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The title of this essay comes from the following picture: (chapter 105) „Thank god, he didn’t see nor hear a thing about that awful matter“. This is what Heena said in the original version. [Here I would like to thank my follower @katamins again for her help]
1. Heena’s words
What caught my attention is that in the Korean version, the kisaeng employed the expression „Thank god“, displaying not only her relief but also her religiousness. In my eyes, Byeonduck‘s intention was to expose Heena‘s religion one more time, she is a Christian. Another important aspect is that her statement implies that Baek Na-Kyum can not testify about „that awful matter“, for he saw and heard nothing. The problem is the idiom „that awful matter“ is really ambiguous. Which incident is she referring to? Yoon Seungho‘s crime in the shaman’s house or her „murder“? While many readers only thought about Black heart’s execution, I believe that the noona was referring to her own “execution” as well. Why? It is because the lord refused Baek Na-Kyum to see his own sister. (chapter 105) He desired to spare his heart. To conclude, “that awful matter” is referring to the whole prank and its consequences.
On the other hand, in the English version the kisaeng‘s declaration is more precise. Because of the expression „that terrible day“, it becomes obvious that Heena is referring to her lies and manipulations in the gibang. (Chapter 97) At the same time, the idiom includes the staff‘s tricks as well: the corpse in front of the gate and the maids‘ badmouthing (Chapter 97) (chapter 98), because it happened during the day and at downfall. Due to this expression, the readers can detect the presence of Yoon Seungho’s white lie. The painter had clearly mentioned what he had heard before. (Chapter 104) However, he had been silenced by his lover, when the latter suggested to him to view everything as a nightmare. The lord made the mistake not to listen to the victim and witness.
On the other hand, if we take the noona‘s original testimony into consideration, we get the impression that the artist can not testify about the night of his „abduction“ and the murders . It is because he didn‘t see or hear anything. Since the painter was unconscious, when the lord arrived, the latter truly believes that his companion saw and heard nothing. Thus Baek Na-Kyum has no memory. He knows nothing, hence he can not remember a thing: (chapter 105) With such a contrast, the manhwalovers can detect the link between ignorance and absence of memories. To conclude, in both versions, the main lead is “lying” out of ignorance. This is the positive version of “ignorance is a blessing”. Hence the noona thinks herself safe.
But like I have already pointed out in the previous analysis, the painter was present, when she revealed her complicity. (Chapter 99) It was clear that her brother would meet the noble, as their meeting didn’t surprise her. She was more upset that Baek Na-Kyum was unconscious. (chapter 99) However, her question „What’s wrong with Na-Kyum?“ divulges her hypocrisy and acting. How could she not realize that her sibling had been beaten? (Chapter 99) His head was bleeding, and the black guards were carrying sticks. It was clear that his state was not caused by an illness. To conclude, the calling “lord Jihwa” is the proof of her complicity, though in front of Yoon Seungho it serves as an excuse to portray herself as a victim. (chapter 105) Thus I deduce that Heena thinks, the painter could not witness her acting in front of the scholar’s house, for his head was turned around and he was not moving. She feels secure concerning that night, while I am expecting the opposite. Nonetheless, her past behavior in the kisaeng house represents a source of danger for her. That’s the reason why she has to hide the “attempted murder” from her brother. The moment Heena mentions that she has been hurt, the painter won’t believe her. Why? It is because in the kisaeng house, he has not forgotten her words: (chapter 97) Even if she was “fooled”, the artist can only reproach her stupidity. Remember her harsh words, she had called him stupid: (chapter 97) She had helped Min, and she can not claim ignorance. As you can see, Yoon Seungho was encouraged to hide the “attempted murder” from Baek Na-Kyum for selfish reasons. Therefore it is no coincidence that when the lord visited Heena, he made sure that his lover wouldn‘t see Heena in bed. (Chapter 105) The painter was kept in the dark about her “failed assassination”. It was, as if this had never happened. Yoon Seungho was convinced that if Baek Na-Kyum heard about this, he would feel guilty. Indirectly, he was blamed for her injuries. On the other hand, this decision has huge repercussions. It was, as if Yoon Seungho was erasing the traces of the attempted murder against Heena. It was, as if it had never taken place, which is correct, for it had been a subterfuge. Hence later she can not claim that she has been a victim of the nobles’ brutality.
Finally, I would like to point out that the head-kisaeng was acting as a poor victim in front of Yoon Seungho. Imagine that a month has already passed, but she is still in bed, (chapter 105) though she was not beaten, slapped and punched like her brother. Don’t you find it weird that she remains in bed, though she can still walk? (chapter 105) She has now the perfect excuse to avoid nobles. She has been hurt, hence she can not work. The lord never questioned her attitude, for he wished himself that the painter would take a rest and remain in bed. (Chapter 104) This explicates why later the lord was hugging his lover under the cover. (Chapter 104) Hence I conclude that Heena must have thought the same way about Yoon Seungho. „Thank god, he didn’t see or hear a thing about that awful matter“. He has no idea about her altercations with her brother in the kisaeng house. It is important, because our beloved seme has the impression that the noona has her brother’s best interests at heart, but actually he is wrong. In my opinion, the relationship between Heena and his lover serves as a mirror to his relationship with Yoon Seungwon. So far, the young noble doesn’t suspect his brother to have betrayed him. Note that he blames his father more than his younger sibling.
2. Memory illusions
While reading episode 105, we discovered how Heena was saved. (chapter 105) Yet, this incident was presented as Yoon Seungho’s memory. This panel could be used as an evidence that my theory, Heena was present next to the shaman’s shrine during the bloodbath, was wrong. Nonetheless, this image didn’t make me change my mind. Why? I paid attention to details and judged this rescue as “fake” again. The servants had a drop of sweat on their face, the symbol for deception. Secondly, the kisaeng was wet, while the staff’s clothes weren’t damp. How did they save her then? Besides, where are the foot prints? Moreover, where was the head cover? (chapter 99) Finally, her hands and feet were not tied. So where did the items go? Since we saw her “execution”, we are the witnesses, and as such we know the truth about that “awful matter”, but it is not the case for the lord. This image contains so many errors, hence it can not reflect reality.
This observation led me to the following question: when did the rescue happen exactly? Besides, how could the lord have seen her, when he could barely leave the painter’s side? He spent the whole night with the painter. (chapter 103) Hence he could have never been outside the mansion. That’s how I realized that the author was presenting us a false memory. This means that the manhwalovers are facing an implanted memory. But how could this happen? First, false memory is quite normal and is often of no consequence. But a false memory relayed during criminal testimony might lead to the conviction of an innocent person. As the manhwalovers can detect, it represents a serious problem.
In fact, everyone is prone to false memory distortions, but people with mental illness are more susceptible to “memory illusion”. It is the same for persons who have issues to differentiate between reality and fiction. Since Yoon Seungho is suffering from PTSD and often questions his sense of reality, (chapter 58), it makes him particularly vulnerable to false memories.
But how is it possible to implant fake memories? Let’s not forget that memory is working with associations, as the former is a network of cells. Thus the connections between these cells can been severed. And the moment the cells are reconnected, the brain is trying to fill the blanks. And that’s how false memories can arise. But there exist more factors.
First, it is related to inaccurate perception.
“Sometimes we see things that aren’t there and miss obvious things that are right in front of us.” Quoted from https://www.verywellmind.com/how-do-false-memories-form-2795349
We have the perfect example in episode 105. Because of the butler’s following testimony (chapter 104), the lord and even the readers imagined to see medicine in the white bowl! (chapter 105) Besides, the author had always connected the drug with the tray. (chapter 23) As you can see, the readers interpreted this scene due to associations. Nonetheless, like mentioned in the previous analysis, the different color and the traces on the edge were the evidences that it was ink. (chapter 36) Besides, Heena was in bed indicating that she was still weak. The circumstances led people to have a different perception of “verity”!! Only through the mind’s eye, the manhwalovers can detect that this scene was staged.
Then the other cause is interference. This signifies that as soon as new information appears, it can affect old memories or the reverse. Experience, prejudice and knowledge have an influence on memories.
“Our minds try to fill in the missing spaces, often using current knowledge as well as beliefs or expectations.” Quoted from https://www.verywellmind.com/how-do-false-memories-form-2795349
And this aspect is visible in the lord’s memory either. (chapter 105) Observe that the servant on the right is acting like Yoon Seungho: (chapter 103) The protagonist projected his own thoughts and emotions onto one servant: shock! (chapter 105) Secondly, the kisaeng has the same body posture than the painter after the first abduction. (chapter 61) This was interference by excellence. Besides, emotions can affect your memories. Since the lord was so under shock after witnessing the painter’s unconsciousness, it is not surprising that he imagined to have witnessed this scene. At the same time, when he left the shrine in trance, he could have overlooked the presence of a third person… similar to Lee Jihwa next to the shed. That’s how he doesn’t recall anything from that night except his crime. He didn’t see and hear the person by his side. Where is the sword? Where did he get the hanbok from?
“Researchers have found that people tend to be more likely to remember events connected to strong emotions, but that the details of such memories are often suspect. Retelling important events can also lead to a false belief in the accuracy of the memory.” Quoted from https://www.verywellmind.com/how-do-false-memories-form-2795349
And now, you have the explanation why the lord is blaming his father the entire time and no one else. Finally, I would like to remind the readers that the main lead had tried to commit suicide during that night. Thus he went to the pound. (chapter 102) Therefore it is not astonishing that he imagined a similar scenery.
Another cause for false memory is misinformation. And we have the perfect illustration in chapter 1: (chapter 1) Baek Na-Kyum thought to have seen “Yoon Seungho” as huge sodomite, yet he only connected the name to the face after meeting the lord for the first time. (chapter 1) This shows that the artist had only heard his name without seeing his face before. This explicates why the main lead’s gaze and facial expressions were similar (chapter 1) (chapter 1)
As you can see, Byeonduck left many clues for this interpretation: the noona’s rescue was fake, for it was a false memory. Finally, since the lord was present, when the servants had “discovered” Baek Na-Kyum, the negative reflection would be that he was not gone himself there. Finally, we have the confession from Yoon Seungho, he never saved her. Indirectly, he was admitting that he had not assisted them. (chapter 105)
As you can see, this image was the result of a combination of different events the lord had experienced himself. Hence I deduce that this memory was implanted through suggestions by the servant standing on the left side of the picture. The staff had never searched for the painter, hence one of the domestics had asked his master: (chapter 103)
On the other hand, he only narrated the main aspects, and let the lord fill the blanks. That’s how the lord created a false memory which feels so vivid that it seems real. But I have another proof for this theory. In the previous episode, the lord had tried to implant a false memory into the painter: (chapter 104) My avid readers can certainly recall the rule I had detected: each chapter will be reflected in the next!
But since Yoon Seungho was implanted a false memory, this signifies that it is the same for Baek Na-Kyum too! 😲 One detail caught my attention, the noona’s comment. She had detected that the painter used to feel anxious around Jung In-Hun. (chapter 105) How is it possible? Especially, when the painter said this: (chapter 94) Furthermore, the painter is associating the learned sir to the moon and as such the night. (chapter 94) Thus I am now suspecting that this image is a false memory. But I have another reason to think that the painter’s idolization was more the result of “brainwashing” and as such “false memories”.
The same noona had observed that she had not seen her donsaeng weep like that, since he was 5 years old! (chapter 105) How can she date this incident so precisely? The moment I read her testimony, I discovered that in episode 94 the author had never shown us the painter crying! (chapter 94) (chapter 94) (chapter 94) It was, as if the noonas had never been informed about the painter’s suffering and tears. This shows that Heena has been hiding many things from her colleagues. But there is more to it! The manhwaphiles saw the artist’s tears in his childhood. (chapter 68) But here he was much older!! Under this new perspective, I realized that the following image could have been a false memory: (chapter 68) Heena was misremembering that night, and she was misattributing the painter’s tears. In other words, she was confusing two incidents.
Misattribution: Have you ever mixed up the details of one story with the details of another? For example, while telling a friend about your last vacation you might mistakenly relate an incident that happened on a vacation you took several years ago.” Quoted from https://www.verywellmind.com/how-do-false-memories-form-2795349
And now, take a closer look to the painter’s tears in episode 105: (chapter 105) It is the same facial expression, though the redness around the eyes is more pronounced. This observation confirms that the noona’s memories in the kisaeng (chapter 68) were not reflecting reality. She idolized the scholar’s attitude, while she was portraying herself as the real victim. Thus I started wondering why the painter must have felt anxious around the learned sir. (chapter 105) One might question the veracity of the kisaeng’s testimony, but so far, I judge her as “innocent”, though she definitely helps Heena to fool the couple. In her mind, it is for her brother’s best interests. But let’s not forget that the teenager Yoon Seungho was exposed to sex in a brutal way (chapter 86), so the painter must have made a similar experience. In my analysis “Baek Na-Kyum’s foot“, I had already doubted the “warmth and happiness” of the scene. For me, the zoom on the painter’s foot was the clue for the painter’s suffering. And this interpretation was confirmed in episode 105. (chapter 105) He had run after his lover in socks. While in “Baek Na-Kyum’s foot”, I thought that this memory was true, I come now to a different signification. It was a false memory in order to hide a crime related to Heena. I would like to outline that in the kisaeng’s comment, we have the notion of “shame” and as such “guilt”. First, I thought of rape, but then it could be much simpler. The painter could have witnessed his noona having sex with the learned sir. But because he was too young, he misjudged the situation… as a virgin, she had to bleed. Because he saw blood, he imagined that the learned sir had hurt Heena. This would explain why the artist was afterwards anxious around the teacher. One might think that this is not terrible. But let’s not forget that as a kisaeng, she can not have sex like that. (chapter 105)
“After 1650 some kisaeng were assigned to a specific government office; these were called gwan-gi, and though officeholders were strictly forbidden from having sex with them, in practice they were usually expected and often forced to provide sex to these bureaucrats” Quoted from https://maggiemcneill.com/2013/09/12/the-kisaeng/
Besides, I doubt that the learned sir paid her for her services, hence according to regulations, the couple had committed a wrongdoing. Under this new perspective, it becomes comprehensible why Byeonduck let Heena witness their love session. (chapter 96) A similar situation had happened in the past.But because of her brother’s reaction, his huge tears, she got scared. (chapter 68) Hence my theory is that this image comes from that day, but she repressed it. Due to her guilty conscience and fears, she developed genophobia. Under this new light, it becomes comprehensible why later Heena caused trouble to Yoon Seungho in the kisaeng house. Her loss of virginity could have been detected. Finally, it explains why the kisaeng spoke about “fleeting and trivial emotions” (chapter 68) Through suggestions, she had been able to convince her brother that the learned sir was a nice person. This explicates why the caresses and hugs were used to silence the artist. By repeating to her brother, he liked Jung In-Hun, he came to develop such feelings. The kisaeng’s statement implies that the admiration for the teacher was not constant. (chapter 105) Her words represent a contradiction to Heena’s statement. (chapter 46) A change of heart versus “eternity”. This shows that the painter’s decision to go to the learned sir’s house was never his choice. He had simply followed Heena’s suggestion. She was definitely distorting his past. Furthermore I detected a strong connection between love and memory. (chapter 94) If it is a loved one, then it can only be a good memory. Therefore it is not surprising that by saying constantly saying that the painter likes the scholar, he is repressing the bad memories with the scholar (the beating in episode 34, the betrayal in chapter 29, his words in the library and his reproach about his job). So far, he only mentioned one negative incident.
But why did Byeonduck use false memories in her story? It is to make Yoon Seungho remember his true memories, which were repressed. However, in psychology, repressed memories are controversial. This explains why the author from „Memory illusions“, Julia Shaw, rejects this idea.
“Research showed that the created memories often had the same theme as whatever the clinician was suggesting. So if the clinician suggested sexual abuse, the client would have memories of sexual abuse. If the clinician suggested alien abduction, the client would remember an alien abduction. And if the clinician suggested satanic ritual abuse, then the client would remember satanic ritual abuse. So this was a huge problem. This has led many psychologists and researchers to adamantly oppose any type of therapy that seeks to recover repressed memories, and they also would testify against any recovered memory in court.” Quoted from https://therapyinanutshell.com/repressed-memories-dissociative-amnesia-ptsd-and-the-memory-wars/
Through Baek Na-Kyum’s suffering, the lord is slowly reminded of his own tragedy. This means, his sexual abuse will come to the surface. At the same time, I believe that the painter is the witness of Yoon Seungho’s past suffering, but he has not discovered Yoon Seungho’s connection to the gibang. For me, the painter Baek Na-Kyum embodies true memories, especially since he is no longer under the influence of Heena.
3. The painter’s ignorance
The irony is that though the painter was kept in the dark about the lord’s intentions, he was capable to detect the verity!! How so? He was using his heart and his mind’s eye. First, though the lord’s sudden embrace had caught him by surprise, he had been able to interpret the true meaning: a goodbye (chapter 105) In the original version, this is what the artist thought:
“Earlier..why did it feel like the LAST…”
The last embrace! He had sensed the lord’s despair and heartache. They would no longer see each other. How do I know that the artist was caught by surprise? It is because he never reciprocated the hug. We have to envision a new version of this scene: (chapter 76) So while the painter was following his lover, the latter turned around and hugged him. Afterwards, he asked him to go to his noonas, for he needed to talk to Heena. Moreover, contrary to Yoon Seungho, Baek Na-Kyum paid attention to time. He was not lost in thoughts or had lost the sense of time (chapter 105) Despite being busy and talking to the kisaengs, the artist couldn’t forget his lover. All his attention was still focused on his lover. That’s the reason why he could catch the lord’s departure right on time. This means that Heena’s words didn’t become a reality. He could grasp the situation correctly, though he has no idea about the lord’s intentions. This has nothing to do with chance! It is thanks to the artist’s intelligence and sensibility.
But while he rushed to the lord’s side, he tripped and fell on his hand. (chapter 105) But the latter acted, as if his hand was not wounded. (chapter 105) He ignored his physical pain and heartache. (chapter 105) This is important, because the stumbling symbolizes the intervention of the gods… We have the perfect example at the end of season 3. The lord fell on his knees in front of the scholar’s house, hence there is a hand print on the snow. (chapter 100) That’s how he refused to view Lee Jihwa as the murderer of his lover, Baek Na-Kyum”. YES, the falling is the real manifestation of CHANCE! How so? I would like the manhwaphiles to keep in mind that chance is the antonym of trick and scheme! The latter are connected to plan and organization. Thus I come to the conclusion that the noble will decide to go to the doctor’s office in order to treat his lover’s hand. (chapter 105) Let’s not forget that Yoon Seungho treasures the artist’s hands so much. Besides, they are wearing the same scarfs than in episode 74. But this is something that the schemers are not expecting. After the start of season 4, I got aware that Yoon Seungho never saw the doctor clearly. When the main lead was brought there, (chapter 57) he was feverish so that he couldn’t pay attention to the physician. Besides, the man never remained by his side. Finally, in episode 74, the man never left the office!! (chapter 74) I conclude that Yoon Seungho never saw the physician for commoners! Besides, I doubt that he remembers him from his childhood. But this is not the same, when Baek Na-Kyum was ill. He met the other doctor twice. (chapter 33) (chapter 103) On the other hand, the artist assumes that the man in the office is Yoon Seungho’s doctor!! He heard his confession: (chapter 57) There exist two physicians in the city at least. That’s how a part of the truth will come to the surface! And who had fetched the doctor? (chapter 103) The staff… I would like to outline that in this panel, Kim was no longer seen next to the couple. (chapter 105), though he was still present here. (chapter 105) So where did he vanish? Probably to the mansion, for he had to warn the domestics that the artist would be returning! But if he left the couple behind, this means that he can’t witness what Yoon Seungho and Baek Na-Kyum will do next. And if they don’t go to the doctor, there is no ambiguity that the main lead will send for the doctor again. But according to me, the man disappeared. (chapter 103) To conclude, I am expecting that Yoon Seungho will make a huge discovery in the next episode… just like the painter did in the gibang.
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