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/

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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: The puzzle with the paper 📜 📨 (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 essay “The secret behind curry, apple and butter” has been updated.

Here, I would like to thank my friend Luzyla for her latest observations which made me realize the existence of a new connection!! Before elaborating my new discoveries, I would like to repeat the following principles on which the story was developed:

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

That’s the method I am using to unveil the mystery behind Yoon Seungho’s past and as such behind the painter’s.

1. Baek Na-Kyum’s apology

Everything started with this panel. (Chapter 5) Baek Na-Kyum was apologizing for his past behavior. He had insulted the main lead because of the poem. And his words sounded really similar to the butler’s in the library, for they both employed the same expressions: “That day” and “I spoke out of”. (Chapter 77) Striking is that the painter employed the expression “hand”, while the valet talked about “turn”. Why did they do that? It is because when Kim was caught committing a crime, he turned his head! (chapter 68) Thus in the library, the butler excused himself in front of the lord by using the following expression: “spoke out of turn”!! On the other hand, the painter had used his hand, (chapter 4), therefore he described his wrongdoing with the following expression “out of hand”. In my eyes, his words indicate the interference of the butler. Furthermore, the two men had a drop of sweat, a sign that they were not truly honest. (chapter 77) Both were apologizing, as they had wronged the noble. As you can imagine, the similarity in the excuse is no coincidence. The proof that both incidents are reflections is that they have another point in common. The wrongdoings of the low-borns had taken place in front of a gate. The butler had disobeyed his master (chapter 68), and the painter had assaulted the lord by trying to retrieve the poetry. (Chapter 4) Because both characters had violated social norms, showing disrespect towards a noble, (chapter 04) the consequence was that two people were pushed down, the black guard and Baek Na-Kyum. (Chapter 4) In other words, since Yoon Seungho had punished the butler due to the incidents in episode 67/68, I deduce that episodes 67/68 were reflections of episode 4/5 as well!! This corresponds to the rule 2 and 3.

1. 1. Yoon Seungho, the commoners and the Lees

But this doesn’t end here. When the lord caught Kim’s wrongdoing, he was returning from the Lees’ mansion (chapter 68). Since this is the positive reflection, I am deducing that in chapter 4, Yoon Seungho was actually returning to the domain of the Lees, as it should mirror the opposite. (chapter 4) Let’s not forget that just before the great entrance of Black Heart and the protagonist in chapter 67, this was what the author showed us: (chapter 67) And now compare the building to this one from chapter 1: (chapter 1) Under this light, my theory that Yoon Seungho was living with the Lees in the beginning of the story gets reinforced and even validated. In season 1, Yoon Seungho had sex with his friend in the pavilion so that the father and the staff could see the truth: the young master Jihwa was a sodomite. But since we saw Yoon Seungho in that building in episode 1, we jumped to the wrong conclusion that this was his house. But actually, from chapter 12 on, the author was showing us that we had been deceived. This was the lord’s house, and note that there is no building in the big courtyard contrary to the domain from chapter 67 and 1. (Chapter 12) (For more read the essay “Lee Jihwa’s special relationship with Yoon Seungho”) Then in season 2, the main lead forced the elder Lee to hear what he had been denying all this time (Chapter 67), while in chapter 3, he could only witness it from the patio. On the other hand, Yoon Seungho had been proactive during their sexual encounter, hence the father could only blame the main lead for his son’s debauchery. The intimacy in the pavilion was in verity hiding Yoon Seungho’s huge traumas. But due to Lee Jihwa’s confession in the inn, the red-haired master’s reputation got ruined in town and this must have definitely reached the father’s ears. Striking is that when Yoon Seungho confronted Lee Jihwa with his crime (abduction of a person from his household), the red-haired master ran away and hid behind the folding shield. Thus he never apologized to his friend. And it was the same with the elder Lee. The latter knew about his son’s wrongdoing, for he accused the intruder immediately. (Chapter 67) As you can see, the absence of the excuse from the uke and his father outlines that chapter 67 is a reflection of episode 5 and 77. I detect a pattern, chapter 5 contains a superficial apology, chapter 67 no apology and chapter 77 a fake excuse again. Furthermore the manhwalovers can recognize that in the same episode (episode 5), the antagonist Jihwa had indeed wounded the painter with his insult too, a reflection of episode 4. (Chapter 5) This confirms that chapter 5 is connected not only to episode 77, but also to chapter 67/68. We have the same elements: an incident linked to a door (chapter 67), insults towards the main leads, a wrongdoing, the allusion to love (chapter 67), a punishment, but also the absence or presence of an apology. But all of these episodes have other similarities: hypocrisy and arrogance. The Lees were looking down on Baek Na-Kyum and Yoon Seungho (chapter 5-67), while in episode 77, it was the butler who yelled and criticized the noble. (chapter 77) By detecting a reflection between these chapters, I had a new revelation.

1. 2. The lord and the papers

In addition, if the manhwaphiles compare the scene with the painter’s excuse (chapter 5) to the scene with the butler’s (chapter 77), they can detect the fourth parallel: Yoon Seungho’s correspondence. 😮 How is it possible, as in episode 5, the noble never wrote a letter? In fact, he gave the poem to the black guard for the investigation. On the other hand, it looked, as though Yoon Seungho had written a letter (chapter 5), while it was not the case. As you can see, anyone seeing the black guard leaving the owner’s study could have had the impression that the lord had written a letter. This means that this mistake must have taken place later again due to the rule 2! The manhwalovers could discover the deception in chapter 37/38!! (chapter 38) That’s how Jung In-Hun got misled. (chapter 38) Yoon Seung-Won had never received a letter, but the ruined painting. The readers only discovered the trick in the final episode, when the father was looking at the picture. And this connection between a letter and a painting was reflected in season 2. While Min stole the painter’s last creation (chapter 56), Jihwa sent a forged letter (chapter 56). Striking is that the butler was the one who received the paper before delivering it to his sick master. These two scenes (38-56) indicate that the valet is related to the correspondence. Moreover, he was seen delivering the message to Yoon Seungho in the courtyard. (chapter 35)

All this proves that in chapter 5, the butler had seen the black guard departing from the study with the paper in the hand, and he had jumped to the wrong conclusion that his master had written a letter. Therefore right after this conversation, the lord’s table vanished. (chapter 5) It was, as if he was not allowed to write any letter. So where did the table go? To the study!! What caught my attention is that after the first painting (chapter 2), the table had been removed from the study, just like the papers. (chapter 4) This was no coincidence. It had been sent to the lord’s bedroom, but after the lord had tasked the black guard, it was no longer there. This is the indication that someone was interfering with Yoon Seungho’s habit to take a brush. And this can only be Kim. As you can see, the appearance and the vanishing of the small table is the element which was reflected in chapter 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. And now, look at the scene where Lee Jihwa met Min. (chapter 67) The table had also disappeared. And when did it happen? (chapter 21) The noble had ransacked his own room with his sword. And what did we see in that episode? A paper folded in a book. (chapter 21) In other words, the First Wedding night is also a reflection from these chapters (4/5, 67/68, 77), for it contains the same elements: (chapter 20) an incident with a door, someone is pushed down, a wrongdoing committed against Yoon Seungho (theft), an apology (episode 19) and the importance of the table. According to me, the valet had put the expensive wine on the painter’s table on purpose. To conclude, I see a connection between episode 4/5, 19/20/21, 67/68 and 77.

And now. you are wondering if I am not drifting away from my initial statement, the painter’s apology. However, I would like to remind the readers that in order to write a letter, a person usually needs to have a table in order to write properly. So imagine the butler’s reaction, when he hears from Yoon Seungho this: (chapter 77) He can not trust his words, especially since he views the nobles as violent liars. Why? It is because there was this huge table. This is no coincidence that right after the valet betrayed the main lead and wrote a message to the patriarch. That’s how I had another revelation. The butler is symbolized by the table! Thus he was often seen with this small table (chapter 11) (chapter 17) To conclude, when the butler saw the black guard leaving the mansion, he believed that his master had sent words to someone! That’s the reason why he removed the table and returned it to the painter’s study.

(chapter 5) However, this was just the poem!! This confusion between a letter and a poem should be reflected in season 3 according to rule 3. That’s how I came to the conclusion that when the painter returned to the annex and took the poem, he was actually taking a letter (chapter 97) written by Yoon Seungho, but he envisioned that this was the Spring poem! (chapter 97) We had the same situation. Black Heart had stolen the Spring poem, and the noonas had deceived the protagonists by faking admiration in front of an empty paper. (chapter 93) Since the paper in episode 93 was empty, I could only come to the deduction that this paper contained words!! (chapter 97) Another evidence for this theory is the color of the paper, for the second doesn’t have a shade of pink. Then I suddenly recalled that the artist had received two calligraphies, the one from his beloved and the other from the old bearded man. (chapter 92) The latter’s work was a copy of Yoon Seungho’s poetry, the repetition from chapter 4. Hence you comprehend why I deduce that the paper in the annex was different from the Spring poem. So during that night, Yoon Seungho left a note to his lover, and that’s how the butler discovered that the artist could not read Chinese, for he saw his master writing in hangeul. But there exists another evidence for this interpretation. Baek Na-Kyum had wished this: (chapter 97) The goddess was actually fulfilling his wish, when she reminded him of the Spring poem.

And that’s how I realized why Kim had suggested to his master that two servants should remain by Baek Na-Kyum’s side and bring him back to the mansion. The reason is simple. The two domestics were to divert the artist’s attention, that way the painter wouldn’t read the letter. If the domestics were present, they could give some information to the painter without revealing too much. (chapter 97) If the lord had mentioned in the letter that they had found the corpse of Deok-Jae, the painter would have believed him. However, as you can envision it, the butler and Min were determined to generate a misunderstanding, to create the illusion that the scholar had died. Consequently, the servants deceived the main lead by omitting the existence of the paper. They had not delivered the message properly.

In other words, the letter is connected to a painting and a poem, yet each time, the paper was stolen or misused. Striking is that none of the main characters noticed the switch or the vanishing. We could say that this was Yoon Seungho’s karma for stealing the painter’s belonging. (chapter 4) His own poetry got stolen. But let’s return our attention to episode 5. Since the lord had given the poem to the black guard, this signifies that the lord no longer had the sijo. Therefore he had to write the poem again in order to mask the disappearance. In my opinion, he must have copied the original poetry for the artist in order to prove that he had not been lying. Hence the paper looked different. And this brings me back to the painter’s apology in the patio. (chapter 5) Why did the painter apologize to Yoon Seungho in the end? How did he come up with such an idea? It is because this had been suggested to the artist by Kim. This explicates why he was speaking like the butler. The latter had actually made a huge error, when he advised the artist. Why? It is because he was mixing cause and consequence. In the valet’s mind, the lord had kept the message, for the painter had offended him. So if he were to confess his wrongdoing, the lord would return the poem, and after that, it was just a matter of time, until the painter would desert the propriety. However, the lord had stated this: (chapter 04) That’s the reason why he had taken it in the first place.

Since Kim had been the one suggesting to the painter to beg for forgiveness with the hope that he would get back his poetry, it is normal that Kim was present, when the poetry was returned. (chapter 7) But where is the sijo now?

In my eyes, Kim had witnessed how the paper had left the property in the past, and he had not intervened. Why? It is because of the black guard. (chapter 65) Moreover, I believe that in chapter 65, he had collaborated with the noona. He had shown her the painting of Baek Na-Kyum, while in the study there was a blank paper. As you can see, in season 2, we had again this connection between a painting and blank paper. But let’s return our attention to chapter 5. The black guard was acting on the order of someone else, Yoon Seungho was not the one hiring him. The butler hates ruckus, his MO is to lie low and act in the shadow. If he had retrieved the paper, the man could report it to the master of the black guard. On the other hand, he could have asked the warden about his master’s request. He just needed to say that he desired to assist him, similar to this situation. (chapter 82) Thus I conclude that when the lord returned the paper to Baek Na-Kyum (chapter 7), Kim must have realized his error. He had mistaken the poem for a letter!! This explains why he repeated the trick with the younger master Seung-Won. But unfortunately for him, he was caught by the teacher who asked the painter about the letter the next morning. (chapter 38) Baek Na-Kyum could have realized that the butler had acted behind his master’s back. The problem is that during that evening, the lord had indeed written a letter to his brother (chapter 36), but the moment the latter interrupted the couple (chapter 37), Yoon Seungho chose to hide it. But why is it important? It is because if the painter had mentioned the paper given to the younger master to Yoon Seungho, the latter could have noticed the valet’s meddling and wrongdoing. On the surface, it looked like Kim had written himself a letter to the younger master. In other words, in episode 37/38, the butler gave the impression that he was a spy, for he was acting without his master’s permission. He had even left the propriety, as he was standing outside in front of the gate. Don’t forget that during the meeting, the brother had mentioned that he had sent him many letters (chapter 37), and there is no ambiguity that Kim had intervened. Here, the lord had said nothing, for he imagined that Kim had done it to protect him from his family.

According to my theory, Yoon Seungho was living with the Lees, and as such Baek Na-Kyum had to trespass the propriety in order to retrieve his tools and vanish!! (Chapter 4) But on his way out, he met Yoon Seungho who had just missed the painter’s departure. But there, he discovered that the main lead had stolen his poetry. (Chapter 04) Therefore he was forced to return to the mansion. At the same time, Yoon Seungho was encouraged to come back to the propriety too. He had to keep an eye on the painter. He couldn’t be so sure that the poem was strong enough to keep Baek Na-Kyum by his side. Therefore it is not surprising that in episode 5, Yoon Seungho was seen sitting in front of the window smoking. (chapter 5) He was looking at the gate and as such making sure that the artist’s departure would be noticed. By sending the low-born to the Lees’ mansion, Kim was encouraging the painter to commit a crime: trespassing! But the artist was fortunate, for he was not caught by the lord of the mansion, who preferred hiding due to the ruckus caused by his own son. 😉 As for Yoon Seungho, he came back to the mansion and saw the empty study. Kim just needed to say that the low-born had left to the Lees’ mansion. This is important, because this indicates that in chapter 4, the couple missed each other first! And this situation was repeated in season 3, precisely in chapter 98, when the lord returned from the bureau of investigation (chapter 98)! The lord arrived just after the painter’s departure. And who was with the main lead? Kim. As you can see, the lord’s luck seems not to be on his side, for Baek Na-Kyum had just left the propriety. Once again… the lord was standing in front of the gate!! As for season 2, this time, it was Kim’s fate to miss his master. (chapter 56) The reason for this punishment is simple. He had sent away the artist to the study just before Yoon Seungho regained consciousness. The latter didn’t see that the artist had taken care of him during that night. Thus the butler’s karma was not to notice his master’s departure which stands in opposition to chapter 4 and 98. And note that all these chapters have the paper as common denominator. So imagine the butler’s surprise in episode 4, when he witnessed the artist’s return to the mansion followed by his master. He had sent away Baek Na-Kyum with the hope that the artist would desert the town for good, but no…

2. Kim’s hidden action

Kim must have been intrigued. Why did Baek Na-Kyum come back? He had witnessed the execution of a servant, then he had been abducted before getting imprisoned in the storage room. Finally, he had been threatened and forced to paint an erotic picture. Hence Kim felt the urge to discover the reasons for the painter’s behavior. In other words, he must have interrogated him, the older version of this scene: (chapter 23) The first similarity is the allusion to his bag. The butler was actually thinking that during the hunt, the painter would decide to run away. That’s the reason why he asked about his belonging, for in the past, he only wished to vanish after retrieving his tools. Naturally, the artist saw no harm in the butler’s question and answered truthfully. He must have narrated the argument in the courtyard about the poem. Yoon Seungho had kept the sijo, consequently the painter had used his hand to take it back and had by mistake removed the lord’s hat. Thus Kim must have told him that he just needed to apologize. But one might say that this is just a story imagined by me. The manhwaphiles never saw such a scene. But don’t forget the existence of the reflections. I have definitely an evidence for this theory. Since the butler had manipulated the painter in chapter 4 in order to get rid of this uninvited guest, his karma was to receive a new guest!! (chapter 7) This is not what the valet truly desired at all. He wanted to live in peace. But now, he had three new people he had to serve: Jung In-Hun, the painter and his own master Yoon Seungho who had lived for quite some time in the Lees’ mansion. He had to work!! And note that in this episode 7, we have the following elements:

  • The arrival of a guest, exactly like in episode 4-5; 67/68 and 77.
  • a paper
  • the library
  • a reference to “love”
  • the first appearance of Kim
  • The existence of a deal which is also present in chapter 4 and 77
  • The connection between the letter and a poem (chapter 5-77)

This truly shows that during that night (chapter 77), the valet chose to write a letter in order to denunciate the protagonist. As you already know, attack is the best defense. Exactly like in the courtyard, he badmouthed a noble, this time he must have compared Yoon Seungho to the younger brother Yoon Seung-Won. The latter would succeed with the civil service examination and bring glory to the Yoons, whereas the main lead would only live like an idle sodomite.

Through this contrast, another detail caught my attention. (chapter 7) How did Yoon Seungho know that the learned sir had no connection and was poor? Who had told him that? One might think that this can only be the butler. However, Yoon Seungho had tasked the black guard to investigate and not Kim. Yet, there is no ambiguity that the latter definitely played a role in this investigation. Why? It is because of the expressions the main lead was using: “hardly knows”, “determination”, “labor in vain” which resembles to the valet’s vocabulary, though he embodies the opposite: ignorance, hesitation and laziness. The aristocrat’s description about the teacher is actually questioning the main lead’s actions. If Jung In-Hun was portrayed as poor and powerless, why would he sponsor such a scholar? He would gain nothing. Moreover, with such a portrait, the speaker is implying that only through connections you can achieve greatness. These words are actually exposing the meaningless of the civil service examination. In other words, this description was already insinuating the existence of sodomy, sex in exchange of favors. And this negative depiction of the civil service examination was exposed once again in the gibang. (chapter 93) It was a futile dream. When I had analyzed episode 93, I had explained that the speech from the main lead was influenced by the butler. As you can see, the lord’s narration (chapter 7) was mirroring the valet’s mentality and meddling. He had tried to stop his master from visiting the learned sir the day before. However, I don’t think that Kim is only responsible for this negative characterization of Jung In-Hun in episode 7! Why? First, we never saw the return of the black guard, but when the main lead visited the learned sir’s mansion, he was followed by another one! (chapter 6) There was a switch. That’s how I had this revelation. Heena is the missing link between the learned sir and the protagonist. And observe that in episode 93, we have the same elements again:

An empty paper which is confused with the poem

The incident with the door: (chapter 93) This time, Heena is the one standing behind closed doors, while it was Yoon Seungho in chapter 77

The reference to the library:

The allusion to Kim

The presence of love and affection:

The lord got badmouthed

The fake apology: (chapter 93) In chapter 99, the noonas still lied to him.

An invitation (chapter 93), which was also present in chapter 4/5, 7 and 67/68 and finally 77 ! Since episode 93 is a reflection of episode 7, I could only come to the conclusion that Heena was the one standing behind the black guard! Besides, I had already discovered that Heena was associated to the table as well (see chapter 94 and 68). She represents the link between the butler and Jung In-Hun. She had already collaborated with the valet in episode 65. So from my point of view, she must have received the scholar’s poem with Yoon Seungho’s request. But what could she do with it? Keep it? No… her interference would have been noticed. Hence I believe that the kisaeng was not acting on her own. She was following the orders from the mysterious “lord Song”. At the same time, I think that she is also connected to the Lees. This would explicate why the black guards would change between episode 1, 5 and 6. Finally, according to me, the learned sir had connections to elder Lee, for he had seen the baby Na-Kyum at the gate. (chapter 1) [For more read the essay “Baek Na-Kyum’s origins”] There is no ambiguity that these words (chapter 7) were not reflecting the verity.

In other words, she had been working for two people, just like the butler was turning Yoon Chang-HYeon against the son and the reverse. Both stands for disloyalty. Therefore it is no coincidence that the kisaeng was seen with different black guards in chapter 64. On the other hand, the readers should keep in their mind that the black guard can be seen as a double-edged sword. They can serve as protectors, but also as “spies and as captors”. They could report Heena’s actions to the nobleman who had hired the black guards. Finally, the manhwaphiles will certainly recall the butler’s statement: (chapter 55) Who was lord Song’s contact person then? In the past, I used to think that he was the one receiving the letters. But now, I have a different opinion. I believe, it is Heena! Why? It is because Kim couldn’t identify lord Song’s writing. According to me, Yoon Seungho was sent to the gibang in order to entertain the mysterious “lord Song”. Thereby I am assuming that the kisaeng would receive a word from lord Song and have the main lead fetched from the mansion by the black guards. Heena and Yoon Chang-Hyeon are the only ones seen with black guards, I am excluding the main lead, as he was always more or less their prisoner. As you can see, there is a connection between the noona and the Yoons.

3. Heena and the letters

First, I would like to point out that the kisaeng mentioned letters twice in season 2. (chapter 68)(chapter 69) and in season 3, the noona sent messages to her brother herself. In two different chapters (chapter 91), she is related to papers. (chapter 97) Logically, the noona in connection with the letter should be present in season 1. Secondly, when the woman appeared for the first time (chapter 64), she was accompanied with 2 guards, which is quite similar to the lord’s situation in chapter 1. That’s the reason why I believe that she didn’t keep the learned sir’s poem. Her betrayal could have been noticed and this was the first time that Yoon Seungho was making such a request.

So where is the teacher’s sijo? It was received by the mysterious “lord Song”. That’s how he discovered that his ex-lover was showing an interest in the learned sir. This is important, because the poem will serve as the evidence to identify the murderer behind Jung In-Hun’s death. On the other hand, one might refute this idea, for the teacher was seen in his bedroom with the paper. (chapter 21) But if you look more closely at the paper, you will realize that it resembles a lot more to this one due to the marble effect. (chapter 7) Nevertheless, the paper looks damaged in the previous panel. But this could be the result of anger, like this. (chapter 56) This would follow rule 3. Then according to rule 2 of the kaleidoscope, elements from one episode will be constantly mirrored in the next chapters. And what did we have in episode 19? A larceny… the bottle of wine vanished. Then in episode 20, the lord stole the scholar’s identity, while he stole the painter’s virginity. Hence the lord apologized to the painter for his wrongdoings. (chapter 21) And above I had already demonstrated the connection between the First Wedding Night and chapter 5 and 77! Here the lord was imitating the pedophile’s behavior, hence you comprehend why I think that lord Song was the recipient of the poem. I would like my readers to keep in their mind that the learned sir’s sijo was referring to a painful departure, the loss of a loved one and despair! The beholder could have the impression that the author was suicidal due to the mention of the well and the torment of the mind. Thus I am now assuming that the “mysterious lord Song” will consider the sijo as a farewell, the lord chose to commit suicide and his death was related to Jung In-Hun’s curtains. Why? It is because Heena wrote letters to her brother where she accused the main lead of killing the learned sir. Moreover, Yoon Seung-Won had definitely mistaken the painter for the learned sir. (chapter 37) His position revealed that the main lead trusted the artist. It was, as if he was treating him like his wife. (chapter 97) And from my point of view, these messages were never burned. That way, Kim can put the whole blame on the kisaeng and her brother!! The butler can even reveal how Yoon Chang-Hyeon had harassed the son and tried to frame him for the death of his messenger.

But since “lord Song” was behind the scholar’s murder, he can only retaliate against Lee Jihwa and Min’s friends. Why? Because he will deny his responsibility in the crime, though he was the one who ordered it! Exactly like in the past. He had never assumed any responsibility, he always let others take the accountability. He needs to find a culprit in order to vent his fury. If they had not brought up the learned sir’s assassination, then Yoon Seungho “could have lived” in peace. To conclude, when the lord gave the paper to the black guard, the pedophile had the impression that the main character was rekindling with him, for he was asking for his help. He was far away from him. In his eyes, he had contacted him, “lord Song” alias the king!! And now, it becomes understandable why lord Song sent hanboks and asked Min to organize parties for Yoon Seungho!! It is because the pedophile believed that the main lead was no longer pushing him away or had accepted him. This is not surprising that little by little, the main lead’s hanboks became more and more beautiful. Don’t forget the following rule, the painter’s situation will be mirrored in the lord’s. Thus in chapter 34, Yoon Seungho returned with a hanbok covered with cranes (chapter 34), and shortly after the painter was sent to the tailor. But during that night, the pedophile and Yoon Seungho had missed each other due to Baek Na-Kyum. He was not dead. So when the painter received new clothes, it was the same for Yoon Seungho. Yet, the pedophile was gravely mistaken. Why? The sijo had been stolen, and as such it was never addressed to the pedophile. Furthermore, it is because the lord was suffering from memory loss. Moreover, I believe that the main lead is not aware of the true identity of his sexual abuser. In his mind, it is just lord Song. But this doesn’t end here.

According to me, the main lead wrote a letter to his lover in the gibang. This signifies that someone else must have done the same due to rule 1 and 2. The reference of the Spring poem in chapter 97 indicates the presence of a letter in the previous episode or the next! From my point of view, Min must have asked the kisaeng to contact “lord Song”!! And don’t forget that in season 2, we had a forged letter. (chapter 57) And who was behind this? Black Heart’s friend. But then it came to my mind that Black Heart had stolen the Spring poem… so he could have sent the paper to lord Song and the latter would have mistaken it as a letter from Yoon Seungho, the latter was reaching out to him. He was wishing him luck!! So imagine that when the man arrives in Jemulpo, he imagines that the main lead is waiting for him only to discover that Yoon Seungho vanished. He wished to die because of the loss of a loved one. And that’s how he will recall the poetry of the learned sir… the reflection of this night!! (chapter 94) In episode 4, the lord had laughed about the sijo, but it was no longer the case in the kisaeng house. In my eyes, the pedophile will go through the same experience. Yes, the effect of the kaleidoscope. He will perceive the learned sir’s poetry under a different perspective. Only in that moment, he will realize the suicidal tone in the sijo. He will question how Yoon Seungho could become so desperate and suicidal so suddenly. And now, you comprehend why Heena was trembling in front of her brother, and why she had planned to leave the gibang that night!! She was aware of the arrival of “lord Song”. She knows how cruel and ruthless he can be.

And Lee Jihwa’s words will become a reality. (chapter 101) Blood will flow… The proof for this expectation is that chapter 67, 77, 82 and 93 are all referring to punishment. Kim had been beaten in episode 77, while the kisaeng was imprisoned in the storage room. Moreover, we have the use of the sword in episode 21 and 67… and during these nights, the protagonists had made love to each other.

4. Father Lee’s message

Since the Lees are connected to paper in the form of the paintings and the letter, (chapter 5, 10, 15, 17, 56), I had suddenly this question! Why didn’t Lee send a word to Yoon Chang-Hyeon? Why did he have to visit him during the night? (chapter 82) (chapter 82) It is because he didn’t want to leave any evidence of his intervention. No one should notice that he had paid a visit to the patriarch either. His visit should remain a secret. He was actually afraid of getting detected. The reason is simple. He was fearing the person standing behind Yoon Seungho, lord Song. He had two reasons for this. First, he could see that Yoon Seungho was no longer treated like an animal or male kisaeng. (chapter 67) He was even better dressed than his own son. The hanbok was exposing the support from the “pedophile”. Secondly, the main lead had threatened him. (chapter 67) Here, the lord had just insinuated that if something like that happened again, he would go to the authorities. However, since this threat was rather ambiguous, the patriarch Lee could only interpret it that way. The main lead would report the incident to the “mysterious lord Song”, alias the king. And father Lee knew that he could get into trouble. Furthermore, since these elders are all hypocrites and liars, there is no doubt that father Lee feared that the protagonist wouldn’t keep his words. That’s the reason why he approached the father. He hoped that Yoon Chang-Hyeon would intervene and impose his will onto his son. He would tame the main character. In other words, episode 82 is a reflection of chapter 4/5, 19/20/21, 67/68 and 77. The first common denominator is the allusion to letters. The messenger’s words revealed that Kim had contacted the elder Yoon, for he already knew his name, though the latter had never met the domestic. Secondly, the “letters” were delivered orally: (chapter 82), and even in person: Father Lee and the emissary. Third, the elder Lee badmouthed Yoon Seungho by mentioning the incident from chapter 67, and refused the invitation of his host (chapter 82). Finally, he called Baek Na-Kyum a peasant exactly like the main lead in front of the gate: (chapter 82). But more important, the old bearded man expressed this fear: the loss of his family home! (chapter 82) And remember that I had detected the presence of the Lees’ mansion in episode 4 and it was also present in chapter 21 and 67! And what had the butler done during these chapters? He had tried to chase away the painter and as such Yoon Seungho. The latter was not supposed to live in the Yoons’ domain. And this will be the Lees’ karma to be driven out of their own house!

5. Conclusions

And now, you comprehend why the sijo from season 1 has not appeared yet. The couple will be able to identify the culprits with the “letters”, the poems. Remember the kisaeng’s words: (chapter 97) The absence of the messages was the evidence of the main lead’s wrongdoing. However, the moment the letters resurface, they will expose the noona’s lies. It doesn’t matter, if she had been deceived. She chose to trust the butler, without verifying the facts. To conclude, the poems will serve as proof for the crimes and I would even go so far to say that the papers, mistaken for letters, are the tools to expose the truth. Yoon Seungho had never contacted lord Song, for he hates him to the core. He is connected to his suffering and martyrdom, therefore he can only view the man as the bird of misfortune, while the latter had the impression that he was now getting closer to the main lead. Consequently, he considered him as his crane! But this man is exactly like Min, totally dishonest and irresponsible. I couldn’t help myself thinking of this folding shield again: (chapter 83) It vanished, and as such it was stolen. Did the mysterious lord Song take it away in order to force Yoon Seungho to paint? The older version of this scene: (chapter 4) And remember that the “paper” is also connected to paintings. However, since this is a reflection of episode 4, I am more inclined to think hat the real purpose was to take the picture and the man had never the intention to return it. Naturally, at some point, the man had a change of heart concerning the main lead, for thanks to him, he could outlive all his sexual fantasies. And this leads me to the following conclusion. The moment, Yoon Seungho sees this painting again, he will recognize the identity of the thief. To sum up, the paper is the proof of wrongdoings, thereby we have this publication: (chapter 1) The paintings were illustrating that the pedophile was having sex with a minor.

PS: I have still so much to say about the comparison between chapter 5 and 77 and the “paper” that I will write another analysis about this.

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

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

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

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

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

1. Brown-nosing and boot licking

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

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

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

2. Apple and fellatio

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

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

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

3. Baek Na-Kyum and Kim’s sucking

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

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

4. The night of Yoon Seungho’s relapse

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

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

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

5. The night in the shaman’s house

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

6. The Yoons

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

7. Conclusions

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

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

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

Painter Of The Night: Hunted or wanted? 🏹🩸

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

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

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

1. The hidden chases

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

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

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

2. Yoon Seungho the hunter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Hunting: hobby or work?

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

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

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

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

To conclude, the hunter can become hunted too.

4. Chased

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Painter Of The Night / Payback: “Innocent or not guilty?“⚖️

This is where you can read these manhwas. Payback: https://www.lezhinus.com/en/comic/payback_en Painter Of The Night: https://www.lezhinus.com/en/comic/painter But be aware that these manhwas are mature Yaoi, which means, it is about homosexuality with explicit scenes. If you want to read more essays, here is the link to the table of contents concerning Painter Of The Night:  https://bebebisous33analyses.wordpress.com/2020/07/04/table-of-contents-painter-of-the-night/ Here, you can find more analyses about other manhwas: https://bebebisous33analyses.com/2021/06/06/table-of-contents-of-analyzed-mentioned-manhwas/

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

1. Lee Yoohan, innocent or not guilty?

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

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

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

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

2. Lee Jihwa, a criminal or a sinner?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Painter Of The Night: Baek Na-Kyum’s origins

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

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

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

1. Baek Na-Kyum as baby

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

1. 1. Comparison between episode 1 and 101

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

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

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

1. 2. The fateful place

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

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

1. 3. The identity of the witness

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

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

1. Baek Na-Kyum and the gibang

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

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

2. The noble Na-Kyum

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

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

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

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

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

3. Baek Na-Kyum’s murder

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

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

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

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

4. Conclusions

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

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

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