The Ghost’s Nocturne: The mysterious Jae Shin 🐶👻

Please support the authors by reading the manhwas on the official websites. This is where you can read the manhwa. https://www.lezhinus.com/en/comic/ghost_nocturne  But be aware that this manhwa is a mature Yaoi, which means, it is about homosexuality with explicit scenes. Here is the link, if you are interested in other manhwas: https://bebebisous33analyses.com/2021/06/06/table-of-contents-of-analyzed-mentioned-manhwas/ 

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As you can imagine, in this essay, I will focus on the main lead, Jae Shin. On the other hand, people might be wondering why I described the dashing and confident seme as mysterious. His identity seems to be clear. He is introduced as Yeomra’s son (chapter 8).

1. Jae Shin and his father Yeoram

Yeomra is the god of the underworld.

Yeomra (also known as Yeomra-Daewang) was the Korean god of the dead. He was the fifth of the ten Kings of the Underworld (called Shi-wang) and was believed to be the supreme ruler of the Underworld. Yeomra’s role was to judge the sins of the dead and decide where they would spend the afterlife. Quoted from https://study.com/learn/lesson/korean-mythology-gods-folklore-what-is-korean-mythology.html

This means that his father acts as the judge of human souls. He is presented as a fair and impartial judge. Yet, in the manhwa, the king gives a different impression: (Chapter 1). He appears as more brutal and partial, for his kingdom is called the hell of tongue ripping. It was, as if he was not allowing protest or disobedience, and there would only exist one sentence: tongue ripping. Secondly, he banished his own son to the mortal world, because the protagonist had played a trick on the book of names. (chapter 1) Jae Shin had acted like a god, for he had interfered in humans’ life by switching the name of the deceased for the time of death. As you can see, the main lead’s father appeared as a cold and strict father who would show no mercy towards his own child. He would even side with the mortals, for he put the whole blame on the main lead. The accused defended his position by saying that Park Chi-Kyung (chapter 1), had been asking this favor from him while tricking him. However, Yeomra wouldn’t listen to his defense so that at the end, Jae Shin was turned into a puppy. (chapter 1) However, according to the quote, the king of the underworld’s function is to judge mortals and to send them to hell if necessary. So we could say that he usurped his authority, as he sentenced an immortal.

2. Who is Jae Shin exactly?

What caught my attention is that till chapter 16, people keep asking about Jae Shin’s identity. Who is he (chapter 8) or (chapter 14) what is he? A dream, a ghost, a human? And this leads me to the following observation: Jae Shin might be Yeomra’s son, but he has three appearances: the puppy, the nobleman and the ghost. This divulges that he has more than just one identity. In this picture, the author outlined the two sides from the main lead. (chapter 7) This is no coincidence. If you pay attention how the main figure was called by Yeom, HALF-BREED (chapter 8), you will realize that his insult is alluding to a mixture of two parts. People in the afterlife keeps calling him half-breed. (chapter 7) (chapter 15) Even Yeom who didn’t recognize him immediately, as she had never met him before, (chapter 8) still knew about his rumor. This indicates that Jae-Shin is different. One might say that it is related to his dependence on yin energy (“preying on humans to survive”). Hence he portrayed himself as defective. (chapter 15) This shows that he wished to be different, to resemble his hyungs and other “ghosts”. However, in my eyes, this is not the true origin for his reputation as half-breed. If the beholders look carefully at this image, (chapter 15) they will detect two elements that outline this divergence. First, he is always seen wearing a red hanbok contrary to his brothers and messengers and warden from the afterlife. (chapter 1) (chapter 15) So why is he the only one wearing such a bright red hanbok? (chapter 1) The color is exposing his special status. Secondly, in this image, we could see the young version of Jae-Shin (chapter 15), while the two hyungs have the same appearance. They are both two adults, whereas the main character is a child. The brothers even revealed that they saw him growing up. (chapter 15) In other words, he had the same evolution than a human! The only difference is that he doesn’t age and die like humans. He is already a few centuries old. (chapter 3) Thus I came to the conclusion that Jae Shin is actually the result of an union between Yeomra and a human. Hence he resembles a lot to a vampire with his teeth and long nails, as the vampire is considered as a living corpse. Moreover, the Korean version of a vampire, the gangsi is supposed to absorb Qi, life force. Nevertheless, Jae Shin is not a gangsi, for he can move freely and his body contains blood. My point is that Jae Shin became immortal thanks to his father, but since he was born from a human, he was first a baby before becoming an adult. This explains why Jae Shin’s main color is red, the symbol for life, combined with black, a reference to his father, as this color symbolizes the underworld! Under this new approach, it becomes comprehensible why Jae Shin is forced to go to the mortal world to replenish in yin energy, which is not a necessity for his hyungs. The older brothers don’t often visit the mortal world. (chapter 15) As you can sense, for me chapter 15 was very eye-opening! And once you accept this theory, you can comprehend why the father turned him into a puppy. (chapter 1) Since he looked down on humans, he was not allowed to be one. It was to force him to acknowledge his human nature which he has been denying all this time. He felt superior to humans, for the latter are mortal, and as such weak. (chapter 1) In his eyes, they have no real value. Moreover, he resents them for their hypocrisy (chapter 1) and their treacherous nature . (chapter 1) However, he is not different from them, because he knows that one part of him is human. He is not entirely honest to himself. And now, you comprehend why the god Jin-Gwang said that sending him to a cauldron would have never been a punishment. (chapter 3) He prefers the afterlife world to the mortal one. And because he was different from the others, he got spoiled by his father, brothers and other gods. (chapter 3) Since he is the result of an union between a god and a human, he needs human energy (yin). Therefore he bleeds like a human (chapter 15), when he gets stabbed, but because he is an immortal, he can heal. (chapter 16) Striking is that he called himself a ghost, but Lee Nok didn’t accept this, for he is visible to humans. (chapter 16) This is important, because by identifying himself as a ghost, he is actually denying his “human nature”. However, he is not realizing that “ghosts” were all once humans which is not the case to Yeomra, Jin-Gwang, Cho-Gang and probably to his brothers. They are “gods”. In other words, the moment he calls himself a ghost, he indirectly admits his “human origins”.

Hence you comprehend why the father had to sentence him in the end. His son was playing god by switching the names, he had usurped his power. Besides, he was totally prejudiced about humans. He would make no distinction among them. (chapter 1) He was full of prejudices about mortals: deceitful, weak, ruthless and foolish. However, since Yeomra has to sentence each soul, his son’s biased view about the mortals could only represent a huge affront to the god of the afterlife. As you can see, it was to teach him an important lesson about death and life as well. He should learn to treasure humans, and his mother was a mortal, even more so. Naturally, once I had this idea in my mind, I wondered who could be his mother. While researching about Korean gods and goddesses, I discovered Parigeti or called Bari Gongju [which means literally abandoned Princess]

In the archives of Korean shamanism, the tale of Princess Bari is the tale of the Abandoned Princess. She is the seventh and last child of the king, a monarch who has no sons. This shamanic goddess, Princess Bari, was abandoned at birth because she was female. She travels to the underworld to seek the elixir of life, and is reborn into a new world. She has been transformed into a goddess who, like the boatman Charon across the River Styx, carries souls into the netherworld. Quoted from https://www.korea.net/NewsFocus/Culture/view?articleId=140971 If you want a more detailed version of the story, here is the link: https://folkency.nfm.go.kr/en/topic/detail/5353

So she could be his mother, yet since Jae Shin was raised by his father, brothers and “uncles”, I doubt that she was his mother, for Parigeti was turned into a goddess. But one thing is sure. This “goddess” could play a role in this story, for a flower, connected to the river of the afterlife, caught my attention.

3. Jae Shin and the red flower

Jae Shin is symbolized by a plant, the lycoris, known under the name red spider lily or magic lily. The association is already presented in the title, as it is part of the “ghost”. Besides, the manhwalovers can detect its presence in three occasions. Jae Shin is wearing an earring in the form of the lycoris. Then the red spider lily (chapter 9), was present, when he changed his appearance and dressed as a noble. (chapter 9) But what is the meaning of this flower then?

Red Spider Lily (Lycoris radiata) – Red spider lilies are strongly associated with death, last goodbyes, and sad memories. They are thought of as the flowers of the heavens. […] In Buddhism, it is a common practice to mark the arrival of autumn and offer a tribute by placing bouquets of red spider lilies at their ancestors’ graves. The Lotus Sutra describes red spider lilies as flowers that grow in hell. As a result, certain Chinese and Japanese Buddhist traditions believe that these flowers help lead spirits through the afterlife and into reincarnation. [….] More legends (from Japan) say when a person crosses paths with someone whom they will never meet again, that red spider lilies bloom along the path. In addition to their association with death and the afterlife, these legends are also partly responsible for the flower’s association with final goodbyes. Quoted from https://www.petalrepublic.com/red-spider-lily-meaning/

And look what happened after he had used his power to turn into a noble in front of the lycoris (chapter 9). He met the servant, his former lover, in the gibang for the last time. The latter chose to cut ties with him. (chapter 9) This was their final goodbye. It takes courage to love someone so different, to love an immortal. That’s the reason why the father sentenced his son to win a human’s heart. He was teaching him a lesson, he should learn how his father fell in love with a human.

And the more I thought about this theory, Jae Shin’s mother was a human, the more it became understandable why the main lead rejects love and why he became a seme in order to replenishing his yin energy. Because of this “love”, he was born, hence he was different. He was not mortal, not totally immortal. He is the result of a forbidden love, the symbol of lycoris.

This curious growth habit was explained in a Chinese myth. The sun goddess Amaterasu assigned two elves (or fairies) to guard the flowers and leaves independently. Mañju guarded the petals while Saka guarded the leaves, always knowing about the existence of one another, but forbidden to meet. Curiosity drove them to defy Amaterasu and once they finally met they fell in love. Amaterasu punished them with a curse to never meet again and so now Saka’s leaves only come out once Mañju’s petals have died. They live in eternal separation. Another name for the flower is ‘Mañjusaka’ in Chinese and ‘Manju-syage’ in Japanese.” Quoted from https://www.metrofieldguide.com/folklore-nature-the-death-flower/

And if my theory is correct, the red spider lily, as the symbol of the love between Yeomra and Jae Shin’s mother, became the symbol for the son. Then this signifies that Yeomra actually interfered in the human world, and as such violated his own rules. The harmony between the mortal and afterlife world was interrupted. Therefore the readers can grasp why Yeomra spoke about fate. (chapter 3) Yeomra can only judge human souls, he can never control the destiny of gods or humans. This means that Jae Shin’s “journey” is to turn into a human, to discover the existence of his heart. Striking is that when the father was drinking his tea, he was looking at the pink-purple lotus, The purple lotus flower symbolizes spiritual enlightenment as well as faithfulness and innocence. The purple flower indicates harmony and balance between different parts of ourselves. [For more read the essay: The lotus and the snake] But since the pavilion and pond were facing the palace where Jae Shin was staying, the presence of the lotus is announcing the future purification of that place full of evil spirits and ghosts.

4. Jae Shin’s power

Interesting is that when Jae Shin was asking his brothers for their help, he didn’t notice the presence of Lee Nok in the adjutant room. Hence he never detected that his strong aura could destroy a ghost (chapter 14) This shows that his body’s energy works like a huge talisman. But in order to become effective, he needs human energy. Hence I couldn’t help myself making the following connection, when I read Yeom’s comment about Queen Han: (chapter 13) She attributed the queen’s protection to a strong amulet, as she believed that the woman was a human. However, the moment you admit that Jae Shin is the fruit of a love between the god of the underworld and a human, you can imagine that Queen Han could have the same nature. Her aura could be so strong that she can push away powerful ghosts like Yeom. Yeom thought that the young girl was attracting ghosts like Lee Nok (chapter 8), thus the shaman advised to the father: (chapter 8) She encouraged him to have his daughter accumulated good karma. She was indirectly trying to change the girl’s personality and as such destiny. (chapter 8) From my point of view, the young girl was discovering her second nature, she could see and talk to ghosts. Thus she smiled. As you can see, I came to develop the following idea: Queen Han is a half-breed like Jae Shin, but contrary to him, she prefers the human world. Why? Because of her powers, she can control people and gain power. This explicates why she chose to get rid of the shaman whom she viewed as a threat. At the same time, thanks to the intervention of the “spirits”, she discovered how powerful she was. Thus she smiled… (chapter 8) like a flower (chapter 8) These words reminded me of the lycoris, the flower of death and funeral. We have many possibilities for her lineage. Either she is a new version of Gongju Bari, or she could be the product of another god, like for example this one: Seokga.

Seokga is the trickster god in the Korean Pantheon. He is known as a trickster god due to his love for playing tricks and deceiving humans. He is also known for creating the world alongside Mireuk. However, Seokga wanted to be the lone ruler of the human world. And so, he challenged Mireuk to a competition. They remained in a meditative state, and whoever grew the most flowers would win the human race. While Mireuk was asleep, Seokga stole his flowers and won. Then, Mireuk vanished. The unjust methods Seokga used to win over the earth resulted in the karmic manifestation of sin and suffering. The first death occurred and the earth was trapped in a cycle of death, rebirth, and eternal suffering. Quoted from https://koreabyme.com/the-pantheon-korean-gods-and-goddesses/

As you can see, Seokga is connected to death either. Moreover, he embodies sin and deception, finally he was portrayed as lusting after power. So he would fit the profile. But there is another reason why I suspect that Queen Han is also connected to the afterlife. I observed that all the ghosts persecuting Lee Nok are not mentioned in the book of names. One of them is supposed to have died in a fire while dressed as a bride (chapter 13), yet the brother had not heard about such a death. (chapter 15) From my point of view, someone is playing tricks with fate and death. But this was not discovered so far. And with Jae Shin’s intervention, the tricks used in the past can no longer be effective. On the other hand, in order to become more powerful and defeat the Queen, Jae Shin has to discover the existence of his heart. Don’t forget that the queen has a child (chapter 8) who she would like to become the Crown prince. He is the source of her strength and motivation. From my perspective, Jae Shin has to learn what love is. (chapter 9) So far, he views it as something irrelevant, only for fools. He has not recognized its beauty and its power. Thanks to love, a human can accumulate good karma and be reincarnated. This means that “humans” are not truly mortal. (chapter 15) Like I mentioned above, with his banishment, the young protagonist is forced to question the true nature of humans. Are they really weak and foolish, like he thinks? No, Yeomra might be the king of the afterlife, yet his existence is attached to the judgement of human souls. As you can see, Yeomra is in truth serving humans. That’s how valuable mortals are. The gods and humans are depending on each other. Jae Shin is in truth the ignorant one, for he is not understanding how humans think and feel. (chapter 13) Though Yeom might have become an evil spirit, she has not lost her humanity. She has never forgotten her origins and family. (chapter 8) Exactly Jae Shin, she is living between two worlds, her body might have died, but she is by clear conscious. (chapter 13) Her fate indicates that there exist different kind of spirits. And now, you comprehend why I am more than ever convinced that Jae Shin’s identity is hiding a mystery. I sense the presence of a duality. Lee Nok’s role is to push Jae Shin to discover his second nature, his heart. Hence Lee Nok is connected to the opposite colors and values, day, green, yellow and blue, (chapter 9) (chapter 1) while Jae Shin is associated to black, red and night! Yes, we have once again the allusion to yin and yang. Hence Lee Nok’s presence was able to appease Jae Shin’s anger after getting rejected by the servant in the gibang. (chapter 9)

To conclude, for me, Jae Shin is not just an arrogant “ghost prince”, but also a “man” who has been denying his own origins. Hence I do think that the father sentenced his son to the mortal world for his own good. He did it, because he loved him. Moreover, I view The Ghost’s Nocturne as a song about the “impossible” love between humans and immortals. Hence this can only happen during the night, when people are asleep.

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Jinx: My hero 🤠 (only 10 pictures) -second version

Please support the authors by reading the manhwas on the official websites. This is where you can read the manhwa.   But be aware that this manhwa is a mature Yaoi, which means, it is about homosexuality with explicit scenes. Here are the links, if you are interested in the first work from Mingwa, BJ Alex, and other manhwas: https://bebebisous33analyses.com/2021/06/21/who-are-you-the-significance-of-masks-in-manhwas/ https://bebebisous33analyses.com/2021/06/06/table-of-contents-of-analyzed-mentioned-manhwas/ Here is the link to the second analysis of Jinx. The text was written before the release of new chaptershttps://bebebisous33analyses.com/2022/11/29/jinx-precious-punk-%f0%9f%98%89-and-wimp-%f0%9f%98%8d/

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After reading this title, anyone will think that my essay will focus essentially on Kim Dan.

1. Kim Dan a hero?

In my previous analysis „Precious punk and wimp“, I had explained that the physical therapist was far from being a wimp, for he would be able to take Joo Jaekyung‘s anaconda. 😉And this perception was confirmed, when the manhwalovers were able to see the boxer‘s phallus in his aroused state. (chapter 3) It was really huge to the point that Kim Dan got scared and was on the verge to break the deal. (chapter 3) However, real heroism occurs, when someone is risking his life for the sake of another person. I am now quoting the criteria for being considered as a true hero:

Heroism is characterized by:

Acting voluntarily for the service of others who are in need, whether it is for an individual, a group, or a community

Performing actions without any expectation of reward or external gain

Recognition and acceptance of the potential risk or sacrifice made by taking heroic actions  https://www.verywellmind.com/characteristics-of-heroism-2795943

So this was not entirely the case, when he accepted the first offer. Back then, it was more about his debts and his fear of the loan sharks. Yet, it is a different story, when he proposes the deal to Joo Jaekyung later: 14.000 dollars a month in exchange for his services. (chapter 6) Here, he does it to save his halmoni (grand-mother) (chapter 6), as her illness is requiring an expensive treatment. In order to assist her, he is willing to do something he loathes, for he had perceived his first sex session with the fighter as hell. (Chapter 5) It took him a whole week to recover from this encounter. (Chapter 5) He was physically and mentally wounded. His behavior fits all the criteria in chapter 6. He is totally selfless and is risking his life emotionally, physically and mentally. He definitely sees the champion as a „criminal“, since he keeps comparing him to the director from the hospital. (chapter 6) He has indeed become a true hero, hence he received the admiration and love from all the readers.

2. Joo Jaekyung’s “heroism”

On the other hand, by listing the characteristics of a true hero, people get aware that Joo Jaekyung is a fake hero, though he is celebrated as one in the story! (Chapter 5) At no moment, in the ring, he risked his life, for this fight is controlled by a ref and both boxers are required to follow certain rules. But the seme has not realized this yet. Like I had pointed out before, he takes everything too seriously. He views his games as a matter of life or death. One might think that he has never had a strong opponent so far, but we have two indications that his career wasn’t always smooth. . (chapter 1) The legend is implying that this was not like that in the past (“the streak continues”). Secondly, he has cauliflower ears (chapter 1), a typical consequence for fighting. [Here I would like to thank @delune_art for her observation]

Couture has cauliflower ear, a relatively common affliction among fighters, wrestlers and other contact-sport athletes. Years of being pulled, punched and torn can create blood clots in the ear and damage the tissue. Over time, blood and pus become trapped in the gnarled cartilage of a damaged ear, often causing the lobes to morph into hardened balloons. Like pimples that have crusted into permanent scars, Couture’s ears are blue-and-red deformities that hover on the sides of his head — creviced, bulging and so noticeable that they’ve helped inspire a movement. Whether they wanted to or not, Couture and other elite fighters have turned cauliflower ear into a coveted badge of honor in wrestling, boxing and MMA. What was once an unsightly injury has now become a living trophy that commands respect. Quoted from https://www.espn.com/mma/story/_/id/9630617/ufc-fighter-randy-couture-famous-cauliflower-ears-espn-magazine

This means that he must have also received punches or other injuries on the ears in the past. As you can see, though the readers never saw any defeat so far, the reality is that he had to work hard for his success. This explicates why he is taking things very seriously. On the other hand, the presence of his cauliflowers could indicate as well that the sportsman is proud of his job and success, as they are not removed. That’s how I realized why the champion became superstitious. He explained his “defeats” from the past with jinx. As you can see, I am already sensing that something must have happened to him in the past which pushed him to have sex before a match. What caught my attention is that he underlined that it didn’t matter who his partner was: “No matter what happens, I need to have sex the night before a match, it doesn’t matter who my partner is…” (chapter 2) Therefore I come to the conclusion that it is definitely related to a betrayal from a loved one, someone close to him. The other evidence for this theory is that all the bottoms he selected resemble each other, though he claims the opposite: (chapter 5) The lover and Kim Dan have the same hair dress and the same height, they are both muscular, yet slender. (chapter 2) In other words, Joo Jaekyung favors a certain type, but he is not aware of it. Hence he claims that all his sex partners were different. And now, you have the explanation why he views people he has sex with as tools and even whores. He used money as a protection, a wall to keep his distance from people. This is not surprising why he was happy, when Kim Dan asked for financial support. That way, there was no string attached.: “So it was just the money, after all”. (chapter 6) But naturally, he is deluding himself, because observe that he is now changing his sexual habits! (chapter 6) It is no longer linked to his jinx, because he is asking Kim Dan to have sex no matter the time or place. This little detail makes a huge difference, the start of his new obsession.

On the other hand, we shouldn‘t overlook that his source of strength is founded on his belief that no sex before a match means no victory. (Chapter 2) What if he can’t have sex like he wished? What if his sex partner is not satisfying him enough? What if Kim Dan no longer needs his money, as the expensive treatment for his grandma is no longer necessary? These questions outline the precarity of his “faith”, everything is a matter of luck. And with the new condition, Joo Jaekyung is becoming even more dependent on the physical therapist. So imagine that he cuts ties with the fighter, for he no longer needs to play the hero for his halmoni. The fighter’s world would break down. The way the sportsman thinks represents a huge weakness, which the “lover” could already perceive with the “jinx”. His superstition actually exposes his own insecurities. He has not recognized yet that this bad luck is undermining his confidence in the long run. Hence I come to the conclusion that he is still driven by his past struggling and anxieties.

On the other hand, this scene exposes that Joo Jaekyung is definitely strong and shouldn‘t be underestimated, like the lover did: (chapter 2) The latter imagined that due to their past relationship, he was protected. Thus he thought, he could mock the main lead. What caught my attention is that he even imagined that he knew Joo Jaekyung very well. Hence he voiced his discontent first, then tried to woo him with his sex appeal: “You know I’ve got the technique, baby. I’ll suck you off so good, you won’t know what hit you… So just don’t say it’s over, hmm? Pretty please, sugar?”(Chapter 2) But the truth is quite the opposite, for he never anticipated that he would become the target of the man‘s violence. In my eyes, since he knew about the boxer‘s superstition, he came to perceive the fighter as weak. He even came to believe that he had the upper hand in the relationship. But he was totally wrong, for the boxer was not satisfied with him, but he had never let it transpire. We shouldn’t overlook the fact that the champion had sex with the former physical therapist before (chapter 1) and this quite recently. Yet, the athlete had maintained his relationship with the uke for quite some time (chapter 2) The lover’s words in this panel expose his arrogance and error of judgement. To conclude, he overestimated his position in their relationship due to Joo Jaekyung‘s „jinx“. As you can imagine, Joo Jaekyung is not a real hero, yet he is more than just a violent and selfish boxer either. He also had to struggle to achieve his “dream”. Naturally, Kim Dan can not see it from this perspective, which is comprehensible, for he is the one suffering the most from it right now.

Nevertheless, the reason why I entitled this analysis “my hero” is that there exists another “hero” in this story which I think many readers are neglecting.

3. Hyung

Striking is that the athlete called his manager “hyung” (chapter 5) [which means like older brother in Korean]. This name is revealing that the boxer is respecting the manager a lot. We could say that he considers him as a part of his family. At no moment, the champion uses his force against him. Compare his attitude towards the physical therapist (chapter 1) before and after the arrival of the manager. The tone changed immediately. (chapter 1) He simply listened to his huyng. This means that they have a long history together, Joo Jaekyung trusts him. We could say that the athlete views him as his “hero”, hence he is so courteous and calm in front of him. The latter also admires his athlete so much that he joined him on the ring to celebrate his victory (chapter 5) I doubt that his joy and smile were fake. Imagine that right after the victory, the hyung watched the match again. He was so impressed that he wondered how Joo Jaekyung could improve so much. (chapter 5) And this image exposes that the sportsman has kept something important from his hyung, his so-called “jinx”. The manager is left in the dark!! This indicates that his sex sessions were always done behind his back. The other evidence for this interpretation is the man’s request to his manager: “That new physical therapist I wanna hire him as my private physio” (chapter 5) He is not honest here. Hence I am now wondering if the pressure to remain victorious all this time is not linked to the manager. The champion doesn’t want to disappoint him. Furthermore, I am wondering if the start of the athlete’s “jinx” was not caused by words from the caring and honest manager. Remember what he said to the protagonist: “Good luck” (chapter 1) His expression exposes that the hyung believes in jinx and luck. And now, you comprehend why the main lead would act behind his “hyung’s back”. Thus I am imagining that the main lead’s mind, could have thought that the hyung would reject him, if he were to discover the existence of his “jinx”. Another possibility is that he fears the manager’s rejection because of his sexual orientation. Being a homosexual in such a world would cause a huge scandal. Nonetheless, I believe that the hyung is not the only cause for the high expectations Joo Jaekyung has for himself. Like in real life, many factors and people contributed for his overactive superego.

Since the manager is always smiling, gentle and shows a certain understanding, I am assuming that he will play a huge role in the couple’s relationship. In the beginning of the story, he acted as a mediator between the two protagonists. (chapter 1) Then when his athlete wondered why he had not heard from Kim Dan, the manager not only took Kim Dan’s side, but also criticized his athlete. First, when he said that the main lead had asked him like a million times, (chapter 5), he was implying that he had bothered him a lot. Then (chapter 5) the idiom “something” is a reference to the sportsman’s behavior. He reproached him in a calm manner that he would nag constantly. Yet, at no moment, the boxer felt insulted. That’s why I couldn’t help myself judging him as a “hero”. He could tame his sportsman and turn him into an obedient “puppy”. The latter is always well-mannered in front of him and never showing his frustration.

This scene made me particularly laugh. He got caught by surprise by this point. He never imagined that Kim Dan would reject or even block him, as he is considered as a “champion”, a hero!! But the moment he turned his back from the manager, he couldn’t control his frustration and anger. Thus he smashed the punching bag with such a force. (chapter 5) On the other hand, he couldn’t control his gaze, when he heard that he could get blocked. (chapter 5) This whole scene displayed the respect Joo Jaekyung had for the manager and his friend. At the door, he never exploded. But why is it so? Like mentioned above, he views the man as his family. And we have another proof for this: “block us” was turned into “block me”. As you can see, the personal pronoun “us” indicates that Joo Jaekyung considers the man with the red shirt as an unit, a home.

This explicates why Joo Jaekyung is relying a lot on his “hyung”. Therefore it is not surprising that when he saw that Kim Dan was not reacting to his calls, he went straight to the man in the red shirt. (chapter 5) Hence I judge the main character’s deceptions to the hyung as “white lies”. There is another proof that Joo Jaekyung is trying not to deceive his “brother” with bad intentions. He told him about the incident with the previous physical therapist. (chapter 1), yet he used an ambiguous expression. For the manager, it sounded like the champion had beaten him, while the sexual insinuation was present. His choice of expressions indicates that he desired to stay as close as possible to the truth. This shows that the main lead has no real intention to manipulate his “hyung”. He is not doing it out of malevolence, rather out of fear in my eyes. This is also perceptible in this scene. (chapter 5) Joo Jaekyung was frank enough to voice his dissatisfaction about the physical therapists. For me, this image exposes that the boxer is not just a violent and selfish man, he is still capable to have a normal relationship. He respects his peer and never vents his rage towards him. Under this new approach, you can grasp why I selected “my hero” as a title. I wished to outline the good influence the manager has on Joo Jaehyunk. The former will definitely take the physical therapist’s side, like we could sense in chapter 1 and 5!! I am looking forward for the interaction between Kim Dan and the manager, because it will definitely affect the relationship between the hyung and the champion!

In the beginning of this paragraph, I had outlined that the hyung could be considered as Joo Jaekyung’s hero. But I had not discovered the reason for his blinded trust in his coach and manager. But today, I had a huge revelation, Look at the hyung’s ears: (chapter 1) He also has cauliflower ears! Hence I can deduce that he was himself an athlete and probably a champion too. That’s how he got the protagonist’s admiration. Under this new light, I can grasp why the manager’s name was not introduced yet. It indicates that his fame vanished and he is no longer recognized as a hero! This indicates that glory is quite temporary.

4. The halmoni the neglected heroine 😍

While many manhwaphiles were focusing on Joo Jaekyung and Kim Dan’s interactions, I couldn’t help myself feeling so much admiration for the strong woman. She raised her grandson on her own which must have been difficult, for she came from a low social class. (chapter 5) This is perceptible due to her clothes and her basket. She was more or less a “peasant”, living in the countryside. And the young child could sense her struggle. She dedicated her life to raise Kim Dan properly so that he could get an education. She was so selfless and caring that she protected her grandchild from the loan sharks’ brutality. (chapter 5) With this scene, the manhwalovers could discover that Kim Dan’s debts existed, even before he became an adult. This means that this was the heritage from his parents. Hence I am suspecting that one of a parent deserted the family in order to escape from the loan sharks and left the debts to the halmoni and Kim Dan. And if you recall the criteria for heroism, you will recognize the halmoni is a true heroine. Hence you comprehend why the young protagonist is willing to do anything for his grandma. He is trying to repay his “debts”, since she had to suffer so much in the past. There is no ambiguity that the young man feels responsible for her. And if you observe the chapters I quoted the most so far, this was episode 5 where the manager and the halmoni were introduced properly for the first time!!

To conclude, the manager and the halmoni have become my “little heroes”. 🤠 Thus I desired to dedicate this essay to them!

If you want to read another essay about Jinx, then you need to leave a comment. If not, I will write about another manhwa next time.

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 / A Sip Of Poison: A Question Of Perspective: The loss of the topknot 💇🏻‍♂️ (second version)

This is where you can read the manhwas. https://www.lezhinus.com/en/comic/sip_poison This manhwa is mature. 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/  I also used briefly Doctor Frost again which I highly recommend to my readers. https://www.webtoons.com/en/mystery/dr-frost/list?title_no=371 If you want to read more essays about other manhwas, here is the link to the table of contents: https://bebebisous33analyses.com/2021/06/06/table-of-contents-of-analyzed-mentioned-manhwas/

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

1. Castration or abandonment?

Anyone reading my previous analyses about Painter Of The Night will certainly recall that I had perceived the loss of the topknot as a castration. Why? In Joseon, the topknot was given to men the moment they became adults and this Coming-Of-Age ceremony took place just before a marriage. [For more read the essay “Coming Of Age”] In other words, no topknot meant no marriage and as such no responsibility and maturity. However, this is important to recall that the loss of the topknot was brought up in a different context. It was mentioned for the first time in the painter’s statement. (Chapter 1) When Baek Na-Kyum remembered his noona’s words about Yoon Seungho, he connected it to the loss of his future lover’s topknot. Here, the gesture had a different meaning. By cutting off his hair, the father was acting, as if he was abandoning his son. According to social norms, the hair was considered as a heritage from the parents. So if Yoon Chang-Hyeon had truly done it, the latter was showing that he was no longer considering the main lead as his son. While the rumor about the haircut gave the impression that the elder master Yoon was a honest and honorable noble, anyone can perceive the elder master’s action differently: the father is a coward, a selfish, ruthless and disloyal lord, especially the moment it is revealed that Yoon Seungho was abused sexually, physically and mentally. Let’s not forget that the protagonist used to live in the shed, for he was viewed as an animal. His situation reflected the father’s betrayal and abandonment. It doesn’t matter if he had been manipulated, because in the end, he made the decision to treat his son as a slave. He refused to send for a physician. To sum up, the loss of the topknot in this rumor would be judged as the epitome for cruelty and intolerance!! This shows that the loss of the hair in Painter Of The Night has actually many significations: castration, mercilessness and abandonment.

Then it occurred to me that the painter has been cutting off his hair all this time because of his noona. (Chapter 94) In this scene, the painter was rejected by the children, for he had no braid. Due to his hair dress, he was recognized as orphan immediately. The justification was that that way, the artist would appear more boyish. But by mentioning the loss of Yoon Seungho’s topknot, Heena was actually revealing that she knew the true signification of the haircut: abandonment and intolerance. Her words to her brother exposed her hypocrisy, though she attempted to portray the elder master as respectable. One might argue that when Na-Kyum was just a child, she had suggested the short hair, for she had good intentions. But after this experience with the children, the noona should have grasped the wrongness of her decision. She should have admitted her bad decision and stopped the painter from cutting his hair. Moreover, don’t forget that Na-Kyum was just a young boy, so the haircut must have been done by Heena herself. This shows that her gesture actually divulged her future behavior: she would betray and abandon the painter constantly (season 1, 2 and 3). At the same time, since the painter was seen with short hair in chapter 68 , this indicates that Heena kept cutting Baek Na-Kyum’s hair. So even in the past, she was betraying her brother, though the latter never realized it. The loss of hair could never be viewed as a sign of love or empathy, for it contributed to the painter’s abandonment issues and his self-loathing. He was suffering as an outcast and due to his girly features. The men in the gibang could mistreat him, for he had no long hair or topknot. Why? (Chapter 94) He had no parents or guardians protecting him which is true, for here he was exposed to violence. Heena, as the head-kisaeng, had not protected him at all, she must definitely have portrayed herself as powerless. Yet as a slave of the state, she was belonging to the king. So she had connections to officers and the court. In my eyes, the head-kisaeng made sure that the artist could never get a topknot, and as such he would never be able to become a “noble” or even a man. Hence Baek Na-Kyum was constantly called boy (Chapter 56) (Chapter 59) (chapter 66) and treated as one too. This observation made me realize that Heena’s belief could be used as an explanation for her action (cutting off his hair): she hates nobles so much that she didn’t allow her brother to have a topknot. But why would she do that? My idea is that deep down, she resented him, for he was a free man, while she was a slave. It went so far that he was encouraged to wear a white headband, the symbol for servitude, though he is no slave! To conclude, the loss of hair in Joseon should be perceived as a brutal and harsh punishment. Without a topknot, one is left unprotected, is not viewed as an adult. But this stands in opposition to Yoon Seungho’s action in front of Jung In-Hun’s home. (Chapter 101) Here, the lord had spared his friend’s life.

2. The loss of the topknot: Symbol for forgiveness?

As you may have noticed, I often use other manhwas as a source of inspiration for my interpretations concerning Painter Of The Night. In the story “A Sip of Poison”, the main lead, the prince Nan-Woo (Chapter 23) cuts off the hair of the general Woo Jong Han, because he had committed crimes. First, he hid the fact that his sister had had a child before getting married to the emperor, which was actually a huge sin. The future Empress should have been a virgin. To sum up, he had committed treason, for he had allowed his sister to become Empress unrightfully. Then the field marshal had treated his niece as a slave violating social norms. (chapter 34) That way, he assisted his sister to become powerful by covering up for her crimes (silence and passivity). She had killed many people to hide her previous relationship and to increase her power. Striking is that the prince still spared Baek-Ha’s uncle, and this for many reasons. First, the latter had not only saved both protagonists, the empress’ illegitimate daughter Baek-Ha and the prince Nan-Woo, but also had admitted his sins. Secondly, he was thinking of his wife Baek-Ha who is kind-hearted. He knew that his death could upset his bride. (chapter 26) But there is more to it. Nan-Woo didn’t spare the man out of benevolence. (chapter 26) He had a role to play. By cutting off his topknot, the general lost his “power”, he became the prince’s pawn! Nan-Woo wished to use the uncle in order to get rid of the Empress. (chapter 23) That way, the protagonist wouldn’t even have to dirty his own hands. On the other hand, we could also say that Nan-Woo was forcing the Empress’ brother to undo his bad decision. (chapter 23) Since he had protected his sister Seo-Ha out of affection, it was normal that now he had to show no mercy towards her. By presenting Baek -Ha to Nan-Woo, the general was well aware that the future ruler would recognize the female lead’s origins due to her resemblance to her mother. Therefore, we could interpret that Nan-Woo had spared the general, for the latter had switched sides and expressed the wish to undo his wrongdoings.

As you can see, Woo Jong Han shows many similarities with the second lead from Painter Of The Night: he was an accomplice of the real culprit, as he never intervened. He is connected to the notion: pity, knowledge, silence and passivity. Because Seo-Ha was his sister, as a dutiful older brother, he felt obligated to protect her. He was not blinded by greed like his donsaeng. This explicates why on the one hand, he saved Baek Ha’s life, on the other hand he still treated her as a slave in order to hide his sister’s wrongdoing. He felt torn between his obligation towards his younger sister and his empathy for his niece, Baek-Ha. Consequently, it is no coincidence that he once warmed her feet with his hands after the young girl had complained about her cold feet. Moreover, she received an education contrary to all the other slaves. He was caught in the middle, exactly like Lee Jihwa who had an attachment towards the main lead, yet he was still bound by social norms to his father. He needed to protect the family’s reputation. So when I saw this scene, (chapter 23) I couldn’t help myself thinking of Lee Jihwa and Yoon Seungho. How could the latter view the loss of a topknot as a gesture of leniency? (Chapter 101) It is because he must have witnessed it himself in the past. I have already pointed out that Yoon Seungho would imitate people, especially his tormentors. So where did he learn from? I believe, Yoon Seungho copied it from someone… and this can only be “lord Song”. And now, the first loss of Lee Jihwa’s topknot can be perceived in a different perspective. The red-haired master was well aware that he had been spared, when he had lost his hair for the first time. (Chapter 101) He knew deep down that thanks to his friend, he had been able to escape the worst. Since he had been spared once, he was well aware that this time, the ruler would show no leniency and would ask for his head, as the main lead was no longer protecting him. Remember what the lord had whispered to Baek Na-Kyum: (chapter 88) (chapter 88) By cutting off the friend’s hair, he was showing that he was abandoning his friend. He was leaving him behind, and Lee Jihwa was forced to face lord Song alone. (Chapter 83) This time, he had not his father by his side either. The latter could not protect him too. I had already voiced this theory before, as it would explain why Lee Jihwa is masking the man’s face. And note that Nan-Woo from A Sip Of Poison cut off the topknot, as he is already acting as the future ruler. Another important detail caught my attention. Just before receiving his sentence, Woo Jong-Han made an oath, (chapter 23), he swore loyalty to the future emperor. This signifies that the topknot also symbolizes faithfulness, especially because it is connected to marriage. Thus I deduce that when Lee Jihwa lost his topknot for the first time, he was already judged as disloyal. Hence it is no coincidence when the antagonist screams that he would become the target of lord Song’s fury.

But the red-haired noble could never reveal the king’s meddling, as his relationship with Yoon Seungho was a secret. Hence he needed to blame someone: The Yoons! I had already exposed that the words from the noble with the mole were ambiguous and as such deceiving. (Chapter 59) First, lord Yoon could be a reference to the father and not only the son. Secondly, he implied that he had witnessed the scene, yet in reality he could have been referring to the outcome: the friend’s hair cut, just like the noona had only seen the hickeys on her brother’s neck. She had never witnessed the sex session. The noble with the mole assumed the perpetrator’s behavior, rage, based on the hair loss. Moreover, he could have been telling the truth: he had never seen Yoon Seungho so angry before, as the latter used to be weak in the past due to his social status: he was a male kisaeng due to his braid. This explicates why the noble with the purple robe would give an order to the host (chapter 8) He felt himself superior to Yoon Seungho, and never expected “disobedience” or “rage” from the protagonist. Striking is that the lord didn’t vent his anger onto him, he first smiled before grabbing him by the topknot. (Chapter 8) A simple change of hair dress had transformed the main lead. This exposes the gods’ intervention in this story. They let the man with the mole see the wrongness of his manipulations. Since he had stated that he had never seen the man so angry, his words became a reality in 3 occasions: chapter 8 like mentioned above, chapter 53 , for he was not present, chapter 57 in the inn. Here, he chose to run away, yet despite everything he still helped his friend Black Heart, for he was present in the gibang. (Chapter 69) Under this new light, this panel from Twitter get a total new meaning: The aristocrat knew about the true identity of “lord Song”, and he had indeed never seen the man so angry that he would cut off the topknot of a noble!! This means that the fate of the noble with the mole should be to end up as the lord’s new plaything. In other words, he takes over the main lead’s previous status. He becomes the male kisaeng and ends up living in the shed like the protagonist in the past where the pedophile vents his rage and resent him for his tricks. But we will see.

Another important detail caught my attention: the noble with the mole judged the loss of the topknot as a harsh punishment (chapter 59) Furthermore, he associated it to abandonment too. (Chapter 59) Yet, observe the drop of sweat. This exposes that neither Min nor the noble with the mole were expecting that Lee Jihwa would be spared!! They acted, as if the loss of the topknot couldn’t be a sign of mercy. But observe what Lee Jihwa was recalling, when the “friend” was talking about abandonment. (Chapter 59) He was by the protagonist’s side! This means that lord Song had spared Lee Jihwa’s life, for he had been present, when Yoon Seungho was suffering. Till the middle of season 2, no one was aware of the fallout between Lee Jihwa and the protagonist. None of the incidents in season 1 was leaked to the outside, hence the “pedophile” was not officially aware of the red-haired master’s wrongdoings. But the loss of hair in front of the learned sir’s house becomes the proof that the main lead has now left his friend’s side. He will be blamed for his suicide. Therefore it is not surprising that the young master chose to run away. (Chapter 101) He knew that the ruler would show no leniency or understanding. Thus the noble with the mole’s karma should be to keep his topknot. That way, he will realize that if he had lost his topknot like Jihwa, his torment would be short-lived and as such it was a sign of mercy. But in this image, it doesn’t look like it. He will suffer for hours and even days before even losing his life. Now, he will be able to see and experienced how enraged or lenient the culprit for the loss of Lee Jihwa’s topknot was towards the antagonist.

The manhwaphiles should keep in their mind the following two rules: the painter’s fate mirrors the lord’s, since the story is constructed like a kaleidoscope. And now, look at this: (chapter 27) The painter had saved his teacher’s life, and later the lord had restrained himself from hurting the scholar in the courtyard despite Jung In-Hun’s lies and lack of respect (he had touched the man’s shoulder). (Chapter 30) Here again, the scholar had been spared. Then in episode 53, the painter had embraced the lord to stop him from killing Deok-Jae. This means that Yoon Seungho must have also saved people in the past by using his body, and this twice, for I had detected the presence of two circles: Yoon Chang-Hyeon and Lee Jihwa. That’s the reason why the father could survive the purge, and why Lee Jihwa only lost his topknot. And the heroine from A Sip Of Poison can serve as an example. (chapter 26) The red-haired noble was able to escape death thanks to Yoon Seungho. But Lee Jihwa had to hide from others that he had been punished by the king, hence Father Yoon and Yoon Seungho got blamed (chapter 1 and 59). And now, you have the explanation why father Lee accepted to receive the main lead in his mansion. (Chapter 1) As long as the latter was living there, the Lees had nothing to worry. The main lead was protecting them from the king. However, the manhwalovers should keep in their mind that Nan-Woo had showed mercy to the general for his own interests. He should become his helping hand in order to obtain the throne. Hence I come to the following deduction: neither Nan-Woo nor the “perpetrator” had cut off the topknot out of real leniency. This shows that for these characters, the loss of the topknot is not the symbol for forgiveness which is not true for the last incident with Lee Jihwa. (chapter 101) Why? It is because the main lead had no intention to use his friend as a pawn. There was no pledge of loyalty… in truth, in this scene, Yoon Seungho was truly cutting ties with the second lead.

But if the pedophile chose to employ the young master after the loss of the topknot, what was his role? In my opinion, it was to keep Yoon Seungho by his side. The pedophile had slowly recognized that he could never separate these two boys, and without him by his side, Yoon Seungho would still reject him. In my eyes, the main lead had followed his friend. Under this new light, the manhwaworms can comprehend why father Lee accepted to let the main lead stay in his mansion. He could secure his position, yet pay attention that despite the topknot, he was still dressed so poorly. (chapter 1) Even the headband was different. This was no coincidence. He should never develop confidence and act as a lord. That’s how I recognized the following pattern. In front of the painter who looked like a minor, the main lead was forced to act like an adult. Thanks to the painter, he was encouraged to mature. Simultaneously this meant that at some point, while living with the Lees, the elder master Lee had to be confronted with the truth: his son’s sodomy.

Under this new light, it becomes understandable why Heena and Kim called the main lead a bird of misfortune. (Chapter 86) The reality was that the pedophile was the bad omen, but they couldn’t insult the king. Hence the young main lead became the scapegoat, people couldn’t separate the pedophile from Yoon Seungho. The “mysterious lord Song” would never give up on the protagonist. No matter what he would keep him by his side.

But like pointed out in an earlier analysis, Black Heart and his friend were definitely the reason why the red-haired master had to lose his topknot. From my point of view, this is related to this night, (chapter 1) and Lee Jihwa had no idea about it. Hence the painter got framed. On the other hand, Black Heart and his friend had to spy on Lee Jihwa in order to know about his ignorance concerning their “prank”. At the same time, they could only get intrigued, why the mysterious lord Song would behave that way, though he had been treating the main lead as a male kisaeng. Towards Yoon Seungho, he was quite selfish and cruel. The discrepancy in the treatment (mercy versus ruthlessness) could only surprise the young nobles. And this observation led me to the following question. Why would Heena mention the topknot to her brother in order to manipulate him? The kisaeng was well aware that he had witnessed the sex party in the kisaeng house, for this image represents a memory from the artist. It is to divert his attention: he should never connect Yoon Seungho to the braided man!! If he had a topknot, then he could never be the one doing the fellatio to the man with the purple hanbok!! But if the painter had pondered a little more, he should have realized his noona’s lies. She mentioned the loss of a topknot, but yet the smiling hell-raiser still had a topknot: (chapter 1) Moreover, we shouldn’t overlook the publications with the braided man: (Chapter 1) Baek Na-Kyum was not supposed to recognize the identity of the man having sex with the bearded man. From my point of view, Heena made sure to confuse her brother. Lee Jihwa’s humiliation became Yoon Seungho’s stigma. He became the culprit. Since in the past, the main lead had been blamed for everything, the perpetrators and accomplices chose to follow this “tradition”, because so far, they had been able to cover up their crimes. But thanks to the painter, it is no longer possible. Why? It is because the painter’s hair dress will serve as a mirror of truth: the absence of a topknot due to the braid and the hair cut will be perceived as an evidence for abandonment, cruelty and huge wrongdoing. This won’t be seen as a gesture of mercy or leniency by the two protagonists, for they suffered because of it!! That’s the reason why I am thinking that the pedophile’s karma should be the loss of the topknot which he viewed as a gesture of mercy and tolerance. But without the topknot, he is actually “castrated”, and as such humiliated for he can not wear his golden sangtu. Yet, contrary to Lee Jihwa’s haircut, the loss of the topknot should not be judged as the symbol of mercy and forgiveness, in fact, the lord would officially cut ties with him. That’s how the mysterious Lord Song would be taught an important lesson: he was a huge hypocrite and a violent and ruthless pervert.

3. The tool for the loss of the topknot

Once again, A Sip Of Poison inspired me. The prince Nan-Woo asked his assistant Yoon (chapter 23) to give him a knife: (chapter 23) before grabbing Woo Jang-Hon by his topknot (chapter 23). Hence the hair fell between the men. (chapter 23) And now, let’s return our attention to Painter Of The Night. Compare the position of the aristocrat’s topknot after Yoon Seungho had punished his friend. (chapter 101) It was behind him!! Thus I deduce that he had used the sword, when Lee Jihwa had approached his friend. But wait… in season 1 and 2, Byeonduck drew scenes with a knife:

  • Chapter 18: And what had happened before? Yoon Seungho had dragged his friend by the topknot before stabbing the amateur spy. This is no coincidence.
  • Chapter 57: When this chapter had been released, I had assumed that this must have happened, when Yoon Seungho had lost his topknot! As you can see, I had already connected the knife to the loss of the topknot incident.
  • However, note that the weapon was used to threaten the painter (chapter 66)

That’s the reason why I am assuming that when Lee Jihwa lost his topknot for the first time, the mysterious lord Song must have used a knife and cut off the young master’s hair. Hence Byeonduck created such a picture where Lee Jihwa was put in a similar situation: (chapter 18) It was to trigger his memory. I am even assuming that the butler must have given lord Song the knife before while remaining in the shadow. But I also think that after the incident with the loss of the topknot, the pedophile must have also threatened him. If he were to reveal anything about this incident and his identity, then he would lose his head. So imagine Lee Jihwa’s reactions in chapter 101. (chapter 101) He had now faced a sword and not a knife contrary to the past. Therefore it is not surprising that the young master got so scared and chose to flee. Lee Jihwa had betrayed lord Song by telling an anecdote from the past. He had more or less leaked the name “lord Song”. (chapter 83) (chapter 101) For the first time, he had been confronted alone with the sword directly. There was no one and nothing to protect him. When Yoon Seungho had barged in his bedroom, Lee Jihwa had fled behind the folding shield. Furthermore, his father and the domestic were also present. (chapter 67) This shows that till season 3, Lee Jihwa had never been exposed to real justice. There was always someone ready to intervene for him. And now, you comprehend why the red-haired master felt no remorse to blame his friend for his humiliation in the past. He must have thought that if he had not been in his bedchamber during that night (chapter 59), he wouldn’t have lost his topknot. Moreover, he could also use the other incident in the bedchamber as a justification. If Yoon Seungho had not dragged him there… (chapter 83) This explicates why Lee Jihwa said this to Black Heart and his friend: (chapter 59) The antagonist had witnessed his friend’s humiliation and suffering in the past, just like Yoon Seungho had been present, when the first topknot incident occurred. From my point of view, the lord must have even protected Lee Jihwa. But the problem is that Lee Jihwa was just receiving his punishment in delay for the stolen kiss and his lies (chapter 77) He had kissed him without his consent, thus he got “castrated”. Let’s not forget that the main lead was forced to become a male prostitute, an uke, for he had not been able to perform, to have an erected phallus. On the other hand, Lee Jihwa had done nothing wrong in the bedchamber (chapter 59), for he was consoling his friend, so the loss of the topknot appears as a harsh punishment. Moreover, it looks unfair, for the real perpetrators and accomplices got scot-free. Yet, this is just an illusion. Min and his friend were punished too. They got “castrated” too!! How so? It is because from that moment on, they were not allowed to treat Yoon Seungho as a uke, a male kisaeng. (Chapter 1) This means that the painter’s vision was turned into a reality. That’s the moment Yoon Seungho got turned into a seme. Now, Black Heart and the noble with the mole should become his “playthings”, which signifies that they had switched positions. In my opinion, the pedophile had decided to no longer share his “companion” to others. As you can see, they got punished too, but since this was not painful, they never realized that they were receiving their karma. This was a symbolic “castration”. Under this new approach, it becomes understandable why Min was so obsessed with Yoon Seungho, why he wished to “fuck” Yoon Seungho in a figurative way. This is what he had desired in the past, in the gibang, but he had failed. Thus we have this gesture from Black Heart in the woods. (Chapter 41) Due to the incident in the kisaeng house, Min had lost his privileged position with the king. Hence he got jealous. He could no longer screw” the protagonist, while he had to watch the lord’s slow ascension. To sum up, the loss of Jihwa’s topknot led to the “symbolic castration” of the infamous couple: Min and the noble with the mole.

But it is time to return our attention to the knife and the loss of the topknot. First, it is relevant to remember the following rule. Baek Na-Kyum will through the path than the main lead’s. Since the painter has been constantly cutting his hair, he never had the chance to get long hair and as such a topknot. And the lord was in a similar situation. He only got his topknot very late… but the only difference is that he had a long braid the entire time. This hair dress was the symbol of his servitude. (chapter 57) Hence the author drew slaves with braids constantly. (chapter 77) And now, you comprehend why the pedophile cut off Lee Jihwa’s topknot! The latter had been blamed for the lord’s change of hair dress. (chapter 59) Because of this, Yoon Seungho had become a lord, a noble. That’s the reason why we are not able to distinguish the main lead’s hair dress properly, neither in the last picture and in this one: (chapter 57) The hair was short or not? Now, I don’t think so. The mystery of Yoon Seungho’s suffering is linked to the hair dress, yet the readers shouldn’t realize it too quickly. According to me, he still had the braid, until the doctor questioned why Yoon Seungho still had no topknot. (chapter 57) Don’t forget that in each visit of a physician, the latter would question the butler: (chapter 33) (chapter 55) And who had given him the topknot? Naturally… Kim! Because he didn’t want to be perceived as someone who was violating social norms. However, there is no ambiguity that he hid his responsibility. That’s how Lee Jihwa and his “servant” got framed. They were responsible for giving the main lead the new hair dress. On the other side, I still believe that Yoon Seungho must have lost his hair too, but only once to the difference of Baek Na-Kyum! My reason is simple. Since the painter and Lee Jihwa lost their hair, and Yoon Seungho’s destiny is mirroring his lover’s, it signifies that the lord’s hair must have been cut too. But who did it? Let’s not forget that when Yoon Seungho punished his friend in front of the scholar’s home, (chapter 101) the loss of the topknot had four significations: admission of a sin, mercy, forgiveness but also ABANDONMENT! He was cutting ties with his childhood friend. So he must have known the last meaning, but from a different source, as the first incident represented a sign of leniency. Consequently, I ended up with the following theory. Yoon Seungho must have cut off his own hair, yet he had been manipulated by Kim. Let’s not forget that the painter continues cutting his own hair and there is no sign of trauma linked to such an event. He had been encouraged to lose his hair by his noona. From my point of view, this must have happened between these two scenes: (chapter 77) and this one (chapter 83) The length was almost the same, yet 3 or 4 years had passed in the main time. Let’s not forget that this scene represents the patriarch’s abandonment (chapter 77) and Kim had also experienced rejection from Yoon Seungho (chapter 77) in that scene. For the butler, this gaze could be judged as betrayal and abandonment. Under this new perspective, it becomes comprehensible why the main lead was encouraged to blame and resent his father. If this theory is true, Kim pushed the main lead to cut off his braid, he did it out hatred and anger towards the Yoons. This would mask his own manipulation and culpability too. At the same time, the pedophile could benefit from it. The main lead was now an orphan, thus the bearded man could use him like he wished. I have an evidence for this interpretation. This is what Baek Ha said to her husband: (chapter 23) Being slave meant being orphan. The pedophile could feign ignorance about the main lead’s true origins. If he truly cared for him, he just needed to ask this: papers! (chapter 24) This shows that in Painter Of The Night, all the elders were depraved and violent hypocrites. Like mentioned above, the pedophile had a huge interest to keep the main lead as his slave, thus he was turned into an orphan and asked to keep a braid. And Yoon Seungho’s mother could do nothing, for the son had cut off his own hair, a huge symbolic act. He was no longer considering her his mother. But because of his status as slave, the pedophile could never trust the main lead. Then the suicide from the mother put an end to this farce. Hence lord Song could tell his sex partner that he had become the head of the Yoons and let him “have” the properties, while it was never his intention to let him become responsible. If he had become a lord, he could escape from his claws. He needed him to remain in an infantile and dependable state.

Since I detected that rumors often become a reality, I deduce that after the lord’s vanishing, Heena’s words will come to the surface and become the verity: (chapter 1) While in the past the father could judge this grapevine as positive, for he was portrayed as a honest and respectable man, the town folks will perceive him as the opposite: cruel, depraved and selfish. And this because of the false accusation: (chapter 94) By framing the elder master Yoon, Kim can deny any responsibility in the loss of hair of Yoon Seungho and in the messenger’s death. It was the father’s doing. The nobles like the Lees and Yoon Chang-Hyeon are now accountable for the corpses. In the gibang, Yoon Seungho never killed anyone and he even spared his friend, though the latter had kidnapped Baek Na-Kyum. Finally, the town folks are now aware of Lee Jihwa’s homosexuality and his relationship with the protagonist. So I believe that people will jump to the conclusion that father Yoon had turned his elder son into a sodomite and sold him him to the Lees which is not false too. The king has a reputation to maintain and he needs scapegoats in order to hide his involvement and his crimes from the past.

4. The reason behind the loss of the topknot

And before closing this essay, I would like to point out another similarity between A Sip Of Poison and Painter Of The Night. Though Baek -Ha is the daughter of Nan-Woo’s enemy, the prince couldn’t hurt her in the end, for she saved him: (chapter 33) (chapter 33) She not only treated his wounds, but also helped him to overcome on his guilt. He felt responsible for his brother’s death, for Nan-Woo had attempted once to commit suicide on the battlefield, and his brother had sacrificed himself to protect him. He was definitely plagued with remorse, self-loathing and shame. And that’s exactly what Baek Na-Kyum has been doing too: by simply loving him so selflessly and purely. Finally, Baek-Ha’s fate made him realize the Empress’ immense culpability. She was so greedy and selfish that (chapter 34) she had abandoned her own child! Thus he was freed from his hatred and guilt. Nan-Woo was able to perceive the wrongness of this social norm which was common in Joseon: the child is responsible for the parents’ sins! (chapter 33) Being an orphan outlined her innocence. And since I have already connected Baek Na-Kyum to the mysterious lord Song, I am quite sure that the painter will have a similar attitude than Baek Ha: (chapter 33) He will feel responsible for Yoon Seungho’s martyrdom. And if he is truly his son, his abandonment can serve an evidence of his innocence. On the other hand, the readers shouldn’t forget that his surrogate parents, Jung In-Hun and Heena, played a role in lord Yoon’s torment as well. Thus he can only indebted towards his husband.

Chyomchyom and Byeonduck explained perfectly why the protagonists would suffer so much: ambition. (Doctor Frost, chapter 225) With this picture, the manhwaphiles can detect the presence of the endless vicious circle, the ouroboros, which I had described as a kaleidoscope. The absence of empathy in both stories was the reason why no one stopped the main perpetrators. Woo Jang-Hon felt guilty, for he had raised his younger sister who had become a monster. Kim felt deep down guilty, but chose to reject his responsibility by putting the blame on others. Out of fear, he preferred hiding his wrong decisions and later wrongdoings. And now it has become his MO. This distinguishes him from the general who chose to put an end to his guilty conscience and paid for his crimes.. (chapter 34)

To conclude, the loss of the topknot has many significations: punishment, castration, loss of power, servitude, guilt, abandonment, absence of protection, cruelty, betrayal, but also freedom, loyalty, leniency and forgiveness. As you can see, the gesture is associated to opposite notions: servitude versus liberty, betrayal versus loyalty etc…. as it depends on the perspective.

Thanks to Yoon Seungho, Lee Jihwa was able to free himself from his guilt and he could liberate himself from social norms (peers pressure, his father’s expectations,) and his shame due to his sexual orientation. Before losing his topknot, he had admitted his sins to his friend and it also indicated his loyalty towards Yoon Seungho. And this was the same for the general. The latter could finally find peace in his mind and redeem himself. Yet, now, he is no longer a powerful general, he is just the puppet of the prince. However, the moment the red-haired aristocrat lost his topknot, he was no longer the king’s puppet. Therefore he was no longer useful for the mysterious lord Song. That’s the reason why the antagonist got aware that he shouldn’t expect any forgiveness or mercy from “Captain Hook”. No matter what he would say, he would be suspected of a crime (chapter 101) and this because of the first incident with the topknot!! Since Black Heart and the noble with the mole had been able to avoid punishment after this incident in the kisaeng house (chapter 1), he assumed that he could repeat his actions!! But he got proven wrong, for he ended up losing his life.

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 foot 👣👣

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: Shocking discoveries has been updated again.

1. The caress on the child’s foot

The author released this picture on Twitter yesterday, and naturally this made many people happy, for Jung In-Hun was stroking Baek Na-Kyum’s foot gently. How could people identify the characters, though we don’t see their faces? Simply by the clothes! The manhwaphiles remember the painter’s grey pants and the learned sir’s favorite color, lavender, (chapter 19) (chapter 68). While many manhwalovers found this image cute , something else came to my mind. A question. Why did Byeonduck create such a panel? One might say that she is showing us the painter’s past. Here, he is a young boy, for his foot is so small. He is carried on the learned sir’s shoulders like a little boy. Due to the presence of the light bubbles, refraction, I deduce that this picture represents a happy memory from the artist. He felt loved and warm in that moment.

2. The strolls

However, what caught my attention is that the young scholar was strolling through the countryside with the boy. In the background, you can see the fields and trees. This means that this scene embodies the positive reflection of this night: (chapter 70) The manhwalovers can immediately detect the contrasts: the visages of the protagonists versus the hand and the foot, day versus night, sun versus moon. That’s the reason why I came to the deduction that this image embodies a happy memory of the painter: sadness versus happiness.

On the other hand, these two situations have something in common: the learned sir is wearing the same clothes (a lavender hanbok) and he is walking through the countryside. But why? In order to get an answer to this, it is important to remember why the painter was forced to follow the learned sir during the night. It is because the artist had witnessed Yoon Seungho’s sequestration and abuse, whereas he thought that his noona had been mistreated. . (chapter 68) This means that Baek Na-Kyum was removed, because he was a witness and could generate a scandal. He is beloved by the kisaengs. However, back then, he got misled due to Heena’s indoctrination and false impressions. When he saw this, he was only looking at his noona, hence he didn’t pay attention to the actions of the black guard. Moreover, he had no idea why Heena and Yoon Seungho were behaving like that. So when the painter recalled Jung In-Hun from that night, he was no longer heartbroken, because the stroll with the scholar came to his mind. (chapter 70). The trigger for this recollection was his farewell to Heena. This time, he could say goodbye to Heena properly by embracing her and giving her a scarf so that she would remember him. In the painter’s mind, after that night, he would never see her again. (chapter 69) In other words, this night represented a closure for Baek Na-Kyum, the end of his abandonment issues. In episode 70, Jung In-Hun had consoled him, he had tried to cheer him up. Thus the learned sir was smiling. Yet, this couldn’t cover the painter’s scar. He felt that he had betrayed Heena, for he had not been able to protect her. It was, as if he had run away. Nevertheless, when this incident occurred, the learned sir had not run away from the gibang, because you could see that Baek Na-Kyum was wearing socks and shoes. (chapter 70) The man had put the shoes on the child, as in the building, the painter only had his socks on. Because of the presence of the socks, (chapter 68), I deduce that this walk must have taken place in a colder season (fall) while in this picture, Jung In-Hun was carrying the painter on his shoulders in the summer. No one would question why the artist had no sock or no shoe, and the manhwalovers can see the shadow of leaves from the trees on the hanbok. One might object to this distinction between fall and summer, because (chapter 70) the trees in the background still have their leaves. This point can be easily refuted, for in South Korea you can find typical evergreen broad-leaved species like camellias and camphor trees. But there exists another reason why I am associating this scene to fall and not spring or winter. It is because this image

represents the reflection from another episode: (chapter 102) In both scenes, the main lead is seen with bare feet. He is also carried by his loved one. But here, it is snowing, hence this signifies that it is winter. On the other hand, the manhwalovers can detect the presence of a purple flower on the right side. This signifies that Spring is on its way. That’s how I came to realize why Baek Na-Kyum is now recalling the learned sir’s gesture from the past.

He felt loved because of the learned sir’s caress, but in my opinion, this affection was superficial, as the warmth was coming more from the sun than from the learned sir.

In reality, this scene was actually exposing the teacher’s fleeting and superficial affection. But how do I come to this conclusion? By simply contrasting this scene with the one from chapter 102. Now imagine the situation in your mind. Both main leads are walking in the mountain (chapter 102) where it is even colder than in the valley, secondly it is snowing and there is no sun, only the moonlight. So the moment Yoon Seungho witnessed that Baek Na-Kyum was alive, he must have recognized the seriousness of the situation. Since Baek Na-Kyum had only a hanbok on, he could die of hypothermia. What he had imagined for himself, death, had terrible consequences. He could be the reason for the painter’s curtains. So in my opinion, he must have warmed the painter’s feet with his hands, a new version of this scene: Through the comparison, the artist can only sense the lord’s selflessness and deep love for Baek Na-Kyum. He will do anything for him. And now, you comprehend why the painter was reminded of the past. Yoon Seungho is slowly taking over the scholar’s role. But this doesn’t end here.

By comparing these two scenes, another contrast come to the surface. Yoon Seungho went to the mountain to bury the painter and to commit his suicide. This means that this stroll is associated to death, while the walk with the learned sir embodies the opposite: life and joy. However, as you can imagine, this is just an illusion. Because the moment the lord realized that his lover was still alive, he made the opposite decision. He is now fighting to remain alive. The painter has become the lord’s source of strength. Without him, Baek Na-Kyum can die and can even become the target of filthy and violent nobles. This means that after this stroll, the lord is forced to give up on his suicidal thoughts for good. Hence I deduce that in this image, the opposite must have happened to the painter. There was a change too: Here, he felt happy and loved… yet at the end, he must have felt guilty. Why? It is related to Heena. According to me, in this scene, she had used the painter as a shield. (chapter 94) His presence was to divert the attention from these men so that she wouldn’t be asked to have sex with them. And since I have already detected that each time, the painter suffered, karma would retaliate, the logical consequence is that Heena got punished for her wrong action. This signifies that while the painter was following the learned sir, his noona was abused in the kisaeng house. This would explicate why later she had no remorse to turn Yoon Seungho into a victim. And don’t forget that the painter was much younger than in this scene. (chapter 68) However, since the painter’s legs are longer than in the image from chapter 94, , I deduce that the scholar went for a walk with the painter, the latter was a little older. And this brings me to the following observation: the scholar’s walks were never random. They had a purpose which stands in opposition to Yoon Seungho’s behavior. (chapter 45) (chapter 75) The latter would let his partner walk through town in order to please him. He would even follow the painter. In other words, it was always for the painter’s sake, and in the mountain, it was the same. But it was not the same for Jung In-Hun, it was for his own benefit. We have the best example in chapter 10: (chapter 10) Here, he desired to separate the couple. Baek Na-Kyum should refuse to paint erotic pictures.

That’s how I come to the deduction that Jung In-Hun had taken away the artist from the gibang on purpose, to separate Baek Na-Kyum from his noona Heena. Hence I am assuming that during that day, something must have happened in the gibang. Like mentioned above, she could have been hurt during the painter’s absence. That’s the reason why the painter developed self-hatred. But there exists another possibility. Since this scene took place during the day, I think that the learned sir didn’t mind of being seen contrary to his attitude in town: (chapter 29) He could definitely meet peasants in the countryside. As you can see, Baek Na-Kyum is wearing clothes for low-borns, hence no one will question why he has no socks and no shoes. The learned sir looks like a generous and humble scholar, who doesn’t care about social status and origins, for he is carrying the painter. This stands in opposition to the stroll during the night: (chapter 70): The artist is dressed with good clothes, he looks more like a young master than a commoner, only the shoes are indicating that he is a commoner. That’s the reason why I believe that during that night, the learned sir was avoiding people. They could have wondered why the young boy was carried in his night clothes outside. From my point of view, this scene is strongly connected to Heena and the suffering in the kisaeng house. The other reason for this theory is that this panel is strongly intertwined with episode 29, where the learned sir had gone on a walk too, but this time without the painter. Here, he had a girl on his laps. (chapter 29) He had already been seen with a girl before who seems to like him either. (chapter 6) Thus I couldn’t help myself wondering if the learned sir was not directly involved in prostitution, bringing girls to the gibang and even covering up for the sexual child abuse. We shouldn’t forget that the pedophile was portrayed as a man consumed by lust who would never pay attention to the time and the hour. (chapter 1) Hence the painter had to leave the gibang during the day as well.

To conclude, though this panel seems to ooze happiness and warmth, I believe in the opposite. It is connected to pain and suffering. That’s the reason why I am convinced that this recollection will help the painter to move on from his self-hatred as well. He won’t feel guilty towards his noona, for she definitely manipulated him, especially at the end of season 3. And this would mirror the lord’s transformation, both are overcoming their traumas: self-loathing and abandonment issues.

3. The learned sir’s hanboks

At the same time, since I realized that the painter embodies memories and is the witness of the lord’s downfall and lord Song’s crimes, I came to the following theory: Jung In-Hun was involved in the torment of people in the gibang, but Heena never realized it. She preferred blaming nobles. Jung In-Hun’s role was to ensure the absence of scandal. Under this new light, it becomes comprehensible why the learned sir’s karma was to die incognito. Since he had contributed to cover up and ensure that there was no witness and ruckus, he should suffer the same way. On the other hand, since he contributed to the painter’s happiness, as he was his only friend, I believe that at some point, his death will cause a huge scandal. And before closing this essay, I would like the readers to remind that the teacher didn’t wear all the time a lavender hanbok!! When he first met the main lead, his clothes were rather light green. (chapter 6) (chapter 7) (chapter 7) This change is not random in my eyes. I had already associated the learned sir to a chameleon. This change of color seems to validate my theory that Jung In-Hun had been sponsored by Min, hence we have the light green. Black Heart is symbolized by green. However, the light pigment reflects that he had been abandoned and betrayed. Nonetheless, when he encountered Yoon Seungho, the latter was wearing a purple hanbok. (chapter 6) That’s how the man got influenced and chose to wear his lavender hanboks again. But he never realized that behind the young noble, there was standing the pedophile, someone he had helped in the past. From my point of view, the change of the learned sir’s hanbok was the indication of his betrayal. According to me, the old bearded man (chapter 37) was not a former servant, but the pedophile. So he could have recognized the learned sir thanks to his hanbok… just like the readers did with this picture:

The purple hanbok is the common denominator between the mysterious lord Song (chapter 83), the topknot incident (chapter 1) and the couple. (chapter 102) At the end of season 3, both are now wearing a purple hanbok, though their pigment is slightly different. And what have all these chapters in common?

4. Love and feet

The main leads are bare feet. (chapter 83) According to me, in the painter’s vision from episode 1, the braided man is Yoon Seungho. The absence of shoes and socks was in truth an indication of neglect and abuse, but the warmth and gentleness from that scene deceived the painter: If the learned sir had been so caring, he should have let him wear shoes or socks. Here he was forced to rely on the learned sir. The latter should have ensured for the painter’s education either. He didn’t read a book with him during that day. In reality, the author let us see what true adoration and affection is: (chapter 73) From my point of view, the intimacy in the bedchamber stands in opposition to the teacher’s gesture in the countryside. His caress was just a casual gesture with no real deep meaning in the end. This explicates why he could betray and abandon the artist on so many occasions in season 1 (chapter 11, 24, 25, 29, 35, 40). The learned sir had always prioritized his own interests.

And if my prediction is correct by contrasting this memory to this scene (chapter 102), the painter should realize the difference. (chapter 68) Yoon Seungho’s love is deep and real, it is never changing. And the embrace in the snow confirmed it. (chapter 102) The lord let the painter cry, (chapter 70) talk and ask questions before apologizing and hugging him. The lord never acted, as if nothing had happened, (chapter 102) This was true love and Baek Na-Kyum’s feet always reflect his emotions: (chapter 58) (chapter 80) So now, imagine how the painter must feel if the lord took his feet in his hands! This is no coincidence that there is this saying:

Your feet will bring you to where your heart is.

And now, you comprehend the importance of the foot prints (chapter 100) (chapter 102) and the zooms on the feet: (chapter 53) The couple was following their heart!! But this was not the case with the scholar. Baek Na-Kyum had no other choice than to follow Jung In-Hun.

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: Heena’s secrets 🔐

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.

Recently, Lezhin released a message on Instagram announcing the return of manhwas in hiatus for November. And unfortunately, Painter Of Night was not part of them. 😭 Later, the author announced that due to a surgery, the release of season 4 has been delayed. She apologized, for she couldn’t keep her promise. This means, either it will start at the end of December or in January. Nevertheless, this doesn’t change my resolution to keep analyzing this story, for Yoon Seungho’s suffering and the painter’s past have not been entirely unveiled. Like a detective, I am trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together. In this essay, I would like to elaborate my new discoveries concerning Heena which led me to develop new theories.

1. Heena: a mother or a sister?

During season 2, I had trouble to figure out her true identity. Was she the head-kisaeng who had adopted Baek Na-Kyum? (chapter1) Or was she simply the noona? (chapter 70) At some point, I came to realize that Heena had acted as the surrogate mother, but she had never clearly stated that she was the painter’s mother. In other words, his adoption was never official, which explicates why the main lead only considered her as his older sister. This is important, because her ambiguous status can not only generate problems, but also expose her betrayal towards Baek Na-Kyum. Note that in chapter 97, the noona treated Baek Na-Kyum as her “child” who wouldn’t listen to her (Chapter 97), while later she implied that they were both equal, for she employed the personal pronoun “us”. (chapter 97) On the other hand, she used her seniority as status, when she called him a fool (Chapter 97). He lacked experiences, hence he was too naïve, and as such he would trust the protagonist too easily. As you can see, Heena herself had an ambiguous relationship with her brother. Nonetheless, thanks to chapter 93, I got finally a definitive answer about Heena’s true identity. She is indeed the head-kisaeng in the gibang. I realized that the protagonists were invited to stay in Heena’s personal room. (Chapter 93) That’s the reason why the seat of the host was empty and why Yoon Seungho didn’t go there. He would have violated social norms, if he had taken her seat.. Moreover, by doing so, he would have revealed that he knew where the woman was. This could have raised questions.

2. Heena’s study

But how did I come up to this revelation? What caught my attention is the type of the door from that room (rectangles). Its pattern diverges from the ones in the hallway. (Chapter 93) This means that the figures were not sitting in the room shown in the last panel. On the other hand, their voices in the hallway exposed their location. The noonas and Heena were not far away from that door hidden by the veil. That’s how I got aware where Heena’s room was situated. In the last picture, the readers are turning their back from Heena’s study, which is right after the corner. Thus I could recognize the design of the building: ][ In the center, there is this huge hallway with the purple veils, but at its end, on each both sides, there exists a corridor perpendicular to the one with the purple curtains. What the beholder imagined as a door at the end of the hallway, (Chapter 68) was in truth a huge window. How do I know this? First, in this scene, the scholar was hiding a huge white vase with red flowers. Hence I deduced that Jung In-Hun couldn’t have walked through that “gate”, it was just a window. Therefore I assumed that he had to walk past the flowers, either turn to the right or the left. Secondly, observe that next to the lantern on the left, there is a small white panel. This means that the view from chapter 93 was more or less taken from the right corner. Moreover, in the next chapter, Heena is not facing this “window”, when she is in the same building. (Chapter 69) This time, the white vase with the flowers is standing in front of a wall. That’s how I deduced that Heena had to turn to the left in order to go to the hallway. (chapter 69) On the other hand, another element caught my notice. In this picture, (chapter 69) the purple curtain is covering the wall and is very close to the lantern, which is not the case in this picture from chapter 93. (chapter 93) And now, if you pay attention to the curtains in the hallway, you can detect a huge difference. (chapter 69) On the right side, there is no white wall between the purple veils, while it is not the case on the left side. And all these observations (the window in the background, the length and position of the purple veils, the white wall) made me realize that Jung In-Hun and Heena were actually walking in the same direction. At first glance, the beholder has the impression that the learned sir was leaving the building, whereas Heena was supposed to return to her private room. However, as you can see, this is just a deception. Furthermore, what caught my attention is the presence of a tiny window . (chapter 93) which is not present in episode 69. (chapter 93) Since I came to the conclusion that Heena’s private room was on the right side after the corner, I deduce that the kisaeng was not on her way to her room. Moreover, since the kisaeng was walking in the same direction than the scholar, I can only conclude that Heena was actually approaching the entrance of the building. I believe that she had turned around, but the author didn’t reveal this. One might argue that it is possible that in chapter 68, the learned sir could have gone with the painter to Heena’s bedroom. However, back then the latter was not the head-kisaeng. We know this due to the presence of a kisaeng standing right behind Yoon Chang-Hyeon during the sexual lesson. (chapter 86) She was the superior. Moreover, we saw the teacher walking through the countryside during the night. (chapter 70) That’s how I realized that Byeonduck had deceived the readers once again. She was playing with reflections. That’s the reason why I deduced that Heena was not talking loudly by accident in front of Black Heart. (chapter 69) It was done on purpose!! She wished that Min would take care of her brother. Under this new light, it becomes comprehensible why the noona has a drop of sweat on her cheek. She is faking ignorance, she is acting, as if she was very protective of her brother. She uses illusion to manipulate people. In reality, she was acting here. One might argue that I am overthinking again. This is not possible, for Heena didn’t know Min at all. Hence she couldn’t manipulate him. The latter had heard of her for the first time in Yoon Seungho’s mansion. (chapter 66) But let me ask you this. How could Heena have never met Min, when she was the head-kisaeng? Secondly, just because the servant had never heard of the noona, this doesn’t mean that it was the case for Black Heart. The domestic assumed Black Heart’s ignorance, just like the readers. Moreover, recently I had detected that Heena had been standing in front of a mansion belonging to a noble. (chapter 46) This was not Yoon Seungho and Lee Jihwa’s mansion, for the gate and walls (chapter 67) diverge. Moreover, Min has been seen in the kisaeng house in so many chapters , (chapter 19) (chapter 59). Here, I would like to point out that in episode 59, Lee Jihwa had visited the kisaeng house on different occasions, for his hair was slowly growing. (chapter 59) Moreover, note that his visits took place during the day and not during the night. Why? It was for privacy and so far, during the day, the manhwaphiles never saw any kisaeng in the gibang. (chapter 1) (chapter 94) Lee Jihwa was not supposed to meet kisaengs and especially Heena. As you can see, Min had strong connections with the gibang. Hence he should have known Heena, for she was the head-kisaeng. But I would like to bring up a more conclusive proof for this interpretation. (chapter 19) This image was showing us that Yoon Seungho was visiting the gibang. However, pay attention to the pattern of the doors in the last picture and the next: (chapter 19) The motive diverges, it looks like the one from the hallway with the purple veils. This means that the party was not taking place in the room shown in the former picture. What caught my notice is the presence of the white vase with the red flowers in front of the building. It was present in each scene taking place in the gibang. (chapter 68) (chapter 69) (chapter 93) For me, the red flowers symbolize Heena noona. This explicates why during the painter’s dream, the flowers were not present. (chapter 87), as Heena was not included in his vision. And this image (chapter 19) made me think of Yoon Chang-Hyeon due to the writing on the wooden planks. (chapter 44) Due to the similarities, I believe that in chapter 19, Byeonduck was actually exposing the ghost head-kisaeng. Exactly like the father, she was hiding. Why? It is because she is involved in Yoon Seungho’s suffering. And now, imagine her reaction, when she hears that Black Heart has organized a feast for the main lead’s honor. The woman could only avoid the main character. And now, you have the explication why Heena as the head-kisaeng was not present during that festivity. It was deliberate. (chapter 19) Striking is that the kisaeng had a similar hair dress than Heena, This is no coincidence. She was acting as the head-kisaeng. The manhwalovers will certainly remember that only two kisaengs had no braided bun or braids: this one and Heena. Look at all the others: (chapter 51) (chapter 93) (chapter 93) (chapter 95) The extravagant hair dress was exposing the kisaeng’s status. And now, you comprehend why the other noona explained the disappearance of Heena during that night. (chapter 93) She was the head-kisaeng’s right-hand. She had to give an explanation why the noona wouldn’t appear in her bedroom.

But let’s return our attention to chapter 19. What did the kisaeng do during that party? She questioned the main character. (chapter 19) But how could she sense that the noble was in a good mood? The latter was silent and not even smiling. (chapter 19) How could she claim this? In reality she was actually spying on him. Heena had no idea why the lord would come to the gibang, especially after suffering there so much. The kisaeng’s task was to dig up information. This visitation must have bothered the head-kisaeng.

3. Heena and Min

According to my theory, Heena was walking in front of the room where Black Heart was on purpose. She wished to push him to remove the painter from Yoon Seungho’s side. Yet one might reject this thought, because it was impossible for her to know about the man’s presence. The entire time she was looking straight (chapter 69), and Min was sitting on the floor in the corner of the room. (chapter 69) She was even turning her back to him. But actually, she could have detected his presence, exactly like I had recognized him: through his laugh!! (chapter 69) And this would actually reinforce my interpretation that the noona was familiar with Min, and her encounter with him was not recent. Moreover, I would like to point out another discrepancy. This is what the kisaeng claimed to Yoon Seungho: (chapter 99) He was wearing a veiled hat, yet in chapter 69, this was not the case. (chapter 69) They could have seen his face, and as such recognize him as lord Min!! The kisaengs claimed that they had no idea, for they couldn’t see his face. But like pointed out, Black Heart was not wearing a veil in chapter 69! So they could identify him properly. People could have noticed that he was impersonating Lee Jihwa. That’s the reason why the villain had to change the hat!! Moreover, in this scene, he was not alone, he had been followed by his best friend, the noble with the mole. (chapter 69) That’s the reason why the trick with the first impersonation failed. Under this new approach, it becomes understandable why in season 3, Min was no longer followed by his friend and why he was wearing the hat with the black veil. They needed to ensure that no one would recognize his face. That way, the impersonation would be perfect, and Lee Jihwa could be framed easily. But this means that Black Heart must have got aware that the head-kisaeng had tried to trick him with her words in the hallway. This explains why in season 3, the woman got deceived herself with illusions. (chapter 88) (chapter 97) This was her karma. She had spoken with ill intentions (to achieve her goal by using a pawn), therefore she couldn’t speak in front of blood. This is no coincidence that her hands were covering her mouth, the opposite of her behavior in the hallway. Moreover, she had acted, as if she was caring for her brother, but the reality is that she cared more for the scholar than Baek Na-Kyum. In other words, the noona and Min were both fooling each other, they were constantly acting in front of each other. Hence when the noona saw the Joker in front of the scholar’s house, she feigned ignorance, while it was the opposite. (chapter 99) Under this new light, Min’s words get a new signification: (chapter 99) He was implying that they knew each other for a long time! The irony is that the manhwaphiles had the impression that their relationship was recent, and his cynical tone contributed to it. Secondly, he called her Heena, a sign that they were close to each other. Note that Lee Jihwa never mentioned her name. (chapter 99) His words even insinuate that Black Heart had just given the following order. The red-haired master should just fetch a kisaeng and in my opinion, Heena was waiting for Lee Jihwa’s arrival to leave the gibang. He had no idea about the kisaeng’s identity. The moment he arrived in the gibang, she just followed him. That way, they would avoid to attract attention, and with her new hair dress (chapter 99), she could no longer be recognized as the head-kisaeng. And this leads me to the following observation. When Heena was sent to the storage room, she actually lost her position as head-kisaeng. (chapter 93) In other words, when Yoon Seungho jailed her (chapter 93), the gibang had lost its “leader”. This explains why this noona as her right-hand had to explain the absence of the owner. (chapter 93). This scene (chapter 93) was actually announcing the downfall of Heena. She was about to desert the kisaeng house. She was giving up on her possessions and her position for “freedom”.

4. Heena and Yoon Chang-Hyeon

Because of the empty seat, I couldn’t help myself thinking of the elder master Yoon. (chapter 86) The latter had been eyeing the throne in the family mansion, but he failed to take over the mansion. This was the negative reflection of Heena. Whereas the kisaeng had a powerful position in the gibang, it was the opposite for the patriarch. He was no longer recognized as the head of the Yoons. Yet, both have something in common. Both lost their position for good, for Heena and Yoon Chang-Hyeon couldn’t take or keep the seat. We could say that both got defeated by Yoon Seungho. In chapter 93, the main lead acted as a respectful and calm master, whereas in the bedchamber he showed no respect to his own father. He talked back and even made fun of him. (chapter 87) This picture stands in opposition to this one: (chapter 93) To conclude, the surrogate mother and the patriarch made a similar experience in season 3. Both got deceived by manipulations and in both cases, letters played a huge role.

On the other hand, the noona chose to give up on her seat and position in order to avoid trouble with justice. The elder master Yoon decided to act the opposite. He made accusations against his son (chapter 94), definitely thinking that he was doing the right thing. He thought that he could never get into trouble. But this is just a deception in my opinion. As for the former head-kisaeng, she has to run away, for she did something wrong! In the past and in the present! She definitely plotted, and she is aware that her actions will have terrible repercussions.

5. Heena’s departure

This means that Heena chose to renounce on her position and wealth in order to save her own skin! That’s the reason why she faked her death. (chapter 99) No one would be looking for her. The problem is that the witnesses of her curtains all vanished. Lee Jihwa ran away, Black Heart got killed with his friends, and the only survivor, lord Jang, was confronted with real corpses in the shaman’s house. (chapter 102) That’s why I come to the deduction that her murder will be questioned. Why? There is no blood contrary to the bloodbath in the shaman’s house and there is no corpse!! Since Black Heart used different corpses in order to deceive Heena and the couple, there is no ambiguity that the head-kisaeng’s curtains will be doubted. Striking is that Heena staged her death out of cowardice and selfishness, while Yoon Seungho made the opposite decision. He was resolute to commit suicide in order to follow his lover in his death. During that night, Heena and Yoon Seungho lost their “home”, but at the end, he found his true home: the painters embrace. (chapter 102) He gave up on everything (fortune, house and life), hence he will be rewarded for all his sacrifices. Under this new light, I am more than ever convinced that Heena has not reached the bottom. Her karma is to be punished for her deceptions and acting!

As you can imagine, the moment I questioned the relationship between Heena and Min, everything appeared in a different light. It becomes comprehensible why Min would whisper to the head-kisaeng, why she didn’t push away his hand (chapter 96) (chapter 96), though he is a noble. Besides, I am suspecting her of suffering from genophobia (fear of sex and intimacy) Their behavior exposes closeness and a certain trust. But how is this possible? It is because she knows that Min is a sodomite, and he is not looking for sexual favors. That’s the reason why she trusted Black Heart in my opinion. Moreover, he is smiling like Jung In-Hun. Therefore it is not surprising that she was speaking like the Joker in chapter 97. Here, the man had actually projected his own thoughts onto Yoon Seungho, and due to her own belief, Heena was more than willing to believe Black Heart. . (chapter 97) That’s how I came to realize why in season 2, Jung In-Hun was mentioned in front of Min. (chapter 52) It is because Black Heart knew Heena! I even believe that he had already met the scholar. Note that the man with the black hanbok was repeating the rumors about the learned sir. And the other questioned the main lead’s action exposing that he had never heard about this grapevine before. Hence I am deducing that the one spreading this rumor could only be MIN!! That’s the reason why he just said this (chapter 52) That means that the noble knew the teacher in the end. Therefore it is no coincidence that Min was aware where the learned sir lived!! (chapter 83) And now, if you connect the two scenes from chapter 97 and chapter 52 , you can only come to the conclusion that Min was the learned sir’s previous sponsor, but at the end he changed his mind (chapter 52). Why? It is because there was an incident in the gibang!! (chapter 01) And who had covered up the incident? Heena, for she was the head-kisaeng! She had lied to her brother by blaming the biggest victim, Yoon Seungho, who was the man with the braid! This image is a real memory of Baek Na-Kyum from that night, yet from far away, the painter couldn’t see the face of the sodomite! This is another secret Heena has been hiding from her brother!

That’s how I realized that season 3 focused on the “face”, the symbol for identity. The readers could never see the face of all the corpses (chapter 94) (chapter 97) (chapter 97) (chapter 101), and even Kim hid his face under a hanbok. (chapter 92) That’s the reason why I believe that in season 4, the visage will play a major role! The couple will recognize people due to the face!! In my eyes, the former head-kisaeng knows the identities of all the persons involved in Yoon Seungho’s suffering.

Hence I am encouraging you to read Painter Of The Night once again under the following theory: Heena and Min knew each other, and Jung In-Hun had already been in contact with Min…. This is no coincidence that Black Heart had to die at the end. Jung In-Hun was killed, after Min had betrayed and abandoned the scholar. If he had kept his words… the murder of Jung In-Hun wouldn’t have taken place. But let’s not forget that according to me, this scene in the gibang (chapter 1) corresponds to Yoon Seungho’s first liberation. This means that the sponsorship was doomed to fail, because the gods would no longer tolerate the abuse. Min’s promise was short-lived, because his dream couldn’t come true. He had no longer any use of the scholar. This truly exposes that Heena told many stories to her brother in the past and in the present, yet only now, (chapter 97) her brother is detecting her deception.

PS: It would be great, if one of my readers could tell me the name of these flowers

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

Painter Of The Night: The liars 🤥 in front of the mirror of truth 👺 : Lee Jihwa and Yoon Chang-Hyeon (second version)

This is where you can read the manhwa. https://www.lezhinus.com/en/comic/painter But be aware that this manhwa is a mature Yaoi, which means, it is about homosexuality with explicit scenes. If you want to read more essays, here is the link to the table of contents:  https://bebebisous33analyses.wordpress.com/2020/07/04/table-of-contents-painter-of-the-night/ 

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

Announcement: The essays “Sex and passion” and “The puzzle with the paper” have been updated.

I selected these pictures as illustration for this essay for two reasons. On the one hand, the couple was still in denial about their true desires. Both wished to be embraced and loved by the other, yet in this panel they still feared to voice their own wishes. Why? It is because they dreaded disappointment and betrayal due to their painful past experiences. In other words, they were lying to themselves. Therefore it is no coincidence that at the end of season 3, the two protagonists were confronted with separation and real lies! They had waited for a sign from their partner, hence their karma was to wait and lose the right time. (chapter 102) The painter had confessed too late, for the schemers were already pulling the strings in the shadow. To conclude, the main leads’ self-deceptions were connected to love and time. The importance of self-manipulation leads me to the next observation. All the antagonists and villains were liars, because they were also deceiving themselves. They refused to admit their own fears and flaws, therefore they chose to commit a wrongdoing and manipulate others in order to hide their true thoughts. This means that not only the crime was covered up with a deception, but also the manipulation was hidden by another lie. This means that the list of their sins increased. Therefore it is not surprising that the gods chose to confront the liars with the verity, as they kept refusing to admit their sins. Now, it is time to focus on the antagonists and villains’ manipulations and the scenes where they were facing the mirror of truth. However, the readers are probably wondering where the mirror of truth is. The answer is simple. The mirrors of truth are not only the two main figures, but also Kim and Min, though they are their negative reflections. Remember that in Snow White, the item led the evil Queen to her doom, for the latter refused to accept reality. At the same time, the mirror of truth was not entirely honest either, for it never explained the definition of “Beauty”. In other words, it lied by “omission”. I realized that I can not examine all the antagonists and villains in one text, as I am so detail-oriented. Consequently, I selected Lee Jihwa and Yoon Chang-Hyeon first, for both characters’ lies are strongly intertwined.

1. The red-haired master’s sins

The manhwaphiles could witness his first wrongdoing in the study. He had kissed Yoon Seungho without his consent. (chapter 77) The problem is that he had been caught by the butler. Thus the door was open. The door is full of symbolism. It can represent opportunity, but also imprisonment. Simultaneously, the door embodies the passage from one world to another in religion and literature. In the analysis “The window, the door, the air and their signification”, I had explained that in Painter Of The Night, the door embodies the passage between the conscious and the unconscious. This means that when all the villains are confronted with the mirror of truth, they are standing on the doorstep. That’s why the reflection is linked to the open door. The characters are forced to face their own repressed desires and anxieties. Hence I deduce that the room symbolizes memories too, which means that we are dealing with repressed memories. In our first case, since Lee Jihwa was seen in the study, this means that when he got caught, he tried to deny his responsibility in the seduction. That’s how he started being in denial of his wrongdoing. Thus out of fear, he left his friend behind and as such he buried the incident in his unconscious. He tried to forget it. He convinced himself that he had seen the friend’s smile. This was the evidence of his “statement”, yet this was just an illusion. However, before he ran away, he lied to the butler too. He told him that the one who had kissed him had been the main lead. So not only he lied to the valet, but also to himself. That way, he was avoiding to feel guilty. There were two lies, and both were used to covered up his own wrongdoing. But the one who had been smiling, was in reality Lee Jihwa, as he had the impression that his dream had been fulfilled. Thus the author revealed the young master’s blushing, the expression of happiness. (chapter 77) However, since he had been caught by the valet, he was facing the butler’s visage. And what did he see in his facial expressions? Shock and horror!! That’s how Lee Jihwa realized the gravity of his sin and chose to blame his friend. Thus I imagine that he must have blushed again and this time out of shame and embarrassment. It is very possible that in that moment, he must have copied the valet’s facial expressions before leaving Yoon Seungho behind and lying to the butler. Why do I think so? It is because the butler had made such an expression in front of the barn, when he had been caught. (chapter 64) And what did the main lead say? (chapter 64) Since the painter seems to have forgotten it, I deduce that it was the reverse for Lee Jihwa which explains why he felt so guilty in the end. As for the butler, when he had barged in the study, he had committed a wrongdoing himself. He should have asked for the main lead’s permission, but he did not. Consequently, he decided to believe in Lee Jihwa’s deception. One hand washes the other. He was covering up the guest’s sin, while the latter was doing the same thing for the domestic, though I doubt that Lee Jihwa truly realized it. Simultaneously, Kim had the perfect justification to hide the violation of social norms. He had caught the main lead red-handed, hence no one would question his own action. As you already know, I associate the butler to Pilatus, therefore he is connected to the bucket.

And since the childhood friend had been able to avoid punishment by lying and putting the whole blame on his friend, he learned that he could get away by deceiving others and by putting the whole blame on his friend. I would even add that with this incident, he was taught another lesson: Silence and burying the truth. Note that he never came clean, he never exposed the truth to his friend or to the elders. That’s the reason why from that moment on, Lee Jihwa became a hypocrite, but deep down, he felt guilty and ashamed, for he couldn’t outlive his sexual orientation due to the horrified expression. He had to hide his homosexuality in front of others, hence later he had sex in the barn with Yoon Seungho. This explains why the spirits chose to confront Lee Jihwa with the truth on different occasions in season 1.

I could mention the argument between the main lead and the red-haired master. (chapter 13) However, in my eyes, this doesn’t represent the biggest confrontation with the mirror of truth. For me, it is the altercation in episode 17, for it took place in the same place than the aristocrat’s crime. When the red-haired master looked at the picture, he was suspecting that the painter had seduced his friend due to the insinuations by the staff. And his fear reached the peak, when he saw the painter’s reaction: (chapter 17) As you can see, in this episode, the gods were recreating the same situation: a servant had witnessed how the two men “were fooling around” (chapter 16), though this was definitely not the case!! And this is exactly like in the past, Yoon Seungho was totally pure and innocent. And what was Lee Jihwa’s reaction? A slap! (chapter 17) This is what Yoon Seungho had experienced in the past. Yoon Chang-Hyeon had definitely abused him. (chapter 57) Thus the main lead’s cheek was bruised. Then exactly like in the past, Lee Jihwa accused someone else of committing a crime. In the past, it was his friend, in the present it was Baek Na-Kyum. Both were portrayed as immoral seducers. (chapter 17) These words were exposing the verity about the past. Lee Jihwa was admitting in front of the painter that his friend would never act like that, and as such he had not attempted to woo him in the past. Striking is that in front of the painter, the red-haired master was misinterpreting the incident. Why? It is because he was influenced by his past experiences. Since he had lied twice, he jumped to the wrong conclusion that it was the same in the present. And back then, he had even achieved to fool Kim. Therefore he couldn’t allow himself to be fooled like the butler. That’s the reason why he couldn’t imagine that someone was innocent. (chapter 17) He was a liar in the past, so it must be the same for the painter. Yet, this was the negative reflection from the past. Thus his karma was to get caught by his childhood friend. Striking is that this time, he was put in his friend’s place. He was turning his back to the door. Moreover, due to his anger, he didn’t hear Yoon Seungho’s steps and the opening of the door! (chapter 17) But the childhood friend refused to face reality in that moment, and as such to admit his guilt and responsibility. Why? It is because he had committed another crime in the past. This is related to the bedchamber incident. (chapter 83) However, here he had been caught by his father, hence I believe that this confrontation represents mainly the elders’ punishment. As for Lee Jihwa, despite the humiliation and abandonment in chapter 18, he refused to give up on his friend. (chapter 18) One might say that he was motivated by love, yet I think that it is related to his denial about his sexual orientation. And this coincides with his lack of honesty. He had not confessed his own sins and lies yet. Therefore (chapter 36) he presented himself as a pitiful creature, as he was sharing the protagonist’s suffering due to his knowledge. However, this was not empathy, just sympathy. The person only feeling sympathy will always put a distance between himself and the counterpart. There‘s a “I“ and “you“, but no „we“. The person might come to pity the other, yet he won‘t intervene and help. He will just understand and that‘s it. (chapter 36) This panel is the evidence for this interpretation. Lee Jihwa never used the personal pronoun “we”, even during the abduction. (chapter 59) [For more information about sympathy read the essay “Sympathy for the devil”] Hence the gods let him meet the mirror of truth a second time: (chapter 43) Based on this panel, Lee Jihwa had more or less barged in the study, but his presence was detected too late! One detail caught my attention in this picture, the presence of the light reflected on the door. Hence I assume that the main lead detected the presence of a witness because of the light!! (chapter 43) Let’s not forget that the room was dark, when they were having sex. (chapter 42) He was still looking at his lover’s face, when he perceived the change of the light. Hence he turned his head in direction of the light reflected on the door. My friend Luzaly brought my attention to this detail. The couple was turning their back to the door before. (chapter 42) The form of the light reflected on the door doesn’t come from behind the gate (chapter 43), for this is what we would see: (chapter 97) And now, you comprehend why I came to the deduction that Lee Jihwa had witnessed the love session not from this door, (chapter 43) from a different point. This explicates why once again, the lord couldn’t see the identity of the so-called “peeper”. Besides, don’t forget that the author is working with reflections, as such this means that the second lead must have been placed differently. But this doesn’t end here. I would like to point out that during that evening, the main lead had left the door wide open, when he confronted the artist. (chapter 41) However, in the next episode, Byeonduck showed us a slight change. (chapter 42) The door was now close. This means that the butler had intervened at some point. This was the negative reflection from episode 20. (chapter 20) This time, the main lead had not requested for more privacy, for he had not detected the presence of his right-hand. And this leads me to the following conclusion. Since this is not the door (chapter 43) which had been opened by Lee Jihwa, it is impossible for the second main lead to have witnessed this embrace from this perspective. (chapter 43) I am even suspecting that he didn’t view this scene at all, because logically, the light should be coming from the other side!! But on the other side, there is no door!! (chapter 49) But there is the window…. And now, you comprehend why Yoon Seungho never investigated the matter with the “door”. It had never been opened in the first place. But how could Lee Jihwa imagine such a scene? (chapter 43) It is impossible, for he confessed later that he knew about the friend’s longing for an embrace! (chapter 57) However, here it is necessary to remind the readers of my previous character’s examination. I had described Lee Jihwa as trapped in a dark room, because he had lost his auditory and visual sense due to his guilt!! This was the price to pay for his sins. He had imagined to see the friend’s smile and he had lied to the butler. And since in episode 17, his visual senses were triggered (the painting, the painter’s facial expressions), I deduce that in chapter 42/43, this time Lee Jihwa was confronted with the mirror of truth through words. Through the window, he could hear the moaning of the couple, hence he couldn’t see the painter’s sadness. Moreover, this is what the painter said: (chapter 42). It sounded like he was indeed seducing the main lead. As for the embrace, he couldn’t hear it, but someone had heard the longing from the painter. (chapter 41) In other words, the butler had helped Lee Jihwa to spy on the couple and had even divulged what he had heard from before. Naturally, he had deceived the red-haired master by omission. He never mentioned the existence of the scholar and the painter’s broken heart!! One might argue that this is not possible. I am again overthinking. But I would like to outline the existence of the following rule on which the story was created: the reflection within the same episode. How did Black Heart manipulate the red-haired master in the pavilion? Through words and that’s how the childhood friend came to envision this scene: (chapter 43) The gods were punishing Lee Jihwa for his lie: his friend’s smile!! But I have more evidences for this theory. First, it is important to pay attention to Min’s words, when he manipulated Lee Jihwa. First, he portrayed the painter in a pejorative light with the idiom “indecent life”. (chapter 43) Moreover, the noble employed the personal pronoun “we”, which is not typical for the selfish and hypocrite villain. This means that he was repeating Kim’s words. Then he added how the couple would have sex in the barn (chapter 43) (“vulgar roll in the hay”), but this was not true. However, this is what had happened in the past with Lee Jihwa. The latter would have sex with his childhood friend in the storage room. This explicates why Lee Jihwa came to believe in Black Heart’s words and manipulations. With such a description, he was reminded of his own past!! Therefore it is not surprising that Lee Jihwa had such a vision. (chapter 43) This is what he had wished in the past, and what he had done too: he had seduced his friend and smiled… and he had been caught! In other words, Kim was actually viewing the red-haired master as an immoral witch: (chapter 43) Moreover, since this night was a reflection of the first Wedding night, this means that the author left a clue there. And now, look at this… (chapter 21) The windows!! As you can see, the door is not the only place to spy or interrupt intimacy. Secondly, we should have reflections of the spying through the window in season 2. (Chapter 49) In this episode, the light in the study had suddenly vanished, and this is what we had before: (Chapter 49) This darkness exposed the presence of someone outside. Then in episode 70, the author drew a panel focusing on the window and the bougies. (Chapter 70) I had already suspected back then, that someone was listening to their conversation, and with this new discovery, Lee Jihwa hearing the love session from the window, this interpretation gets reinforced. Furthermore, in chapter 96, the main lead had explained the opening of the door with this: (chapter 96). This signifies that in the past, the lord had explained the sudden opening of a window and the vanishing of the candle light with the wind during the night of chapter 49.

But why was Lee Jihwa confronted with the mirror of truth? It is because he was still dishonest. He kept deceiving himself and refusing to admit his wrongdoings. In the inn, this is what he had said in front of the nobles: (chapter 36) The reality is that he couldn’t cut ties with his friend. He had lied in the past, therefore he got manipulated in the present. And since he was confronted with his auditory and visual senses in season 1, he was put in a similar situation in season 2. However, there was a slight change, now the red-haired master was confronted with a real crime: murder!! The darkness of the room and the silence from Yoon Seungho and the painter were referring to the master’s loss of senses and his guilt. Deep down, the young master knew that the assassination was not right. And note that the aristocrat had this nightmare in his own bedroom confirming that the room is the symbol for the subconscious. Finally, in season 3, Lee Jihwa got confronted with another uncomfortable truth: his friend’s sexual abuse. Lee Jihwa had acted, as if this stolen kiss was nothing. However, due to his silence, he let his friend get raped. And he knew about this, but he chose to close an eye to this. First, Lee Jihwa refused to share his friend with the painter (chapter 18) implying that in the past, he had to share Yoon Seungho with other men. But since he had declared that the main lead had never taken an initiative, this signifies that the protagonist had no choice in the selection of his partners. He had not the right to refuse anyone, not even the red-haired master. Hence the latter got furious and angry, when he was rejected for the first time. (chapter 5) Therefore it is no coincidence that in the shaman’s house, he was put in the same position than Yoon Seungho. He couldn’t select his partner (chapter 100), he had to rape Baek Na-Kyum. This is no coincidence that the Joker was standing in front of the door. He was pushing the young man to face his repressed memories and lies. That’s the reason why exactly like in the pavilion (chapter 43), Black Heart coerced the antagonist. He used words to manipulate the second lead, but there is a huge difference. The shaman’s house was representing the young noble’s unconscious and as such his true personality, while it was not the case in the pavilion. The room in chapter 43 was more embodying the Joker’s unconscious. Why? It is because Lee Jihwa was speaking the truth in that scene. (chapter 43) He reproached Black Heart to have deceived him. On the other hand, the scene in the shaman’s house corroborates my interpretation that Lee Jihwa had not seen the embrace from chapter 42, for Black Heart was voicing the butler’s thoughts and emotions. (chapter 100) This shows that during the night of chapter 42/43, the valet had intervened. Thus Min was acting, as if he was a victim in the recent past. He had been deceived by Lee Jihwa’s lies by omission or commission. This is what had happened in the past. Besides, I realized that when the man confessed the incident in the bedchamber (chapter 83), Min couldn’t see the whole story. He had to rely on the second lead’s words. Just because we could observe the whole scene, this doesn’t mean that this was the case for the character. It is very likely that Lee Jihwa left details out, especially as he portrayed himself as a victim. Due to the narration, Min could have been misled. He could have envisioned that the childhood friend was living in the study and had dragged his friend to the bedchamber. Hence you comprehend why I consider it as another evidence that Lee Jihwa didn’t view the love session in the study from chapter 42 with his own eyes. He had to rely on his ears and naturally Kim played a role before Black Heart’s intervention. The servant hoped that Lee Jihwa would decide to do something…. in other words, he had been gradually manipulated by Kim and Min to hire an assassin. That way, he could be blamed for the murder of the scholar. He would become guilty by association. And the one pulling the strings behind the scene can only be the mysterious lord Song, for he can no longer interfere directly, though I am certain that he was not aware of the butler’s own meddling. Why? It is because in the past, Kim had never become proactive like that. Moreover, I think that even in the past, the man was not omniscient and omnipotent either. He over-estimated his own abilities, and didn’t recognize that he had been fooled himself either.

But let’s return to the scheme in the shaman’s house. The young master Lee was now cornered, for he had kept denying his own wrongdoings: the sexual assault with the stolen kiss and the lies by omission and by commission! What caught my attention is that the antagonist associated the sexual abuse with murder! (chapter 100) This is no coincidence, for the sexual abuse is the reason why Yoon Seungho’s heart and soul got destroyed. This had the same effect than killing someone, especially if the person is so innocent and pure. Because he recognized the truth, he had the courage to abandon and betray Black Heart. That’s how he could redeem himself in the end. (chapter 100) At the same time, this is not surprising that Lee Jihwa met his friend and admitted his wrongdoing. For the first time, he didn’t remain silent and chose to intervene!! I also believe that during that night, he apologized to the protagonist before vanishing. In other words, Lee Jihwa had to face 4 different mirrors of truth, until he was able to admit the verity. He was responsible for Yoon Seungho’s suffering. He had lied, therefore he got deceived, until he had no other choice to confess his guilt and sins.

2. Yoon Chang-Hyeon’s lies

In episode 77, we discover from the butler the patriarch’s following promise to Kim: (chapter 77) He would do anything to cure Yoon Seungho implying that he wouldn’t mind spending money for the main lead’s treatment. However, the truth was that he refused to send for the physician, when the young boy was sick after the straw mat beating. (chapter 77) This means that he broke his promise. Striking is that the vow to the butler was introduced in connection to the patio!! When the readers hear this promise, this is what we see shortly after. (chapter 77) Secondly, the elder master Yoon was seen shortly after there. (chapter 77) That’s how I realized that the elder master was connected to this patio in front of the building. Thus Byeonduck showed us him in this place in the gibang (chapter 87) Finally, there exists the flashbulb from Yoon Seungho’s memory: (chapter 55) My avid readers will certainly recall how I had claimed that this scene was representing Lee Jihwa and father Lee. I am not changing my mind, but I would like to point out that this story is built like a kaleidoscope and as such, each image is actually a reflection. Thereby I come to the conclusion that in this panel, the young boy and the elder are in verity embodying 4 people: the boy is Lee Jihwa and Yoon Seung-Won, as for the elder, it is father Lee and the elder Yoon. Why? It is because the punishments were related to the Lees’ behavior and words. There is no ambiguity that elder Lee intervened to protect his son’s reputation. In other words, father Yoon was seen in the patio in chapter 55. Then when he visited the physician, he remained outside too contrary to the main leads. (chapter 57) It was, as if the elder master had nothing to hide, for the domestic and the butler could hear him. However, the latter got deceived. There is no ambiguity that the valet and the young master trusted him. On the other hand, the valet was the one who introduced him to the physician, like we could see here. (chapter 57) But what does it mean? First, it shows that Yoon Chang-Hyeon was never seen in the bedchamber!! In other words, his power was fake. This interpretation gets validated, when I use the confrontation between Heena and Yoon Seungho. (chapter 65) In that very same place, the protagonist had been insulted and could do nothing, for neither Kim nor his staff intervened. And this perception reinforces my perception that the patriarch has always been delusional and arrogant, over-estimating his own power. Moreover, the lord was not honest either. (chapter 65) This shows that the patio is connected to violence, hypocrisy, deceptions and offenses.

Moreover, the patio in front of the bedchamber where anyone can see and hear the elder Yoon reminded me of the learned sir who selected the pavilion to incite the painter to disobey his host and sponsor. That’s why I started suspecting Yoon Chang-Hyeon again, if he had not manipulated the butler in the past and this on purpose. Moreover, since in Painter Of The Night, the room embodies memories and the unconscious, I deduce that the patio is exposing Yoon Chang-Hyeon’s true personality. He lacks not only integrity, but also knowledge. Let’s not forget that knowledge is acquired through reading and experiences. But in the patio, there is no book… and the person can only witness what is happening in the courtyard. This means that the view is limited and the person is not interacting with people. This explains why the man is stupid and superficial. Because of this new discovery, I had another revelation!!

According to the main lead, only his grand-father had a government post. (chapter 7) Then in the study, Yoon Seungho confessed that his father had been dismissed from his post which contradicts the previous statement. (chapter 80) But how did Yoon Chang-Hyeon obtain his office then? Then the expression “follow in his footsteps” caught my attention. That’s how I realized that the elder master never passed the civil service examination!! In truth, he failed terribly. How can I be so sure about this? First, the civil service examination consists of different tests. Secondly the idiom from Yoon Seungho indicates an gradual rise in the grandfather’s career which is not reflected in the lord’s confession to the messenger. Finally, in front of the mirror of truth, the father voiced the following wish: (chapter 86) This expectation exposes that this had not happened in the past. But why didn’t he expect this from Yoon Seungho earlier, though the latter had such a good notoriety? It is because he desired to be admired himself. He viewed himself as the Yoons. Thus he said this to his son: (chapter 86) This means that he was using his own sons for his own career, though he claims that he is doing for the Yoons’ notoriety. In other words, the patriarch’s position was obtained through sexual favors. But since the king was the sponsor, there is no ambiguity that at some point, the elder master must have started dreaming even bigger, similar to the scholar: (chapter 18) Hence I have the impression that he must have acted, as if he was the king’s relative. Hence he asked to be called by a certain title. This could only infuriate the mysterious lord Song, for the latter was hiding his sodomy and debauchery behind closed doors. No one was supposed to make a connection between him and the Yoons. However, I don’t think that the elder master Yoon had planned everything from the start. He had definitely been misguided, for in season 1 and 3, we could see that he was believing blindly what people would say to him. He never doubted his son’s words, when the latter said that Yoon Seungho had given him such a paper. (chapter 44) And it is the same with father Lee. That’s the reason why I still think that he had been manipulated. He was pushed to sell his own son, thinking that the Yoons would benefit from it. However, this was just a delusion, as he was dependent on the monarch’s benevolence.

Therefore I came to realize that the confrontation in the bedchamber in chapter 83 was actually organized to mock the elder master, but not only by Kim. (chapter 83) Here, he was confronted with reality. His power came from prostitution and nothing more! From my point of view, this scene was a reflection of the night in the study with Min: (chapter 53) But Yoon Chang-Hyeon refused to admit it, it went so far that he was denying his relationship with Yoon Seungho. He was just an animal. (chapter 83) The reason why I am connecting it to episode 53 is because of The Joker’s smile which reminded me of lord Song’s evil smirk. The man had a view to the patio, hence he could see who could enter the bedchamber or not. And observe that when the brutal father was in the bedchamber, the main lead never replied to him. This could only reinforce the man’s delusion and greed. That’s the reason why Yoon Seungho had to live in the barn and was not dressed properly. The elder master Yoon was avoiding his son for this reason. He was closing an eye to the truth. And that’s how he could convince himself that Yoon Seungho was just a sodomite. In other words, he came to believe his own lies, while in the beginning, he had definitely been deceived himself. To sum up, his evolution stands in opposition to Lee Jihwa. Instead of suffering from guilt and shame, he came to adopt this philosophy, Yoon Seungho is responsible for everything. His hatred towards the protagonist could only increase. But reality caught up with him during the same night! He ended losing his power, as all the noble families supporting him vanished. He had promised to cure his son, he ended up as a wreck. His health deteriorated, hence he is much thinner now. (chapter 87) He was paying the price for his lies about the cure. Furthermore, the manhwaphiles will realize that he is no longer seen in the patio. (chapter 44) This explicates why he refused to bid farewell to Yoon Seung-Won from the patio. This means that he chose to live in the bedroom, totally cut off from the world. And this leads me to the following observation. Once he met his son after such a long time, he refused to accept the verity. He was responsible for the situation and for Yoon Seungho’s suffering. This shows that his self-manipulations can no longer be removed. He remained once again totally delusional, thinking that the treason was just a subterfuge! (chapter 86) Why? It is because the young lord was supported by the “king”. But since he had cut ties with the main lead in the past, treating him like a servant, there is no doubt that the pedophile doesn’t view Yoon Chang-Hyeon in a good light. Hence the son became the true owner of the mansion. In the bedchamber, the father was confronted with the consequences of his decisions and lies. He had lost everything: his position as the head of the family, the propriety, the wealth and the connections. Thus he was left speechless. (chapter 86) But when he arrived in the study, this is what he saw. This picture revealed his greed and ambition (chapter 86), but he would never admit it. This is no coincidence that the open door is reflected with the shadow. He claimed to contribute to the lineage of the Yoons, but like mentioned above, he was only thinking about himself. This scene shows that he was eyeing for the throne, and this must have happened in the past too. That’s the reason why I believe that he did sell his son to a pedophile for his own greed and ambition, but he never admitted it. He used the family and traditions to hide his ruthlessness and selfishness. When the father was on the verge of leaving the study, he expressed his regret that he shouldn’t have saved his son. (chapter 87) This was another self-deception. Without the main lead, the latter would have lost everything. Note that he is living comfortably in the house in Hanyang. So if the young master were to disappear, I doubt that the mysterious lord Song will allow the father to take over the mansion. His regret implied that he shouldn’t have sent for a doctor. This is important, because this signifies that he will be punished the same way, it will be even worse. No one will be by his side to protect him and to save him… no one will request for the physician’s assistance. Similar to the broken promise in the patio: (chapter 77) Moreover, the father acted, as if he was decent and righteous (chapter 87), while Yoon Seungho was compared to a monster! (chapter 86) The outcome of his lie can only be that he will be perceived by people as a monster, as an immoral father who had no conscience at all. How do I come to this conclusion? First, the painter could see right through the father’s gaze. (chapter 87) He was a cruel and resentful father. Moreover, the lord’s words always become a reality. Hence the father can only be condemned as the licentious and depraved degenerate. (chapter 86), the black sheep! Furthermore the moment Yoon Chang-Hyeon loses the house in Hanyang, he has no place where he can hide himself from public gaze. He can only ended up as a powerless outcast. I am suspecting that since he longed to be admired and fawned, he could end up committing suicide, for he is unable to tolerate people’s rejection and insults. To conclude, the father refused to admit his guilt and wrongdoings till the end. Even cornered, he chose to avoid reality, preferring to trust father Lee and the butler’s lies. Why? It is because he envisioned that by removing the main lead, he could take over the mansion, and act, as if nothing had happened, as if Yoon Seungho had never existed. The gods will fulfil his wish so that he can be confronted with reality. Besides, note that the patriarch never stopped his son from kissing the painter, he even followed him to the seat. (chapter 87) This shows that deep down, the man was not truly against sodomy and prostitution. The father resented the son, for he could only achieve “glory” through debauchery and sodomy. I believe that the elder master Yoon was thinking like this: “no matter what” the Yoons’ power and notoriety must increase. In the bedchamber, the man exposed his true personality, while in the patio he was just the fake image of a powerful, decent and righteous man. This explicates why it took the teenager so long to realize the father’s betrayal. (chapter 55) In the patio, the son still trusted the patriarch. In reality, Yoon Chang-Hyeon needed admiration in order to feel alive. In other words, his credulity, arrogance, superficiality and narrow-mindedness were the causes for the downfall of the Yoons and the main lead’s suffering. We could say that the folding shield in his bedchamber truly reflected his personality. (chapter 82) He was just an empty shell, his knowledge, experiences and possessions were just an illusion.

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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!

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