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: Hunted or wanted? 🏹🩸

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.

My avid readers are actually aware that Painter Of The Night is constructed like a kaleidoscope. Thus certain incidents keep occurring twice in each season. However, one might argue that this theory is not true, for the author used two hunts in season 1, yet we had no hunt at all in season 2, and only one in season 3.

  • Chapter 22:
  • Chapter 41:
  • Chapter 83:

1. The hidden chases

As you can imagine, I can refute this point very easily. First of all, in the essay „Words“, I had pointed out that in the bedchamber, the lord was acting like a hunter chasing after his prey. I had made this connection, for the main lead would utilize idioms from the lexical field of the hunt. (Chapter 73) (chapter 73) This is important, because the manhwalovers can sense a connection between sex and hunt. This means that the love session in the bedchamber from season 2 should be perceived as a new version of a hunt. And this link between sex and hunting was also present, when Yoon Seungho and Min were in the woods in chapter 41: (chapter 41) In this scene, it looked like Black Heart was trying to make a move on Yoon Seungho, while in truth Min was more obsessed with the painter. (Chapter 41) The expression „spot“ belongs also to the semantic field of chase.

Secondly, the premeditated murder could be viewed as a new version of the hunt. Yoon Seungho was the first one to bring up these two notions together: (Chapter 11) A murder disguised as an accident, the scholar would have been eaten by a tiger. What caught my attention is that No-Name requested from Deok-Jae that he should make the painter leave the mansion. o (chapter 51) It was, as if the rabbit had been chased away from its burrow or the deer had been forced to leave the woods. That way, he would become an easy target for the hunter and butcher Mumyeong. To conclude, we had two hunts in season 2 as well.

As for season 3, the second chase took place, when the painter vanished. Yoon Seungho had to track down himself Baek Na-Kyum. He was like a hunter searching for his prey, following the clues left by the “witnesses”. (Chapter 99) First, he was rushing, but the moment he received the crucial tip from his childhood friend, he approached the den silently, just like a tiger. That‘s the reason why neither Black Heart nor lord Jang nor lord Park detected his presence. (Chapter 101)

2. Yoon Seungho the hunter

Thus I couldn‘t help myself associating Yoon Seungho to a tiger. In one of my first analyses, I had compared him to an eagle and a phoenix, hence this new association seems to contradict my previous interpretation. However, the readers should keep in their mind that each character has been associated to different animals: Min was either a snake or a crow or a magpie, while Jung In-Hun could be perceived as a snake, a peacock or a chameleon. I have already compared the painter to a deer and a butterfly, so Yoon Seungho should be linked to different animals either: the phoenix and the tiger.

This predator is known to be a solitary night hunter, mainly relying on his sense of sight and hearing rather than on smell when hunting prey. This method is also employed by the main character which was particularly perceptible during the last incident. On the one hand, he listened to the words from his staff, the noonas, Seokdae (chapter 99) and Lee Jihwa (chapter 100), hence he had not the time to question the veracity of their claims or sense their manipulations. On the other hand, he could detect the difference between the blood in front of the scholar’s house and inside the building. (Chapter 100). He was following his instincts. Tigers cautiously stalk their target from the rear in attempt to get as close as possible to their unsuspecting prey. (Chapter 101) And the moment I perceived Yoon Seungho as a tiger, I couldn‘t help myself thinking that the main lead was acting like a mother looking for her lost cub!! 🐯 This would explain why the protagonist showed no mercy at all to the nobles. However, the painter is definitely no tiger. In our story, he was symbolized by the deer, which the lord had stabbed with his sword. (Chapter 22) This was an allusion to the rape. Under this new light, it becomes comprehensible why Baek Na-Kyum feared the lord so much, because he had to face his strength and fury right away. From the beginning, the painter saw his dangerous side. A deer can only perceive the tiger as a natural enemy. We could say that Painter Of The Night is a love story between a tiger and a deer!😉 This means that the lord finally showed his real fangs, when he felt that his curb or treasured deer had been wounded. (chapter 102)

And this thought leads me to the following observation, the way Yoon Seungho hurts its targets. The tiger will attempt to take down its prey with a powerful bite to the neck and/ or throat. Now, look at this: (chapter 41) The pheasant was strangled, just like Yoon Seungho used to grab the painter by the throat (chapter 48) or the chin (chapter 11). The main lead‘s hand has the same form than the bite, though it can not cut the flesh… which the sword can. Thus we saw the lord using the sword: (chapter 22) (chapter 83) (chapter 102) Even in this panel, the sword resembles a lot to the tiger‘s fang: (chapter 102) Another important element is that this predator usually targets large-bodied preys like boar, deer, humans and not rabbit or pheasant. Under this new light, it becomes comprehensible why the main lead went after a boar or the aristocrats in season 3.

“Less than a century ago, tigers and leopards prowled the Korean peninsula and ruled the hours of darkness. Their depredations in the desolate regions were so severe that porters and horse-handlers refused to travel at night ― even in fairly large groups. If they were compelled to travel at night (through the promises of more money or threats of violence), they did so with great caution, brandishing torches, striking gongs, and relying on superstitious beliefs.

According to an old Chinese saying, “The Korean hunts the tiger six months in the year and the tiger hunts the Korean the other six months.” Robert Neff Collection

Quoted from http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/opinon/2019/10/197_276925.html

By comparing all these hunting scenes, I detected the following parallels. The main lead would always do the mercy killing, which stands in opposition to Min or Jung In-Hun. Both disliked dirtying their own hands, it was beneath them to kill the animal themselves. (chapter 22) (chapter 41) We could say that Yoon Seungho was behaving like the tiger, who would always kill his prey in one go. Simultaneously, this reminded me of the status of No-Name, who is according to me a butcher. (chapter 60) The latter belonged to the lowest ranks of Joseon’s society, because killing an animal was a disgraceful job. On the other hand, the butcher No-Name and the tiger Yoon Seungho have something in common: killing is viewed as a necessity. It is either to survive or to end the animal’s suffering or to punish the criminals.

3. Hunting: hobby or work?

That’s how I realized that hunt and murder are similar in this story, for both are mostly presented as an entertainment. Yoon Seungho invited the scholar for a hunt, as it would give the occasion to go to the woods. (Chapter 22). And when Black Heart suggested the artist’s assassination, he always kept laughing, making it sound like a game without any terrible consequence. (Chapter 43) Lee Jihwa would remove a witch, and not a human. (chapter 43) Only Nameless painted it in all its cruelty and brutality. Not only the person would lose his life, but he would lose his identity. (Chapter 60) By removing his eyes and tongue, the victim’s face would change making him impossible to be recognized. And note that his scarf and headgear had been removed as well. It was not a game, but a deadly matter. Why would he do such a thing? The reason is simple. If no one could identify the victim, there would be no investigation. Astonishing is that hunt is a synonym for investigation and prosecution. Hence I am deducing that in season 4, the investigation should be perceived a new version of the hunt. Because of Jung In-Hun and Min, someone will be put on the wanted list. On the other side, Mumyeong’s other job is to entertain people. To conclude, there is a strong connection between killing and entertaining which the main lead destroyed during that night. He reminded the nobles that hunting means taking away a life.

On the other hand, the hunting in chapter 83 looked the exact opposite: (chapter 83) It was far more serious and deadly. The noble was acting like an obsessed and crazy man. There was no trace of fun on his face, only stress and fear. (chapter 83) Thus I am deducing that this chase had been suggested to the main lead in order to release his tension and as such in order to divert his attention from the painter. Naturally, Kim was behind this idea faking his concern for his master. The hunt was supposed to procure pleasure to Yoon Seungho, but it couldn’t, because he was afraid of losing the painter. This explains why he selected the boar as his prey. He was fearless in front of that dangerous animal, for it meant nothing to him. He didn’t mind losing his life… revealing his suicidal disposition which resurfaced later, when the father mentioned the authorities. (chapter 86) (chapter 86) But the moment the servant reminded him to pay more attention to himself (chapter 83), he abandoned the boar immediately. This shows that all this time, Baek Na-Kyum had been on his mind. Therefore it is no coincidence that he rushed home on his horse and looked for Baek Na-Kyum. (Chapter 83) He couldn’t forget that he had scared and wounded the painter in his dissociative state. This shows that the chase had not served its true purpose: entertainment. In reality, the domestics had been the ones suffering the most, for them it was definitely more work (Chapter 84) compared to the past. (chapter 23)

Another important detail caught my attention in this panel: (chapter 83) the hunter had the impression to become a target himself, thus he turned around. His situation coincides with the tigers in Joseon. The latter were hunted down by professional tiger hunters, for they represented a huge source of danger for the local population.

Some of Korea’s most dangerous and ferocious tigers were those that dwelt on the slopes of Inwangsan, just outside the Seoul city walls. These tigers often preyed on woodcutters and firewood merchants traveling to and from Goyang city ― especially at Muakjae Pass. In 1893, at least one tiger was reported to be prowling about Gyeongbok Palace ― probably hunting the tame little deer kept there. There are even claims (probably exaggerated) of tigers stalking Seoul’s gloomy, unlit streets ― the silence shattered by the screams of their unwary victims fighting a losing battle for their lives. When the tigers became too much of a nuisance, professional hunters were summoned. These men were highly respected by Koreans and foreigners for their bravery.  ” Quoted from http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/opinon/2019/10/197_276925.html

To conclude, the hunter can become hunted too.

4. Chased

This is interesting, because the hunter Min became himself a prey to the tiger Seungho. When I started examining this manhwa, I had interpreted this scene as a metaphor for Lee Jihwa’s destiny. (chapter 41) First, I had feared that he might lose his life, then later I had realized that this death was purely symbolic. He would lose his title and family, therefore he would become a commoner. But I had also expressed my doubts that this scene could be a reference to Black Heart, as from chapter 52 on, I had sensed that he would die. But if the pheasant is representing two characters, The Joker and Lee Jihwa, then this means that the deer in chapter 22 (chapter 22) embodies not only the painter, but also someone else. While in the past, I used to believe that it was Kim, now I come to the deduction that it was Jung In-Hun. Note that in this scene, the main lead left the prey and the scholar behind. Both got defeated. By hunting the deer, the learned sir offered this prey to the tiger Yoon Seungho, and this was the painter’s case. Furthermore, the deer was carried back home on a horse (chapter 24) reflecting the painter’s fate. (chapter 25) Who brought the horse to the pavilion? Kim and Deok-Jae! And when the learned sir departed from the mansion, he was followed by the vicious servant and the horse. (chapter 44) Everything is pointing out that the learned sir was like a deer to the hidden hunter. And by losing the painter, the scholar would lose his power over Yoon Seungho, and this is what truly happened. By leaving the main lead’s side, Jung In-Hun died.

(chapter 83) The boar symbolizes not only the nobles like Jihwa, Min, Jang or Park, but also the elders Kim, Lee, Yoon Chang-Hyeon, and as such the king. And if you consider the boar as the personification of the pedophile, the ruler, this means that the moment Yoon Seungho hunted down the nobles, he defeated the ruler in a figurative way. Thus I was wondering if in the end, the main lead would hunt down a human in season 4, Kim or the king. Don’t forget the main lead’s words to the painter: (chapter 11) It could be staged as a hunting accident. In other words, I am expecting a new form of hunt in season 4, a human will be chased, either through an interrogation or through a staged hunt. Since I believe that Kim has been working for the pedophile, we have to envision that both puppet masters will meet their doom in the next season. While the one is prosecuted for murder, the other could be killed during a hunt. Moreover, the manhwaphiles shouldn’t overlook that the king used clothes and impersonation to his advantages in the past, and according to me even in the present. (chapter 37)

Like mentioned in the previous part, Nameless explained to Lee Jihwa that he had to butcher the victim in order to hide the murder. Thus this staged crime scene looked like the scholar had been attacked by a tiger. (Chapter 88) On the other hand, the foot print and the glasses could give the impression that the learned sir had been murdered. However, after adding blood in the fake crime scene and removing the learned sir’s possessions, (chapter 100), the place could be interpreted differently. The inhabitant had been attacked by a tiger during the night. Though the painter had been the prey of these vicious nobles, the real target had been Yoon Seungho. That’s the reason why I had developed the theory that the pedophile had been not only lusting after the young master, but also targeting the Yoons.

Then I noticed an element in this image: (chapter 45) the cobweb behind Deok-Jae. Imagine that this scene took place in the middle of winter, thus the spider’s web got covered by frost. However, this indicates that this room had been abandoned for quite some time. But it is close to the gate. So it should have been the place where the doorkeeper is living. Secondly, I had demonstrated that the shrine had been neglected, for the altar had been removed. (chapter 18) Because of the presence of the cobweb, I started wondering why the author drew it behind Deok-Jae. In my eyes, it is because he was part of the spider’s web. According to me, the learned sir was killed shortly after his departure, and Deok-Jae was a witness of this assassination. That’s why I came to the conclusion that in the past, Yoon Seungho, had caught the attention of the monarch represented by the spider. Since the lord’s fate resembles the painter’s, I am assuming that we should perceive him as a butterfly too. And in order to catch its prey, the spider prepared a web, a web made of lies. Even before the start of season 3, I had declared that right from the start, the young master had been targeted. Thanks to this new parallel, I had another revelation. Remember how I had described the schemers as puppet masters, and they would view people as pawns. As the spider has 8 legs, I am thinking that the pedophile has always been using 8 persons to achieve its goal. Some were aware of the scheme, others were just manipulated. In the past, there were Father Lee, Lee Jihwa, Kim, Jung In-Hun, Heena, Yoon Chang-Hyeon, Yoon Seung-Won and No-Name. So when the story started, I believe that there was a new generation of pawns: Kim, Deok-Jae, Lee Jihwa, No-Name, the noble with the mole, Heena, Yoon Seung-Won and Black Heart. I am excluding father Lee for the simple reason that due to the topknot incident, the scholar was well aware that “lord Song” was no longer judging his family in a good light. He definitely lied low for a while. Naturally, the huge change from the past is that this time Kim had become proactive. But let’s examine Yoon Seungho’s downfall.

Since the main lead was protected by his good reputation, the first goal was to taint his reputation to the point that no one would ever remember him. He was idle, disobedient, but more importantly he was a sodomite. He had to make sure that Yoon Chang-Hyeon would abandon him. The main lead needed to become a “commoner” or “low-born” so that the pedophile could claim him. Yes, the exact opposite of this situation: (chapter 18) That’s the reason why Yoon Seungho was not dressed properly. (chapter 83) If he lived in a shed and had such a simple attire, no one would ever think that he was a noble in the first place. I believe that neither the patriarch nor the ruler had an interest to reveal his true identity. However, the protagonist had to be monitored, for he could try to escape at any moment. That’s the reason why the butler was still tasked to “take care of him”. But by becoming a male night servant for the king, this meant that the other nobles could claim him as well. He had no right. However, since the main lead was a butterfly, he couldn’t get tamed. Hence violence, manipulations and drugs were used to tame the young master. And remember how the spider kills its target: he empties it of its blood. In other word, he sucks all his energy. Therefore it is not surprising that at the end the main lead had become a wreck, and had no light in his eyes. (chapter 57) Naturally, the purge played a huge role in the lord’s suffering reinforcing the huge rift between the pedophile and Yoon Seungho.

In addition, the suicide from the main lead’s mother brought an end to this masquerade. The king could no longer feign ignorance about the main lead’s true identity, and naturally he needed to punish Yoon Chang-Hyeon for his “trick”. He had deceived him, whereas in reality he was well aware of the situation. He had to blame someone else, for he didn’t desire to become responsible for this. Besides, by fueling Yoon Seungho’s hatred for the father, “lord Song” definitely hoped to be judged in a different light. Nonetheless, because the protagonist was abused sexually, physically and emotionally, he could only fear and resent the pedophile, but he could never express it. This was a vicious circle, which ended when the main lead tried to commit suicide himself. (chapter 57)

That’s the reason why I believe that little by little, the pedophile is losing his pawns and as such his legs. The scholar had been abandoned, then later he got killed. Lee Jihwa was punished with the loss of his topknot, then he left town with No-Name. Since the main lead deserted the mansion, the ruler lost control over the protagonist. So he will blame the Lees for that. Heena ran away from the gibang. Then Yoon Chang-Hyeon has no longer any power and connection, he has to rely on his son Yoon Seung-Won or on Kim. But the elder master Yoon played a trick at the end of season 3. As you can see, the pedophile almost lost all his pawns from the past. Finally, Black Heart and his friends got killed. What started like an entertaining hunt became war in the end, for many people died. And this brings me back to Black Heart and lord Jang again.

The nobles are in truth animals. They are dogs, like Byeonduck indicated it. Therefore it is no coincidence that they don’t make a difference between hunting an animal or a human. This explains why lord Shin was abandoned behind in the cold and why Lee Jihwa was compared to a dog (chapter 101). It was not Min’s task to carry a friend… he was just a fellow puppet brought to the shaman’s house in order to entertain Black Heart. This truly exposes that Black Heart never saw in the aristocrats humans. As the red-haired master, he had been considered as the hunting dog, he had fulfilled his function. That’s why he was abandoned. He had helped Min to corner the painter and brought the kisaeng to the scholar’s home. Hence it is not surprising that the wild dogs ended up all dead. They were totally defenseless in front of a huge tiger. This feline is difficult to tame.

As for the painter, Min considered him as an animal that should entertain them. Striking is that the aristocrats’ vocabulary is revolving around violence (“break”, “bloodied”) reflecting their cruel and ruthless nature. (chapter 101) They saw in the sexual violence a new form of hunting. I would even go so far to say that they desired to turn the artist into their pet fulfilling all their desires: (chapter 101) Thus it is not surprising that Yoon Seungho was compared to an animal by his own father in the past. (chapter 83) The pedophile also desired to tame the young master, the beautiful and gentle butterfly. Thus he got brainwashed. He could never refuse anyone, he had to entertain the guests. And now you comprehend why Min said this to the painter. (chapter 101) As a punishment, he was given to lord Jang and his friend. Since Min had captured the artist, he viewed himself as his owner who would give order to his pet. Yet, a deer is a shy, but wild animal, difficult to control making it difficult to be tamed.

Min had turned into a dog, because he had been misguided. He never realized that his biggest wish was to be noticed as a human by the painter. (chapter 99) But this was impossible, for Black Heart never treated Baek Na-Kyum as a man. Hence I come to the conclusion that by meeting the painter, Yoon Seungho rediscovered his true nature: he was a free spirit, a tiger! And guess what… In Joseon, the tiger was perceived as a good talisman to chase away the evil spirit!! (chapter 102) Hence the dogs became the preys of the huge tiger. On the other hand, I am wondering if in the next season, the painter will paint a tiger and show it to his lover. So far, we couldn’t see the pictures from his childhood.

But how could the tiger earn the deer’s trust? It is because he treated Baek Na-Kyum as a human. By falling in love, Yoon Seungho rediscovered his humanity. His beating heart was the reason why he didn’t end up completely as a beast. His art moved his heart and healed his eyes. He could forget the violence and blood from his youth. Yet, at the end of season 3, Yoon Seungho has the impression that he could get hunted down, for he killed the nobles. However, since he spared the kisaengs, Seokdae and even his own staff, people will have the impression that he is not capable to commit such a crime. Why? It is because he has been portrayed as weak-hearted by the butler. He often had a change of heart.

Before closing this essay, I would like to point out that the pedophile is not just a spider, but also a dragon, for he is the king of Joseon. Hence expect in the next season a battle between a tiger and a dragon…

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 / Payback: “Innocent or not guilty?“⚖️

This is where you can read these manhwas. Payback: https://www.lezhinus.com/en/comic/payback_en Painter Of The Night: https://www.lezhinus.com/en/comic/painter But be aware that these manhwas are 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 concerning Painter Of The Night:  https://bebebisous33analyses.wordpress.com/2020/07/04/table-of-contents-painter-of-the-night/ Here, you can find more analyses about other manhwas: https://bebebisous33analyses.com/2021/06/06/table-of-contents-of-analyzed-mentioned-manhwas/

Feel free to 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. It would also cover my expenses for the blog.

In daily life, people view the idioms “innocent” and “not guilty” as synonyms. However, from a legal standpoint, there exists a difference. Innocent signifies that a person did not commit the crime, whereas not guilty means that the prosecution could not prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that a person committed the crime. Therefore, the court does not pronounce a defendant as “innocent” but rather “not guilty”. Thus the prosecution’s task is to bring up as many evidences as possible to prove the guilt of the accused. At the same time, I would like the manhwalovers to keep in their mind that that innocence stands in opposition to sin and not just to crime! So technically, someone might have not committed a wrongdoing, but he can have acted reprehensively. This signifies that we are dealing here with moral and social norms. Thus a sin is not judged by the court, but by gods and people. This explicates why the legal system never says “innocent”, but “not guilty”. This nuance could be perceived in two different manhwas, Payback and Painter Of The Night. Some readers might question the purpose for such a study. In my eyes, it helps us to perceive the characters under a different light.

1. Lee Yoohan, innocent or not guilty?

In the story Payback, the main lead Lee Yoohan had a dark past. He had dropped out of school (chapter 1), and he was no longer living with his single mother and brother Lee Hansoo. He described himself as a small but confident delinquent, as he used to work for a loan shark in order to earn money very easily. (chapter 1) And one day, his brother Lee Hansoo met him in order to ask him for money. Their mother was sick and they needed to pay the hospital bills. Lee Yohan agreed to help, thus under pressure, he chose to threaten a debtor’s son. Observe that the main lead chose to use a knife and take the child as hostage. He was walking on a thin line between legality and crime. As you can see, Lee Yohan was no saint. But it didn’t matter to him so far, for he had no faith at all. He refused to believe in karma. (chapter 1) He was definitely a disillusioned teenager, therefore he was not thinking about the future. However, the fact that he became totally reckless during that day indicates that he still valued his family. He might not have been close to them, but he still cared for them. That’s the reason why he agreed to accept the brother’s request. We can sense his worry here. (chapter 1) When the borrower was confronted with such a ruthless behavior, he warned the main lead: (chapter 1) However, since he had given up on his dreams and had no hope, Yohan didn’t take the threat seriously, until he was confronted with reality. (chapter 1) The same man killed his brother Lee Hansoo in front of the main character. The man had acted like that, for he had lost everything: his home and as such his family. I would add that he had failed to protect his son. Out of despair and anger, he decided to retaliate, to make the young man suffer, like he had been hurt before. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. The assassination was like a wake-up call for Lee Yohan. From that moment on, he turned a new leaf. (chapter 1)Why? He considered himself as the murderer of his own brother. (chapter 2) In his eyes, it was, as if he had killed himself the brother and his own mother! (chapter 27) He recognized that his actions had been the trigger for the debtor’s crime! At no moment in the manhwa, the main lead blamed the real culprit, not even his own mother who had given up on him. He admitted that in the end, it had always been his own choice to live like a thug! Striking is that he considers himself as responsible for his mother’s death, as because of his terrible way of life, he had caused her worries. As you can see, Lee Yoohan could not be considered as guilty for his relatives’ death, but he had definitely his share of responsibility in his family’s suffering.

Striking is that the young man paid off all his debts, as he saw them as his way to atone for his sins. Thus he never allowed himself to rest. How could he enjoy life, when he was a sinner? In his mind, he needed to suffer, but at the same time, he could never grief for the loss of his mother and brother. He had not the time for that. That’ the reason why Yoon Jae’s best friend asked him this: (chapter 27) No, he didn’t cry, hence the owner of the club wept for him. (chapter 27) He could sense Lee Yohan’s agony. He had lost his family at such a young age, he might have been a sinner, but anyone could sense his affection and conscience! He might have lived like a thug, but he was not a bad person per se. It is just that he had made wrong choices, just like the man who had stabbed his brother. In the main lead’s eyes, it was not karma, like the culprit said: (chapter 1) This means that Lee Yohan still refused to believe in divine punishment. Therefore it is not surprising that the protagonist punished himself so hard, and accepted his suffering without objection. He was not allowed to feel warmth and affection. (chapter 15) Thus he rejected the advances from Yoon Jae. In chapter 15, we could sense that the main character was preoccupied about the existence of god. Was there a divine punishment or not? (chapter 15) And Yoon Jae denied such a thing, but added then: (chapter 15) But is it not the same? Yes and no… For Yoon Jay, if someone acts badly towards another person, the former will be treated the same way. On the other hand, each kindness will be returned. But one might argue that the gods can interact through humans and use them as pawns to give people their karma. And this is what we are discovering in Payback. Lee Yohan helped Yoon Jae and even showed him a crying man. The famous director Yoon got moved by the main lead’s tears (chapter 15) proving that not all humans were cold and distant. They could express regret and admit their mistake. For the first time, Yoon Jae discovered warmth and sensitivity.

Lee Yohan would have kept punishing himself and putting a distance between himself and others, if his path had not crossed the famous actor Song Myungshin again! One day, he overheard a conversation between the artist Song Myungshin and his manager, and discovered the truth about the whole incident. The actor had been himself threatened by the debtor, so in order to save his own skin, he designated the younger brother to the future murderer. (chapter 1) The most terrible thing is that the actor had been helped constantly by the protagonist. Since the former had a dream of becoming an actor, the “thug” was generous to help him financially and emotionally. The assassination worked for Song Myungshin, for he had planned to steal the money from Lee Yohan. (chapter 1) That’s the reason why he didn’t even call the police. The murder would divert the main lead’s attention from the theft. When Lee Yohan heard this confession, he got upset for two reasons. Song Myungshin showed no remorse and a total indifference towards Lee Hansoo and the main lead. (chapter 1) But most importantly, he never suffered any karma. In fact, he could benefit from his sins and crimes. This could only reinforce his impression that there was no god out there giving punishment to the sinners. The actor took pride of his bad action, as he decided to take Song Yohan as his stage name! Yohan was a reminder that thanks to him, he could enter the entertainment scene. As a conclusion, karma hasn’t punished the actor Song Myungshin yet. Therefore Lee Yohan was determined to take his revenge. What he didn’t realize is that his first encounter with the other main lead would help him to achieve his goal: to give “punishment” to Song Myunshin. So he didn’t know yet that the gods were aware of this injustice, thus they let him meet the famous director Yoon Jay. (chapter 15) On the other hand, the existence of Lee Yohan gave the director hope, he could smile again and as such find happiness. The rabbit announced the return of innocence in Yoon Jae’s life. In other words, the two main leads were quite similar in their disposition: both had been wounded by their past, and had no hope. And thanks to the famous and powerful director Yoon Jay, the main lead is slowly starting living again. Little by little, he is interacting with people again, helping others, though he never does it openly. The best example is the actor Lee Hansoo who has the same name than his own brother. (chapter 6) In this scene, he refused to be addressed as hyung, as in his eyes, he didn’t deserve such a title. He had not acted like a hyung to his true little brother.

To sum up, Lee Yohan is a sinner, and he is not denying his responsibility for the loss of his family. For me, he punished himself too harshly. He never believed in karma, he saw that everything was related to his own choices. He had trusted the wrong persons in the end. And now, the gods are rewarding Lee Yohan’ for his remorse and new leaf. What made me smile while reading this manhwa is that when the former thug met Yoon Jay, he was wearing a rabbit costume with Jihwaha! (chapter 14) I couldn’t myself thinking of the antagonist Lee Jihwa, for he was put in a similar situation.

2. Lee Jihwa, a criminal or a sinner?

When in chapter 101 Lee Jihwa heard the report from Seokdae, he said that he had done nothing wrong, as he had never committed such crimes: (chapter 101) Indirectly, he was claiming his innocence. Thus the servant suggested to the young master to go to the police bureau in order to clear his name, but the young master refused to do so. Why? The problem is that Lee Jihwa couldn’t prove his innocence. And deep down, the childhood friend knew this. How could he prove that he was not involved in the scheme, when Min visited him (chapter 100) on different occasions, and both went to the scholar’s home together? Yes, this time Min’s threat had become a reality. (chapter 76) He could no longer back out. He couldn’t put the whole blame on the Joker, because this means that he would have to admit his own complicity. Yes, Lee Jihwa was trapped. He could sense that he had been framed by Black Heart, but the former couldn’t claim his innocence because of his knowledge! That’s how I realize why the young man was punished this way. Remember how he had blamed his childhood friend for his misery, and had used his knowledge as a proof for his reproach! (chapter 57) (chapter 57) Thanks to his knowledge, he was above any reproach, while it was not the same for Yoon Seungho. The latter was indeed ignorant, for he had forgotten many things. Consequently, the gods chose to punish Lee Jihwa for his arrogance and passivity. Now, he knows, but this doesn’t help him at all. Hence he decided to forget! This means that he behaved like Yoon Seungho, who repressed everything. The only difference is that contrary to the childhood friend, the main lead had been a real victim the entire time. Thus the second lead imagines that once he forgets and runs away, he will be able to escape punishment. However, he is wrong, for by choosing oblivion and desertion, he has to give up on his name Lee and identity. He can still be addressed as Jihwa, like you could see above. Yet, we have to question this. Is Lee Jihwa truly innocent like he claims it?

According to our modern legal system, he would be accused of complicity and of non-assistance to a person in danger, and this in four cases! First, when he arrived in front of Jung In-Hun’s house, he saw the painter wounded. (chapter 99) But what did he do? Nothing. Secondly, he witnessed how the kisaeng was dragged away to get killed, though it was staged. Here again, he did nothing. (chapter 99) I would even say that he even faked ignorance, because he was lying. The drop of sweat is the clue for this interpretation, besides Min contradicted his testimony in the shaman’s house later. (chapter 100) He had contacted the antagonist on many occasions, so he had heard from Black Heart before. It was never out of the blue. He knew about the existence of the plot and its goal: Taste the painter and kill him. He had been informed a long time ago. Then in the shaman’s house, he saw the painter dead in his vision, hence he pushed The Joker away and fled. (chapter 100) He turned his back on Baek Na-Kyum. But that means that he abandoned the artist once more time. In three occasions, he was well aware what was happening and he could have intervened. Yet, he let it happen. Besides, he handed over the drugs and dildo to Min. As you can see, he was never an innocent person, but not just a sinner. He was an accomplice. And he knew this, thus he couldn’t go to the bureau of investigation. Min was well aware of this. (chapter 101) Naturally, his crime was nothing compared to Min’s.

On the other hand, since he didn’t participate actively in the plot, he never hurt the painter or Heena himself, Lee Jihwa views himself as innocent. But inaction is still action. Thus I still don’t think that the antagonist recognized his own sins. Why? It’s because he called himself a victim later. (chapter 101) He didn’t see why he should die, when in his eyes, he had done nothing! And the antagonist’s prophecy became a reality. (chapter 50) By fleeing, he didn’t stop his friend from committing a murder. Thus he is responsible for their deaths. And he knew that Min and the other nobles would die. (chapter 101) He chose to save his own skin instead of saving their life, though here he was more fearing the king‘s reaction. During the same night, Lee Jihwa got tested 4 times, and each time, he refused to help. That’s the reason why the gods chose to punish him by making lose his title and name. He will become the culprit of a mass murder, he killed Black Heart and the other two nobles. And this would reflect the truth, for the red-haired master didn’t intervene. He could have acted like Baek Na-Kyum (chapter 53) and even follow his friend. And this distinguishes him from Lee Yohan so much. The latter recognized that each decision he made had consequences. And note that the idiom “choice” was connected to silence and assistance. (chapter 76)

As you already know, for me, Lee Jihwa had already imagined that the artist was dead. Because Yoon Seungho trusted the childhood friend, he came to believe the same. The gods were showing the red-haired master the future: he would become a huge sinner, he would have blood on his own hands, though he never did the deed himself. (chapter 50) It was, as if he had murdered the nobles himself. The gods were teaching him a lesson: Knowledge and passivity are crimes. In other words, Lee Jihwa became a sinner and a criminal because of this night. And this because he refused to face reality.

One might refute this perception, for the young master had been left in the dark concerning Min’s plan. (chapter 83) But was he really ignorant here? I came to a different interpretation recently. How? First, why does the second lead have a drop of sweat in the last picture? This is an indication for a lie. But there exist stronger proofs. Don’t forget the following rules: there’s always a reflection within the same chapter, and each chapter is reflected in the next. In the antagonist’s memory, Lee Jihwa was portrayed as someone who would disobey his father! (chapter 83) He would trespass the house of the Yoons and enter the shed, even the lord’s bedchamber! (chapter 83) As you can see, Lee Jihwa was acting as a rebellious son in the past. He was not respecting social norms and the elders. This signifies that we have the exact opposite in the present. Observe the seasons: summer versus winter. Thus I come to the following deduction. He is following the order from his father, he is not dragged (chapter 83), but he brought Min there. Why would Min say this? (chapter 83) Why would he come to see the mess? His words are indicating that someone must have told him about the scholar’s death. Since we saw this, (chapter 83) we thought that when the plotters came, Min was leading the way. But if we take into consideration chapter 76, we realize that back then the childhood friend brought Min to Nameless’ barn. (chapter 76) Thus it could have been the same! Lee Jihwa had brought Min to the scholar’s house, then Min was the one giving the signal to leave the humble dwell, just like in chapter 76. The red-haired master let Min meet The Joker, before Min was the one asking Lee Jihwa to follow him, when he realized that Nameless refused to help him. (chapter 76) So when we view this, (chapter 83), we should envision that the roles were switched, when they went to Jung In-Hun’s house. Besides, keep in mind that in season 1, Black Heart had been the one giving the information to Lee Jihwa. (chapter 43), so from my point of view, we could have a similar situation, someone had asked him to bring lord Min to that mansion! It can not be Min… From my point of view, Lee Jihwa was acting on his father’s orders. That’s the reason why Lee Jihwa never entered the mansion, and he told Min the story about the incident in the bedchamber. Father Lee had been the one who brought it up first. (chapter 82) Why would Lee Jihwa suddenly mention this story to Black Heart, when he had remained silent the entire time? Even Min wondered about this! (chapter 83) Another clue for this signification is the vocabulary of Black Heart. The latter is speaking like father Lee: lunacy (chapter 82) (chapter 83), Baek Na-Kyum is called as a peasant (chapter 82) (chapter 92). Finally, don’t forget what Min said about Yoon Seungho. (chapter 83) This shows that Black Heart stands for social norms: respecting the elders. But he never realized that in verity he was getting fooled by the Lees. We saw where the main lead was living in the shed, but did Lee Jihwa say this to Min? No, I don’t think, he mentioned it… he was left in the dark about this, just like the readers were not informed, when lord Song was mentioned by Lee Jihwa. (chapter 83) But Min was not naive like Jihwa, he knew that once involved, someone had to pay for the subterfuge and crime.

As you can see, Lee Jihwa was repeating his wrongdoings from the past, he was betraying not only his childhood friend, but also Min and as such lord Song, for he revealed his identity. The only difference is that Min had indeed manipulated and betrayed first. But this doesn’t change the fact that Lee Jihwa stands fake loyalty. It is just the result of his education. He was influenced to follow his father’s instruction. Yes, the story is repeating itself, and father Lee was trying to use someone in order to cover up his son’s crime. One thing is sure: Min was well aware that Jung In-Hun had been killed, but he was informed that the crime scene in the scholar’s room had been staged. In my eyes, Black Heart never realized that he had become the pawn of Kim and the Lees. Father Lee’s goal was to turn Yoon Seungho into a murderer, but he had no idea that Kim had himself planned to have Lee Jihwa killed. Father Lee thought that he could recreate the situation from the past, when the Yoons were framed of treason. Back then, the main lead got blamed, but now everything is different. How so? The noble didn’t act like planned. He never used violence against the kisaengs (chapter 93) (chapter 99), the servant Seokdae or even his son Lee Jihwa. The loss of hair was the proof of his leniency. (chapter 101) Each time he spared them. How can father Lee claim that the main lead is behind the murder in the shaman’s house? Secondly, his own son vanished which will be considered as a sign of culpability. Finally, lord Shin is a survivor and his last image is that he got unconscious, when he spoke to Lee Jihwa. This means, Lee Jihwa will become a criminal! Because of this situation, I am hoping that the red-haired master will reflect on his own actions and decisions. He followed the elders’ advice blindly and paid a huge price for this. He would never get loved by the main lead. He came to lose everything: his home, family and title. He is now a commoner. From my point of view, father Lee will be forced to cut ties with his son in order to save his own skin, but it is also possible that he even loses the mansion. (chapter 82)

To conclude, Lee Yohan and Lee Jihwa are both sinners, yet the red-haired master is an accomplice of a murder, for he never intervened himself. While the thug still has a “clean record”, it is not the same for the second lead. Moreover, the main lead from Payback has a better understanding of sin and crime, but this is also normal, for he is growing up in a different environment. In Joseon, the sons had definitely less choices. Due to the big influence of Taoism and Confucianism, the juniors were asked to follow the orders from the elders blindly. Black Heart thought that he was really smart and cunning, while he was not. In truth, he was the perfect reflection of Joseon nobility and society: following social norms blindly and never questioning the elders. Thus he copied their behavior. He obviously listened too much to Kim and other adults, therefore it is not surprising that at the end, he paid for his wrongdoings with his life. All the schemers in this party were too arrogant and miscalculated.

As you can imagine, I prefer Lee Yohan known under the name of Lee Baekwon, for he never denied his responsibility. (chapter 27) On the other hand, contrary to Lee Jihwa, he grew up in a poor environment, thus he had to work in order to live. He could never live carefree like the spoiled only son of the Lees. Finally, I would like my readers to question themselves this: Will Lee Jihwa come to admit his responsibility in the death of the nobles and in Yoon Seungho’s suffering? I have to admit that I am hoping for his return, for the two friends need to have a proper talk, and according to me, Lee Jihwa apologized or at least expressed regret in front of his friend, thus he got spared. Yet, I would like very much to see such an apology to the main lead. But before his departure, he still viewed himself as a poor victim who had been wrongly framed exposing that he had not grasped the true nature of his wrongdoings. (chapter 101) So working for a living will teach him how to become responsible and strong!

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: Baek Na-Kyum’s origins

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.

Next to Yoon Seungho’s suffering, Baek Na-Kyum’s lineage represents the second biggest mystery. Thus many readers have already developed their own theory about the painter’s clan. However, the problem is that the author focused more on the noble’s traumatic past than on the painter’s genealogy. We could say that she barely left any clue about Baek Na-Kyum’s origins. The only information we have is this panel: (chapter 01) But after studying the manhwa so closely, I discovered the existence of rules in the manhwa which helped me to dig up new information. I am listing the laws of Painter Of The Night again in order to avoid repeating myself. I will refer to them later in my argumentation (rule 1, 2, eg.). That way the readers can better grasp how I came to new revelations and theories.

  1. The story is going in circle, thus Baek Na-Kyum’s path is similar to Yoon Seungho’s, yet it started much later. The reason is simple. The artist only began suffering the moment the noble’s condition improved. Thus it signifies that when the low-born was outcast and rejected (chapter 94), Yoon Seungho experienced the opposite. (chapter 57) He was admired which created a source of jealousy. While the painter discovered sexuality and his homosexuality very early on, Yoon Seungho was pure, but through incidents he was forced to become a sodomite. While Heena and the scholar tried to repress Baek Na-Kyum’s sexuality, the father pushed his son to have sex out of fear and high expectation.
  2. There’s always a reflection within the same chapter so that we can perceive the characters’ emotions and thoughts.
  3. Each episode is reflected in the next or previous season.
  4. The previous episode will always be mirrored in the next so that every chapter is connected to each other with reflections.
  5. Karma is always retaliating and it will be 1000 times worse. In addition, the son always pays for the father’s sins.
  6. The black frame is indicating either a vision or a memory.

1. Baek Na-Kyum as baby

And now, it is time to return our attention to the image from chapter 1. (chapter 1) What caught my attention is the presence of the black frame related to the servant’s narration. This indicates that this panel and the following represent memories, but they can not be the recollection from the servant, as the latter is just repeating what he has been told. I recognized it while reading episode 101.

1. 1. Comparison between episode 1 and 101

Observe that we have the same situation. A servant was informing Lee Jihwa about the last events: (chapter 101) Striking is that the author used the same method to introduce the memories. First, we see the servant talking before viewing the memories. (chapter 101) And now, compare it to chapter 1: (chapter 1) The order is the same, though the episodes are actually contrasting each other. How? Remember that in episode 1, Yoon Seungho followed the servant’s suggestion, whereas Lee Jihwa refused to do so. The latter chose to run away and vanish.

Striking is that the author added this picture (chapter 101). She was implying that this panel symbolized the vision from the witness, the tailor. This explicates why you see the wall on the left side. The tailor was observing Min in the shadow. This is important, for these images are reflecting the truth, revealing that the servant from episode 101 was actually lying. Thus I deduce that the domestic from chapter 1 was also lying, but contrary to the episode 101, he thought, he was telling the truth. We could say that he was acting as the fake “mirror of truth“. How do I come to this deduction? Simply because the servant in chapter 101 was actually deceiving Lee Jihwa and Yoon Seungho. Note that in the beginning of episode 101, Seokdae tried to defend himself by feigning ignorance. (Chapter 100) He denied his responsibility by putting the blame on someone else („I was told“), yet once facing the young master Jihwa, his declaration exposed his lie. (Chapter 101) He knows something!! Consequently, I come to the conclusion that in chapter 1, the domestic had been deceived about the painter’s childhood too, but he had no idea, while Seokdae was only partially involved in the scheme. The latter had been left in the dark that he could risk his life. (chapter 1) So in episode 1, the servant was not aware that he was lying to the protagonist, when it comes to the painter’s past. However, the domestic with the brown hanbok lied in one aspect, the publication of the book. (chapter 1) One might have the impression that I am digressing from the main topic. Yet the manhwalovers should keep in their mind that the servant from episode 1 served one purpose: to show us the memories of an important witness, someone who watched Baek Na-Kyum growing up. Thus we have three different pictures. First, he is a baby, then a young infant (chapter 1) and later almost a grown-up . (chapter 1) This signifies that the witness was close to Baek Na-Kyum which explains why the domestic trusted the source of his information. However, contrary to episode 101, she never divulged the identity of the witness. It is because the person wished to hide in the shadow.

Another similarity is that a third person is mentioned in the statement in order to give a certain credibility to their declaration. The head-kisaeng or the captain of the guards are the witnesses, but their absence in the image indicates that they are actually used as alibis. In addition, the manhwaphiles will recall that the episode 101 begins with the childhood friend’s sentence (the loss of the topknot), while the domestic got spared. On the other hand, we have the opposite situation in episode 1. (chapter 1) It ends with the domestic’s death, while the incident with the topknot is mentioned in the middle. At the end, the painter is dragged to the mansion. As you can see, both chapters reflect each other. That’s how I had this revelation (chapter 01) It made me realize that this image represented the view of a WITNESS! Someone was present, when the baby was brought to that place. This corresponds to the “dragging“ at the end of episode 1 (rule 2) In the beginning of the story, the adoptive parents (Heena and Jung In-Hun) were not aware of the situation, thus I am assuming that this was different in the past. The “biological parents“ or the “father“ knew about his whereabouts. Hence we need to find out the identity of the witness, though I already gave different clues. He was close the painter and watched him growing up.

1. 2. The fateful place

Moreover where did the domestic deliver the infant? Anyone would say that this was just the house of kisaeng. BUT no, as this panel reveals the entrance of the gibang. (chapter 99) The soil and the position of the pillars of the main gate are different. I can now announce the precise location, and this with certainty. Yes, I discovered the place thanks to rule 4!! (chapter 4) This is the door! You can recognize it thanks to the pillar on the side.

Another detail caught my notice: The shadow of the rooftop on the ground. (chapter 4) Here, the shadow was bigger indicating that it was early in the morning. The painter had just woken up. Consequently, I deduce that the baby was brought to the mansion during the day. This signifies that Baek Na-Kyum was never abandoned! He was entrusted to the owner of that mansion! (chapter 1) You can recognize the gate in the background. This is the domain, which you see when the lord is arguing with the painter in the courtyard. (chapter 4) Pay attention to the background in this picture. And now, you are probably thinking that the owners of that mansion are the Yoons, as we observed the main lead living there. Nevertheless, I had already pointed out that this was not Yoon Seungho’s mansion. This is the Yoons’ domain: (chapter 51) The courtyard is different. According to me, this is the mansion of the Lees. [For more read the essay 360: Lee Jihwa’s special relationship with Yoon Seungho] And since episode 1 and 101 reflect each other, this can only reinforce my interpretation that the Lees are involved in Baek Na-Kyum’s past, for we have Lee Jihwa present in chapter 101. Baek Na-Kyum was brought to the Lees, thus the scholar Lee keeps calling Baek Na-Kyum a peasant! He knows about his true origins. I had always said that the man was revealing his knowledge with his insult. But does it mean that this was the vision from Lee Jihwa’s father?

1. 3. The identity of the witness

(chapter 1) I don’t think so and this for two reasons! (chapter 1) First, the person was keeping an eye on the painter like mentioned above. Secondly, the artist is seen each time with the white head-band! In the last picture, he is seen drawing very young, whereas in this picture, he is much older. (Chapter 2) This item is connected to the scholar Jung In-Hun. Thus the learned sir reminded the artist to have it on his head in chapter 38 (chapter 38). Besides, father Lee views him as a peasant and not a servant. This observation gets reinforced, when you look at the memories from the painter. In his childhood, he was never wearing a white head-band. (Chapter 94) (chapter 87) (chapter 68) (chapter 70) This means that this panel (chapter 1) represents a distorted memory from Jung In-Hun. 😮 The other evidence for this signification is the absence of the landscape. We don’t see the gibang in the background. Striking is that it coincides with the following statement: “we know not of his origins“. From my point of view, it reflects that the scholar has long repressed the true origins of Baek Na-Kyum. He came to adopt this vision that the main lead was a peasant, a servant. Striking is that the painter was seen for the first time with the head-band in this panel: (chapter 94) Thus I assume that it was done on purpose. They used “his girly features“ as a fake excuse to beat him, but the intention behind this violence was to force him to wear the white head-band! As you can see, everything is pointing out that the learned sir and father Lee were somehow involved in this. But I have three more conclusive evidences for this theory. First, it is related to the reflection in chapter 101. (chapter 101) Look where the red-haired master and the servant are! It is in front of the teacher’s home! In Painter Of The Night, there is never a coincidence. This is a sign that Jung In-Hun is related to Baek Na-Kyum’s past and knows his true origins. However, by treating him like a low-born, he came to view him as one. But this doesn’t end it. Remember the rule 2: the reflection within the same chapter. The painter remembered the words from the gibang: (chapter 1) Jung In-Hun would employ such expressions like fiend and sodomy (chapter 18), he was repeating his admired sir’s idioms. Besides, “hell-raiser” is also an indication that the learned sir was a Christian who converted Heena. Thus I deduce that when father Lee received Baek Na-Kyum as a baby, he entrusted him to the learned sir Jung In-Hun who had no connection and no wealth so far. So when the lord described him as such in episode 7, it was not entirely correct. The reality was that the man had been working for the Lees, but he had been “abandoned”. (chapter 75) The scholar was his helping hand explaining why he would appear in this scene. (chapter 68) This was the night of the fake sexual lesson.

And this new discovery led me to the following conclusion. The moment Baek Na-Kyum was forced to wear the white tissue coincides with the loss of Lee Jihwa’s topknot because of rule 5. In my eyes, the painter helped Yoon Seungho to obtain his topknot which occurred after this incident. (chapter 57). However, there was a price to pay for the main lead’s emancipation. Lee Jihwa had to lose his topknot!! (chapter 59) Without a topknot, the red-haired master no longer looked like a real noble. He had lost his position. Hence I believe that the painter was forced to wear the headband. As you can detect, there was a chain reaction linked to the social status: lord or not, low-born or not.

1. Baek Na-Kyum and the gibang

However (chapter 1), since Baek Na-Kyum was so young, he needed a mother to feed him. Thus he was brought to the gibang. And that’s how he ended up in the kisaeng house. This means that Baek Na-Kyum is actually a noble! I would even add that he belongs to the royal family. And this would explain why the painter was forced to wear a headband, the moment Lee Jihwa lost his topknot. We also have the explication why the painter was living in the annex. (chapter 87) He was definitely living in comfort.

Nonetheless, where are the real proofs? First his name! Why was he called Baek Na-Kyum, if he has been abandoned? He should have only a name Na-Kyum. Secondly, why did the main lead let cut his hair? It was to indoctrinate him, to make him realize that he had been abandoned by his parents!! They deceived him with the long hair. It was implied that with short hair, he would be recognized as a boy. (chapter 94) However, the purpose was to let him experience rejection and isolation. It appears to me that his resent for nobles was part of the brainwashing as well! That way, he would never think that he was coming from a noble family. (chapter 94) This means that such a scene was created in order to ruin the main lead’s self-esteem, and naturally Heena who witnessed it was also influenced. Since she was a minor herself, she couldn’t detect the schemes behind such scenes. Don’t you find it weird that the young child was brought to that room? Under this new approach, the learned sir’s neglect concerning the painter’s education appears in a different light. (chapter 6) The painter was never destined to become a farmer. The neglect was done intentionally. And when you recall his words in the library, you can only view his words as pure lies again: (chapter 40) He was never born to be a prostitute, but he was sent there on purpose. Under this new perspective, it becomes more comprehensible why Heena sent Baek Na-Kyum to the learned sir. He was the one who had brought the artist to the gibang, and now he was getting older. One might refute this point, for she declared this: (chapter 68) Nonetheless, the beholder can detect the presence of a drop of sweat on Heena’s cheek. So she was deceiving the artist here. Why? Yes, in her mind, the painter was Jung In-Hun’s son and as such he should become responsible for the learned sir. But she had to lie in order to persuade him to leave the mansion. There’s no ambiguity that the head-kisaeng had no idea about the deal between the Lees and Jung In-Hun.

2. The noble Na-Kyum

But wait… I have more evidences for this theory. The poem from the scholar! Chapter 4 is a reflection of episode 1 (rule 4). (chapter 4) This was inspired by the poetry from Wang Bang-Yeon! (chapter 4) In this poem, the famous author was referring to the death of the young king Danjong who had been killed by his uncle Sejo. Danjong was just a teenager, when he died! As you can see, the text is actually an allusion to royalty and exile. Under this new light, it dawned on me that the scholar Lee had been entrusted to take care of Baek Na-Kyum, but the latter chose to delegate this to the learned sir. There was a reason behind this. For me, he was eyeing at the mansion himself! One might refute this point, for the elder Lee said this: (chapter 82) But note that the man never said that this was his house, just the household of the Lee. Since the artist is related to the king, this signifies that he is related to the elder Lee too, as the family ruling over Joseon belongs to the Lee clan. Hence I am suspecting that Baek Na-Kyum could be the true owner of this mansion. (chapter 1)

“The very night of Danjong’s murder, Sejo’s sleep was haunted by the appearance of Danjong’s mother who denounced him for his evil and left him with this malediction: “You have stolen the throne and killed my son. Yours too shall die.”
When Sejo awoke, he discovered the curse had been fulfilled ― Deokjong (the crown prince and his eldest son) was dead at the age of 20. In fury, Sejo had Danjong’s mother’s tomb dug up and her bones and remains scattered into a river.” Quoted from https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/opinion/2019/11/721_278751.html

If you read the analysis “The Dark Knight”, you are already aware of the importance of a curse in Gothic literature. We know that the lord is right now stigmatized as a bird of misfortune, thus I deduce that when the artist was a baby, he could have been labelled as such too. I am suspecting that he was condemned, for his mother had died by giving birth. (chapter 1) Note that the baby had no hair, so he was only a few weeks old. From my point of view, Baek Na-Kyum could have been sent away for that reason. Either he was perceived as a bird of misfortune (rule 1) or the father wished to protect his son from harm, for he was in a vulnerable position. His mother had died. Within the family, he would be protected. As you can imagine, I am sensing another manipulation and scheme, where the king chose to listen to people. One thing is sure: the artist is no peasant, but a nobleman, I would even say, he belongs to the royal family.

And Yoon Seungho has already detected the painter’s true origins. Thus he keeps removing the headband. (chapter 53) How does he know it? In my opinion, it is because Baek Na-Kyum resembles to the king. The only difference is that he has no beard. This would explain why Yoon Seungho said this: (chapter 55) Why would he get upset? Why would the painter’s face evoke such emotions? He is reminded of his abuser. This is no coincidence that the main lead had such a flashbulb right after, where you could see Lee Jihwa and his father. (chapter 55) They are all related. And now, you comprehend why the author wouldn’t reveal the face of the mysterious lord Song in chapter 83 (chapter 83) We could have seen the resemblance, as in this picture he was much younger. As the manhwalovers can sense, I detected a strong connection between the Lees and Baek Na-Kyum. Observe that the moment Lee Jihwa lost his topknot (the symbol for nobility and adulthood), the painter received a purple/burgundy hanbok!! (chapter 102) The colors are already insinuating that the artist belongs to the royalty.

What the painter considered as a curse (his girly feature) is actually a blessing. Yes, his face is the evidence of his lineage! And now, you comprehend why he was beaten by these people (chapter 94), why he was forced to have short hair and wear a white head-band! (chapter 71) If the pedophile came to the gibang and crossed the main lead’s path, he couldn’t recognize his relative (son or nephew) due to the hair and the clothes. Besides, I am certain that my avid readers can recall my other theory: the painter was stolen as a child. This new interpretation would corroborate this theory. The painter has been robbed of his true identity, he had been kidnapped, when he was brought to the kisaeng house!! Besides, if he is the true owner of the mansion, then this signifies that Father Lee succeeded in his coup d’Etat (rule 1, rule 3). In season 3, we have an attempted “coup d’Etat” with Yoon Chang-Hyeon eyeing at the seat. (chapter 86) Moreover, I would like to point out that we have the topic: siblings’ jealousy. This is definitely possible that father Lee is related to the artist, an uncle for example. Finally, if the painter is the king’s son, this is no coincidence that Baek Na-Kyum suffered so much. He was paying for his father’s sins (rule 5). At the same time, if Baek Na-Kyum has to face the infamous lord Song, as his son/nephew, he is put in a position where he can criticize his father/uncle. How could he abandon him and treat Yoon Seungho like that?

3. Baek Na-Kyum’s murder

I had already detected that the painter was supposed to die in chapter 1. But with this new discovery, I have another explanation for his assassination. Baek Na-Kyum was not only a witness of the pedophile’s crime, but also involved in Lee Jihwa’s humiliation. Furthermore, he was on the verge of becoming an adult. Thus he could claim his inheritance. In my eyes, his existence represented a source of threat for father Lee. The latter had completely forgotten the boy (like the saying: out of sight, out of mind), until the incident with the topknot occurred. Since the learned sir and father Lee had neglected him on purpose, they had another reason to get rid of him. Since Yoon Chang-Hyeon viewed his son as a small adult who should dedicate his time to study in order to contribute to the Yoons’ reputation, it is possible that the painter’s father could have made the opposite decision. He should grew up in a more carefree environment, or maybe he could avoid being affected by a curse. Naturally, the scholar Lee has every reason to remove the painter from Yoon Seungho’s side. (chapter 82) All his past crimes could come to the surface! He had not taken care of the painter, and he had been neglected on purpose. He had committed a crime (disobedience to the king), thus he was a traitor. On the other hand, they could use the last publication as a justification for his death! He had threatened the ruler, he was blackmailing him with his secret. There’s no ambiguity that lord Song had no idea about the true identity of the artist.

And now, imagine this. What if Yoon Seungho had killed the painter? Jung In-Hun and father Lee could frame the main lead for the murder and accuse him of killing the king’s relative. The poem would serve as an evidence for the painter’s identification. The protagonist had committed treason… That way, the patriarch Lee could kill two birds with one stone. Yoon Seungho would be forced to leave his propriety (in chapter 1, he was living next to Yoon Seungho), and even lose the family’s mansion. He would destroy the Yoons totally. There exists this possibility that father Lee had already announced to the lord Song that his son/nephew had been kidnapped and died. (chapter 37) So far, we still have no idea about the cause for the treason: Coup d’Etat or attempt of assassination on the king or spying or murder of a royal member (here Baek Na-Kyum)? There’s no ambiguity that the painting in Yoon Chang-Hyeon’s bedchamber was used as an evidence that the elder master Yoon was eyeing at the throne (chapter 83) imagining that Yoon Seungho through his “marriage” would become the crown prince. Since the author mentioned “torture”, I have the impression that the main lead was brought to the bureau of investigation and got tormented there. He was naturally framed, he had been acting as a spy. He was hoping to become the king’s successor as his “bride”. So once the artist had been executed, the scholar Jung could claim that he had been raising the painter the whole time and receive a huge compensation for his benevolence! Then it occurred to me that the learned sir could have approached the palace for that exact reason: Baek Na-Kyum’s true origins. He had been taken care of the painter, but on the day he went to the court, Baek Na-Kyum published the book where the king’s crimes were painted and as such ruined his plan!!

Anyway, there’s one thing that I am certain. The accusation from the past was revealing father Lee’s true desires. He was power-hungry and greedy, hence he projected his own thoughts and emotions onto the patriarch Yoon. But by running away, Lee Jihwa ruined everything! The scholar Lee can no longer aim at the throne.

And if the king were to face Baek Na-Kyum, he would recognize his relative due to his face, especially he would share some similarities with the mother. Since the painter’s face was wounded at the end of season 3(chapter 102), I am assuming that his visage won’t be bruised again, so that his foot could get hurt, for the lord and the butler had a broken foot in chapter 77. (rule 3) (chapter 77) And that’s how the ruler could discover the truth!! Therefore the culprits would be detected easily: father Lee and naturally Kim, as both knew the real identity of Baek Na-Kyum, but chose to remain silent. Yes, knowledge will become Kim’s downfall in the end. Why do I think so? For me, the feet in this panel are Kim’s (chapter 1), but like mentioned in a different analysis, No-Name got framed for the painter’s disappearance. How did I come to this assumption? It is because the author is often portraying the butler by his feet! (chapter 66: According to me, this is Kim and not No-Name) (chapter 77) Don’t forget rule 1 and 3. Nevertheless, the main point for this interpretation is the way the painter ran: (chapter 4) He made the same sounds than the butler: (chapter 17) (chapter 85) Here he had faked running. Since he had been introduced with his feet in chapter 1, she needed to create reflections later. Finally, I would like to point out this: (chapter 7) Their meeting here is an indication that their past must have crossed before because of rule 1!! Since the painter was so devoted to the learned sir, the valet could only jump to the conclusion that the man had truly taken care of Baek Na-Kyum properly.

4. Conclusions

As a conclusion, the first panel is containing many clues about Baek Na-Kyum’s lineage! Only through long reflection, I could reconstruct his past partially. I am well aware that my perception of father Lee and Jung In-Hun contains more speculations concerning their motivations, since I am still lacking some information. Yet, I am convinced that Baek Na-Kyum is related to the Lees and the king. And the painter ended up in the gibang, because the scholar needed a woman to feed the boy. It was to make sure that the boy was not connected to the household Lee. This would have raised questions, if suddenly a baby had appeared in the mansion. Thus Baek Na-Kyum was entrusted to the noonas through the scholar. There’s no doubt that the painter’s face will play a huge role, for during that time, the scientists didn’t know the existence of DNA! It was not possible to take a paternity test. Besides, the author is always avoiding long narration. She uses “chance” and “coincidence” to deliver much information in a short time! Within 26-28 episodes, she has to give all the answers to the readers, while the story is still going on! And that’s how I realized the importance of the door: (chapter 04) The protagonists’ fate got switched the moment they passed a door. Thus the painter didn’t suffer here contrary to the young master (chapter 68). He might have been sad, yet he was not exposed to violence and humiliation. But here, it was different: (chapter 94) He had entered the room. In my eyes, this door had a special meaning (chapter 4) It is where the main characters’ destiny was affected, hence the lord expressed this: (chapter 4) He recognized that the artist was not a servant or slave, but a free man. His words became a reality. He is not embracing a peasant, but a noble, even a member from the royal family. He was speaking the truth, while all the readers were thinking that Yoon Seungho was a hypocrite. We could say that the main lead was under the influence of the spirits/unconscious, thus he caught the artist right on time. At the same time, “peasant” is again a reference to father Lee which reinforces my theory that the scholar Lee is deeply involved in the couple’s suffering.

As for the scholar, since he never mentioned his involvement in the painter’s life (chapter 1), officially Heena raised him, the readers can grasp why Baek Na-Kyum never considered the learned sir as his “father”. He had been raised in the gibang by the noonas, but not by the learned sir. He was just a companion and a friend, whom he felt indebted and attracted to due to his “gentleness and fake selflessness”. This is not surprising that the servant in episode 1 got executed in the end. The servant had lied, because he had repeated the scholar’s words. And the latter had lied about the painter (chapter 1) He had actually painted animals and nature in his childhood, thus the noonas kept his drawings. (chapter 94) The man had trusted the learned sir’s testimony without verifying the facts. He had not detected the presence of a blackmail! (chapter 1) This truly shows that ignorance is indeed no blessing, and people shouldn’t trust others according to their appearances or social status. At the same time, the servant had forgotten that Yoon Seungho was a noble, though he was dressed like a peasant in the bedchamber. (chapter 1) He was not even wearing a hanbok here, and his head-band was different too. As you can see, both protagonists shared the same experience. They were not treated according to their social status. To sum up, the valet Kim brought Baek Na-Kyum to the Lees, who decided to get rid of the painter by entrusting him to the scholar Jung. And Heena became his accomplice, the moment she became his surrogate mother. Let’s not forget that in season 1 and 2, the learned sir was the only one seen with children: girls. (chapter 6) (chapter 29) and Baek Na-Kyum (chapter 68) This shows that the painter embodies the link between the head-kisaeng and the learned sir. Jung In-Hun had entrusted her the baby.

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.