:
  • Chapter 75: Here, the painter’s reproach was connected to the lord’s change of behavior. He was no asking for sex, but the painter was actually longing for Yoon Seungho’s warmth and phallus. (chapter 74) As you can see, Baek Na-Kyum was craving for sensuality. But he couldn’t voice it like Min! He was paying attention to social norms.

Hence I deduce that this place is also connected to homosexuality.

2. The tavern in the torment

The allusion to insanity made me realize that the tavern is connected to torment and as such nightmare. The painter had become like a zombie, when he met Yoon Seungho, and Lee Jihwa was also devastated to have lost his lover and friend. (chapter 36) He kept crying, as he couldn’t bear the separation. At the same time, he explained his weeping with the main lead’s past. He was a pitiful creature, for he suffered a lot. Indirectly, he was comparing himself with the main figure. He had gone through a lot too.

Later, when the childhood friend confessed to the protagonist, he brought pain to his friend, for the latter had to hear so many reproaches. He was responsible for his misery, he was so pitiful , (chapter 57) On the other hand, with this blame, Yoon Seungho was constantly reminded of the pedophile, lord Song. Thus Yoon Seungho replied this to the antagonist: (chapter 59) He couldn’t even pronounce his name out of hatred and pain. And now, you comprehend why I chose “nightmare inn” as title. This place is connected to Yoon Seungho’s torment and not just in season 2. In my eyes, something must have happened there which changed the lord’s fate for a decade. The other evidence is this: the forged letter from Lee Jihwa requested from the main lead to meet lord Song in that place. (chapter 56) And observe that Kim never doubted the authenticity of the encounter. (chapter 56) This signifies that the pedophile must have gone there in the past. 😮

One might argue that the tavern is not related to nightmare and torment, for Lee Jihwa visited the tavern in order to celebrate the success of his trick in the manhwa. (chapter 12) There was no breakup or rejection in this scene. There were no tears either contrary to the other chapters. Yet, this is just an illusion. The celebration was based on the suffering of Baek Na-Kyum and Yoon Seungho!! Both had been wounded. Then I realized that this scene mirrored Min’s words in the other taven: “Having fun at Yoon Seungho’s expense”. But more importantly, in Lee Jihwa’s mind, this sentence represented the separation of the couple. Due to the ruined painting, the lord felt rejected and betrayed. (chapter 12) Thus in the red-haired aristocrat’s mind, Yoon Seungho would turn his back on Baek Na-Kyum and abandon him. He would imitate the painter. A betrayal leads to a betrayal. There is no forgiveness. That’s the reason why Lee Jihwa never anticipated that he would get abandoned after getting caught in the study. So far, Yoon Seungho had always forgiven him! (chapter 18)

But why? It is because Baek Na-Kyum had revived the lord’s long lost passion: painting! It was bringing colors and as such light in his darkness. If he were to send away the artist, he would lose his soul forever. He would remain trapped in the nightmare forever. This truly exposes that Lee Jihwa hadn’t truly grasped the significance of painting in Yoon Seungho’s life. In his eyes, it was just an important hobby. (chapter 14), whereas in verity, this passion was essential and even vital for Yoon Seungho. In his subconscious, the lord sensed the healing effect. This would make him smile and provoke emotions and arousal!

3. The presence of the Joker

I discovered another similarity between all these scenes: the presence of a trick! You are probably surprised by this connection, but don’t forget that “trick” is a synonym for “conspiracy, deception and illusion”. And the joker embodies these values, especially if you consider Painter Of The Night as a new version of Batman and The Dark Knight.

In chapter 1, I had explained that the painter was supposed to get killed in the inn. Thus the tavern got closed for the night. It is also possible that the lord went there after the curfew. (chapter 1) There was no witness for these reasons. No one should notice the execution of the commoner Baek Na-Kyum. Secondly, the book had been switched. The lord had shown this to the butler (chapter 1), but when Yoon Seungho interrogated the artist, he exposed a different publication: (chapter 1) It was, as if the painter was forced to deny to be the author of this book. There is no ambiguity that the servant had lied to Yoon Seungho, just like the painter was not entirely honest with Yoon Seungho. In my eyes, the painter had not noticed the divergence. As you can see, the meeting was staged. Unknown people were involved in this encounter so that we could say that the protagonists were just pawns during this scene.

In episode 12, the trick had taken place in the mansion, yet the manhwaphiles shouldn’t overlook that Lee Jihwa had been incited to get revenge on the noble with the mole. (chapter 12) The drop of sweat on his face clearly indicates that he was just feigning ignorance. This exposes that the noble with the mole was deceiving his friend and as such betraying him.

In chapter 36, Min definitely lied to the young master Jihwa. (chapter 36) He was inciting the antagonist to return to the mansion so that he would catch the couple having sex together. That’s the reason why Black Heart made such a comment in the pavilion of his friend: (chapter 43) Yet, this trick didn’t work like Black Heart had anticipated. Why? He imagined that the red-haired noble would resent his friend for his abandonment and betrayal. The reality is that the antagonist reproached The Joker for his lies, he had been manipulating him. (chapter 43)

But let’s return to the scene in the tavern. (chapter 36) The noble with the mole remained silent, but he was well aware of his friend’s manipulations. This indicates that he had become his accomplice. We could say that he helped to create an illusion.

In chapter 56, the childhood friend had forged a letter, forcing Yoon Seungho to go to the inn. However, this time the trick was discovered. (chapter 56) Simultaneously, the butler deceived the tavern owner. He portrayed the red-haired master in such a negative light that she had no compassion for him. (chapter 59) She wished to get rid of him as soon as possible. Thus she asked the Joker to take care of him. (chapter 59) This truly exposes the talent of Kim’s manipulative nature. The tricks are exposing the hypocrisy and lack of loyalty among the characters.

In season 3, the manhwalovers could perceive the presence of 2 Jokers: Black Heart who faked that this meeting was just random. (chapter 92) However, he had been informed about the content of the paper, for he could already determine the genre of the text without seeing the writing. At the same time, he also deceived the couple by taking away the Spring poem. (chapter 92) We never saw him returning it. As for the second trickster, it was naturally Kim who hid under the hanbok which had a similar color than Jung In-Hun’s. (chapter 92) He desired to remind the painter of the existence of the scholar. However, this trick failed too. Why? It is because just before the painter had seen a kisaeng wearing the same robe. (chapter 92) He was just reminded of his noonas, and not just Heena and Jung In-Hun. Furthermore, the butler had overlooked another aspect: Yoon Seungho had been wearing a similar hanbok. (chapter 78) This means that the painter was no longer associating the lavender color to the learned sir. Slowly, the main lead was replacing the teacher and as such, he was moving on from his crush. Thus such an attitude could be perceived by a malevolent eye as indifference and hatred. My avid readers can already understand who I am referring to with such a statement. However, we are all aware that the painter is still loyal towards the learned sir. (chapter 94). Nevertheless, I would like the painterofthenight-stans to take a closer look to this image: (chapter 92) Yes, the couple was sitting in an inn eating sweet potatoes. When I saw this panel for the first time, the man in black caught my attention. His presence puzzled me, for he was standing next to a kisaeng working in the inn. This is totally unusual, for no noble would remain immobile close to the fire place and as such the kitchen. Secondly, he was not wearing his gat, indicating that he was violating social norms. [For more read the essay Coming-Of-Ages] Back then, I had thought that this was the scholar. However, the latter would always pay attention to his appearances. Moreover, he embodies social norms, so he would never move around without his hat. Was he a Joker spying on the couple? For me yes, especially if you take into consideration that there were always 3 people in each scene taking place in the inn. One thing is sure: Min had been informed about the painter’s desire for a Spring poem and his visit to the calligrapher. This means that during their stay in the tavern, the painter had talked constantly about this. So the kisaeng could have heard about the content of their conversation. One might argue that this stay stands in opposition to the other scenes. In this inn, there was no tear, no alcohol and no “betrayal”. But the manhwalovers shouldn’t forget that during that scene, the lord was actually rejecting the suggestion of the painter. The former saw no reason why they should look for the calligrapher!! Yoon Seungho was on the verge of breaking his promise, a “betrayal”. The irony is that he was so annoyed by the painter’s words, that at the end he gave in. (chapter 91) He was on the verge of losing his “sanity”😉, for the painter kept talking how important it was to protect from bad luck! As you can see, this scene is not different from the others: insanity, longing, trick, betrayal and rejection! The absence of tears and alcohol is easily explainable. The painter was not heartbroken, he just saw this as a necessity. Furthermore, this scene made me realize that the tavern is connected to arts. In almost all the mentioned chapters, the characters implied the erotic publications or arts. The spring poem is compared to a drawing by the painter, the calligraphy reminded him of snow flakes. Once again, the exception of this element is chapter 36! Here, Black Min and Lee Jihwa were only referring to sex and nothing more. (chapter 36) This outlines that sodomy had replaced the lord’s original passions: poetry and painting. Yet, the manhwaphiles shouldn’t forget that in chapter 36 the author had included a scene with painting. This is no coincidence that during the same night, the lord took the brush and created a orchid on his lover’s stomach. (chapter 36) From my point of view, Lee Jihwa was aware that his friend had been forced to renounce on his passions. Thus he said this: (chapter 36) To conclude, there is a strong connection between the tavern and arts. The manhwaworms will certainly recall that many kisaengs would start working in taverns, once they reached a certain age. And look at this: (chapter 74) I had already explained in a different essay that in chapter 75, the painter had been thinking about his noonas and in particular about Heena, because he had seen the kisaeng. Thus he kept thinking about his sister’s words: (chapter 75) However, observe that in chapter 92, he was so focused on the Spring poem that he didn’t see the kisaeng in this tavern. (chapter 92) Thus I come to the conclusion that the schemers must have played a similar trick later. However, this time, there was not just one kisaeng, but two! Moreover, these were still active kisaengs which is visible due to the colors of their hanboks. (chapter 92). That’s the reason why I am more than ever convinced that the man in the black hanbok was connected to Min.

Thus I am deducing that in the past, one of the characters in the tavern got deceived by his companion. And here, I am thinking of the patriarch Yoon Chang-Hyeon. In my eyes, he must have committed a wrongdoing there, but he never realized it. I would even add that he never recognized that his mistake would have terrible consequences for his family and in particular for Yoon Seungho. This explains why the location embodies guilt either. Moreover, don’t forget that according to me, the mysterious lord Song must have visited this place in the past.

4. Humiliation

By contrasting these scenes, I came to recognize another pattern: pride which led to humiliation. In chapter 1, the lord executed the servant, for he had “fooled” him. His honor had been soiled. (chapter 1) In chapter 12, the childhood friend praised the main character. He had acted like a true lord with the sentence. (chapter 12) Furthermore, the noble with the hunting outfit had been avenged, so his honor had been restored. In chapter 36, the red-haired master had first acted like a prideful master. (chapter 36) He would only forgive his friend, if the latter would come to see him. Furthermore, when the latter confessed to his friend, he threw his pride over board: (chapter 57) He was willing to accept this humiliation, if in exchange he could rekindle with Yoon Seungho. He hoped by lowering himself that his friend would come to save his honor. He wouldn’t reject him due his title and social norms. Yet, his dream didn’t come true, so we could say that he had the impression that he was sent to hell. Then in chapter 75, the learned sir’s pride had been wounded because of the erotic paintings. (chapter 75) As for Black Heart, he got insulted in the tavern. He was splashed with water. And what did the noble with the green hanbok reply to this insult? He announced that he would seek revenge on Yoon Seungho (chapter 92) Lee Jihwa was also full by resent and revenge, when he realized that the lord had made love to the painter after he had been rejected. (chapter 60) Thus shortly after, the young man had a weapon in his hand (though according to me, this tool was placed by Kim) (chapter 60). His intention was to kill the painter, though here he was just acting on affect. As you can see, the inn is in reality connected to a crime, and the desire of revenge! Don’t forget what Yoon Seungho said to the messenger: (chapter 80) According to his words, he had insulted the king by not utilizing the correct title. BUT we shouldn’t take this declaration as face-value, for the main lead is just repeating what he has been told. I have always said that the pedophile had been motivated by revenge and lust. The latter had been humiliated! Now, for the first time, I see a strong connection between the tavern and the wrongdoing linked to the mysterious lord. But what is the common denominator between all these scenes? CONFESSION! In chapter 1, Yoon Seungho confessed his admiration for the artist. In chapter 36, Lee Jihwa admitted the existence of a secret and his friend’s torment. In chapter 57 and 75, both ukes confessed their love (the main lead and painting). On the other hand, confession has a different meaning: admission of a crime! Thus I am suspecting that “lord Song” got rejected in this place. Thus he felt humiliated and his thirst for revenge took over. And it is related to arts!!

5. The guests in the inn

First, we have the presence of the noble with the mole who keeps wearing a purple outfit. The color reminds me of this guest. (chapter 83) This reinforces my conviction that lord Song visited the tavern once.

Secondly, I detected the presence of a servant in the inn: 1, 12, 57, 59 and 92. In episode 59, I had already pointed out that a servant from the Lees had visited the inn, for there were foot prints in the snow. (chapter 59) Then in chapter 75, we should consider Baek Na-Kyum as a servant due to his clothes. (chapter 75) And now, if you take into consideration that the servant from episode 1 and 12 were acting on Kim’s behalf, you will realize that the servant in the past can only be KIM. And he was present in episode 92. (chapter 92) Furthermore, according to my observation, he was working with No-Name during the night of the abduction. This means that Kim witnessed something. And since he is seen tattling to Min, I come to the conclusion that he denunciated someone!! This represents the confession of a “crime”. And this can only be the Yoons in my opinion. Servant in episode 1 had spied onto Baek Na-Kyum, and the servant from episode 12 had also reported to Lee Jihwa. Kim in episode 57 and 92 left the mansion without permission, and this was the case for the domestic in episode 12 either.

What caught my attention is that Min got more and more involved with the tavern. In chapter 12, his friend was the only one present. Then in chapter 36, he appeared for the first time. There he faked his understanding and concern for Lee Jihwa (chapter 36) In season 2, the Joker didn’t follow the red-haired master to the inn, yet there is no doubt that he sent the noble with the mole in his place. As you can see, the noble with the mole was Min’s emissary. He was supposed to manipulate his friend to follow Min’s request. Min knew about Lee Jihwa’s hesitation. (chapter 57) Thus he vanished, when he saw Yoon Seungho’s reaction. He realized that the protagonist could detect his presence. He feared that Yoon Seungho could recognize that they were the ones behind the letter of lord Song. Finally, in chapter 92, Black Heart joined the couple for the first time there. He definitely hoped to drive an edge between them. He hoped to get the attention from Baek Na-Kyum in the end. But he never succeeded. Thus I came to realize that Black Heart was preparing the arrival of the mysterious lord Song. The latter will replace Min.

6. Conclusions and predictions

The tavern doesn’t just symbolize confession, longing, rejection and abandonment, but also it is strongly connected to a wrongdoing. Thus the place is connected to humiliation, guilt and punishment. Moreover, I also discovered the link between the inn and arts. Consequently, I came to the following conclusion: everything started in the tavern which led to Yoon Seungho’s downfall and suffering. THUS the title is NIGHTMARE INN! Observe that Lee Jihwa’s reputation got ruined within a day after Kim spread this rumor about him: (chapter 59) His despair was fake, hence he was abandoned by the inn owner. This would explain why no one remembers the lord’s past good reputation. (chapter 57) This incident mirrors the past, the only difference is that the main lead was totally innocent contrary to Lee Jihwa, who had been partially responsible for his friend’s suffering. Under this new perspective, it becomes understandable why the author would start the story more or less in the tavern. But since the place is associated to sanity versus insanity (losing the wits), I am suspecting that the “wrongdoing” from the patriarch never deserved such a “punishment”. This sentence was out of proportion.

Because I made a connection between Heena and lord Song, I am expecting that we will see them there at some point. For me, there is no ambiguity that the woman is not dead. Besides, the painter needs to confront his noona about her lies and manipulations in the past and present. Heena, as a former kisaeng, could earn her living by working in the tavern. (chapter 01)

Finally, let’s not forget in this place, the painter had been betrayed by the noona and the scholar. How could Baek Na-Kyum live as a drunk, when he was no longer painting? Moreover, keep in mind that the vow was connected to erotic paintings. (chapter 34) Technically, he could paint other things (plants, animal etc), like in his childhood. Hence I have the impression that he had been pressured to become a painter of erotic paintings… the former version of season 1. And for me, Heena was behind this. Yet, the painter confessed in the tavern that he could no longer paint. (chapter 75) This means that he had forgotten how to paint nature or landscapes, and this reminds me of Yoon Seungho’s destiny. Note that he first started drawing erotic paintings (chapter 23) before drawing the orchid! (chapter 36) So when the painter was heartbroken and sad, drowning his sorrow in alcohol, someone had to pay for the bills and for me, this can only be the head-kisaeng. In my eyes, Heena and Jung In-Hun knew how and where the painter was living, but this was not their problem.

As a conclusion, expect another confession and rejection in the tavern, when season 4 is released. At the same time, I have the feeling that the authorities will get involved in this place. Why? Because of this: (chapter 1) and the element “confession” which is associated to crime. Back then, there was no witness and this scene took place during the night. No ruckus!! People in Joseon were not allowed to walk during the night due to the curfew. This stands in opposition to these scenes: it was not too late, thus the tavern was not closed yet (chapter 59) And this made me realize that the scene in the tavern from season 3 took place during the day contrary to season 1, while in season 2, we have both: the day and the night! Thus I am expecting that two scenes in the tavern will take place, one during the day and the other during the night in season 4. Let’s not forget that in chapter 75, the couple had remained there until nightfall.. (chapter 75) Finally, I believe that this scene in the tavern is linked to Kim, he will report the painter to the authorities. However, this night won’t end like a nightmare, for the circle is about to get closed, the end of ouroboros, the circle of revenge and hatred!! .

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