Painter Of The Night: Baek Na-Kyum’s foot 👣👣

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

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

Announcement: Shocking discoveries has been updated again.

1. The caress on the child’s foot

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

2. The strolls

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. The learned sir’s hanboks

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

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

4. Love and feet

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

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

Your feet will bring you to where your heart is.

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

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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.

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

Painter Of The Night: The rise of the dragon 🐲

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

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

1. Yoon Seungho the king

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

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

2. Yongwang

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Dragon and imoogi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Dragon king and expulsion

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

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

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

5. Nightmare and dream

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Baek Na-Kyum as baby

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

1. 1. Comparison between episode 1 and 101

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

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

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

1. 2. The fateful place

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

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

1. 3. The identity of the witness

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

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

1. Baek Na-Kyum and the gibang

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

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

2. The noble Na-Kyum

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

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

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

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

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

3. Baek Na-Kyum’s murder

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

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

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

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

4. Conclusions

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

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

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

Painter Of The Night: Silent light 🕯 and noisy darkness (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.

As you can see, this new analysis is quite similar to the last two, as I am paying attention to sound and silence again. Nevertheless, there exists one huge difference to the previous essays. I am combining these elements to the darkness and the light. I had already pointed out the contrast between the noble and the painter‘s nightmare. While Yoon Seungho‘s bad vision starts with the appearance of the light (chapter 74), it is the opposite with the painter. (chapter 98) Furthermore, the silence in the noble’s nightmare took over the moment the candle was switched on. That’s how I recognize a new pattern. The combination between silence and light plays a huge role in the story, for it helps to unmask the traitors. Under this new observation, I decided to revisit certain chapters.

1. Lord Song‘s letter

As you can see, I am reexamining chapter 56, and more precisely the scene in the bedchamber. What caught my attention is that contrary to the other chapters, Byeonduck didn’t choose to repeat the ending of episode 55. (chapter 55) The chapter begins in medias res (chapter 56), which means that there’s no introduction, the story starts in the middle of the action. And now, it is important to question ourselves about the intention of the author. Why did she change her MO? I found the answer the instant I realized the importance of the two following aspects. The light… and the sound, in this case: HAA… (chapter 56) In the past I used to think that this scene had occurred early in the morning. But now, I am thinking otherwise. In truth, right after receiving the letter, the butler went to the bedchamber directly and woke up his master!! This signifies that this scene took place during the night. But how did he do it? He just needed to remove the light from the bed and lit other candles. That’s the reason why the candles are positioned like during the night of the brother’s visit. (chapter 56) Besides, the manhwaphiles should remember the way the room was enlightened, when Baek Na-Kyum was keeping company to his lover. (chapter 55) It was quite dark. (chapter 55) And strangely, the main lead could sleep comfortably. He was not plagued by a nightmare. (chapter 55) He could even sense the artist’s presence unconsciously, therefore he confirmed his affection for the painter. And now, you can imagine what happened. Once the valet received the letter, he went to the bedchamber directly and sent Baek Na-Kyum back to his bedroom under the pretense that he would take care of his master himself. However, the moment Baek Na-Kyum had left his side, the valet lit more candles (chapter 74) and positioned them far away, which triggered the lord’s nightmare. But why? It is because the light creates shadows like this one. (chapter special episode 3) Note that there’s no candle placed next to the entrance of the lord’s bedchamber for that reason. The noble only feels comfortable, if the light is situated close to his face, because that way he won’t see any shadow. Thus we have such a scene in the first season. (chapter 35) The candles are always placed next to his bed. And now you comprehend why the lord moved to the patio during their first night together. (chapter 38) He didn’t want to disturb the painter in his sleep, for he needs light during the night, but only next to him. This explicates why Yoon Seungho woke up from his nightmare right away, when the bougie had been blown out. (chapter 74) But how did it happen? Was it the work from the wind or the candle was extinguished by the protagonist’s heavy breath or was Kim behind this? Because I had no answer before, I had not mentioned this observation. Fortunately, my friend Luzyla came to my rescue and gave me the answer which I totally support. Kim must have intervened during that night, because for the first time, the nightmare was becoming more precise. But how did she confirm my suspicion? It is because the butler had this image, when he tried to convince the painter that nothing would change. This panel (chapter 87) represented the butler’s memory. This means that the butler must have seen him from the outside. He didn’t want the painter to discover the lord’s suffering. And it worked, for the lord never let this transpire to the painter after that night. And now, you comprehend why the butler had to make sure that the couple would no longer sleep together at the end of the second season. But let’s return our attention to episode 56.

So when the butler placed the candlestick on the commode, he caused a flashback to the main lead. But the valet knew about this. However, he chose to feign ignorance and must have said something similar: (chapter 34) The entire time he acted, as if Yoon Seungho was fine, for he was conscious. Then he gave the letter to his master and knelt far away from him while looking down. (chapter 56) On the surface, it looked like Kim was showing great respect to his lord. Yet the reality was totally different. He was avoiding his gaze and didn’t want to be near him. The butler’s attitude explicates why in chapter 86, the lord pushed the artist away. (chapter 86) The former has long internalized that he is scary and dirty. Yet the truth is that the butler’s gaze reflects his hatred, for he considers him as responsible for his own misery. Don’t forget that he is tormented in the presence of Yoon Seungho. The latter is a reminder of his own sins. To sum up, for Kim, the reason for his distance and avoidance is simple. He doesn’t want to be confronted with Yoon Seungho’s suffering, for he is refusing to admit his own guilt. The protagonist already knows about this unconsciously. Thus he hid his gaze the entire time. (chapter 56) The first “HAA” weren’t laughs, but the sign of a panic attack. Yes, for the first time the manhwaphiles discovered the lord’s health issue (flashback), but no one truly grasped, not even me. I had imagined that his heavy breathing was related more to pain and his illness. I only recognized the existence of the panic disorder in episode 66, though I was already aware of his PTSD.

In the scene from chapter 56, the valet was following his own philosophy: (chapter 86) He pretended he saw and heard nothing. But how can I be so sure that it was the night? Simply because all the windows were all closed. Thus Byeonduck drew such an image: (chapter 56) Besides, observe that there is more light in the bedchamber, when the butler entered the room later: (chapter 56)

Another important detail is this. Kim was supposed to fetch the medicine for his master, yet when he was kneeling in front of the lord, the manhwalovers can detect the absence of water or teas. (chapter 56) So where is the medicine? But this question only came to my mind, as soon as I realized that this conversation took place during the night.

And now, it is important to determine the purpose of his intervention. Why would he lit the bougies and awaken Yoon Seungho, fully aware that this would trigger a panic attack? Simply because of the letter from lord Song. (chapter 56) He wanted to wash off his hands on this. The moment he conveyed the message to the master, it was no longer his responsibility. If lord Song had truly sent the missive, then Kim could say that this had been his master’s decision to refuse to follow the request, if they were confronted for their disobedience. This means that Kim was lying, when he said, “I am sure lord Song will understand”. He was just expressing an expectation, but there was no guarantee that the mysterious man would be very understanding. In addition, one idiom caught my attention: “If” This was a condition and not a real statement. Kim never said that since Yoon Seungho was ill, he could refuse the invitation. This signifies that the valet refused to confirm the noble’s illness. It was Yoon Seungho’s choice to say if he was feeling ill or not. To conclude, he refused to assume any responsibility. And now, you comprehend why Byeonduck added a drop of sweat on the butler’s face. This was showing his discomfort and deceptions. The man didn’t want to be associated to the noble and become responsible for him.

That’s how I realized another aspect: Kim has always been acting, as if he was helpless. “He couldn’t do anything!” However, this scene exposed his huge hypocrisy. He could have comforted his master with words here and offer real support. He was totally silent in that matter. He chose to occult the flashback. On the other hand, he was definitely good at lip service, for many readers saw his words as genuine concern. People had even the impression that Kim was oozing responsibility, calmness and rationality. But this was not the case, deep down he was so scared, thus the moment the name was spoken, he had some difficulties to swallow his saliva. (chapter 56)

This explicates why at no moment, Kim was willing to protect Yoon Seungho. (chapter 56) The former would give him suggestions, but Kim never made a promise that he would help him as a witness. Note the absence of the personal pronoun “I”, whereas “you” is constantly used. The only time he employs “I” is concerning belief and expectation. But his cowardice doesn’t end here. Once he was asked about the artist’s whereabouts, (chapter 56) he proposed to fetch the boy. Why? It is because the butler didn’t want to be confronted any longer with the lord’s panic attack, though he had been the one to trigger it! But he didn’t care, for his true goal was to save his own skin. Should lord Song get angry, Kim could definitely use the truth to his advantage. He had delivered the letter right away, and the noble had been well enough, since he woke up and read him the content. (chapter 56) 🙄 Under this new light, I couldn’t help myself shaking my head, when I read this from the butler. (chapter 56) His words implied that the lord had woken up on his own, whereas in reality the butler was the cause for this. Kim knew that his master would never go back to sleep after their conversation. This explicates why the candlestick was placed again at the head of the bed. (chapter 56) I can envision that the valet had left his lord behind under the pretense that he should go back to sleep, for he was still sick.

Then I wondered myself why Yoon Seungho would read the missive loud. It is because he believes that the butler can not read. However, what he doesn’t know is that the man can read calligraphes. This explicates why he handed over the letter immediately. He couldn’t keep it, for if the invitation was true, he could have been blamed. And this is important, because in the third season, we have the reverse situation. Kim let the maids deal with the kisaeng’s letters so that if anyone had to become responsible for them, it would be the maids and the lord, but not him. However, as you can envision, Kim must have talked to the maid similarly: “I am sure lord Seungho will understand.” And since the butler got away with it in the second season, it was the same for the maids. Why? It is because it creates the illusion that the maids were taking the lord’s best interests into consideration. However, they had become the painter‘s companions. This means that they had betrayed him. It was not their position to act on their own. As you can see, the maids had a similar behavior than the butler‘s. What caught my attention is that the aristocrat was viewing Kim as accountable for the actions of the staff. Yes, this was the result of Baek Na-Kyum’s desertion and abduction. The moment he used the painter as shield for his own safety and to cover up his disobedience (chapter 68), his fate was strongly intertwined with the artist’s. But it changed, when the lord heard that Baek Na-Kyum was blamed for his insomnia and he hadn’t been able to meet the artist during broad light (chapter 79), he punished Kim. It was, as if the butler had failed to protect the artist. And because the painter‘s visit to his bedchamber had taken place during the day, it revealed his loneliness. That‘s the reason why I believe that this conversation pushed the lord to give the maids to the artist. They should become his ladies-in-waiting so that he had someone he could talk to. However, Yoon Seungho never let the butler know about the true reason for his punishment. He used the father as subterfuge. Finally, we shouldn’t overlook the valet’s pledge: he swore that he would serve the lord. (chapter 77) This means that he was now judged as accountable for his actions in front of Yoon Seungho. However, Yoon Seungho made a huge mistake, because the moment he brought up the father, he was acting as if Yoon Chang-Hyeon was the owner of the mansion. He was now Young master and not Lord Yoon. Yet, his duty was to be a loyal domestic to the protagonist. And now, you comprehend why Kim was reminded of the past, it is because he was put in the same situation than in the past. And what did he do? He made the exact same decision. He sided with Yoon Chang-HYeon, but there existed two divergences from the past. The first difference is that the elder master would listen to his words, and the second is that he lied to his master. (Chapter 77) Here, he was pledging loyalty to Yoon Seungho. Moreover, he is viewed as the eldest servant in the mansion, this means that he is accountable for the staff’s words and actions. However, Kim is making a terrible mistake, for in his mind, past, present and future are the same. (chapter 87) But this is totally incorrect, for the lord is now an adult. Thanks to the painter, Yoon Seungho is on the verge of entering adulthood. Observe that the butler vowed his loyalty to young master Seungho. By calling him “young master”, he treated the protagonist as an infant, but this is no longer possible. This was perceptible, when the main lead met his father. (Chapter 86) He refused to acknowledge him as the owner of the mansion. He took the seat in front of his father. He was now acting as the lord Yoon.

2. Quarrel and darkness

SLAM! What is this sound? I am quite sure that you can recognize it immediately. A door has been opened quite violently. (chapter 85) Strangely is that in that scene, we never heard any STEP, STEP, STEP like here: (chapter 97) There was no sound, therefore I deduced that Kim didn’t run to the study. However, observe that the butler is breathing heavily. It was, as if he was out of breath: HUFF HUFF. (chapter 85) So why would he fake his breathlessness? I am quite certain that you already have the answer. He was hiding the fact that he had been spying on their conversation, which I had mentioned in one of my previous analyses. However, there’s more to it. The other and major intention is to give the impression that he did everything he could for his master. In other words, he is creating the illusion that he could do nothing against the father!! (chapter 87) Yes, that’s his other principle to justify his cowardice, his fear of responsibility. He implied that he had rushed to his master’s side right away to alert him. If asked, he could legitimate his passivity by saying that the father had barged accompanied with 2 guards. But why didn’t he get caught by the protagonists? Simply because he is no longer caring a light contrary to the first season. (chapter 20) (chapter 25) (chapter 36) The night had already fallen, when Yoon Chang Hyeon was present in the mansion. If the butler had carried a chandelier, the painter or the noble would have sensed his presence. Thus I deduce that the butler’s function in the protagonist’s suffering was to lit the room, the moment the pedophile and other sexual abusers approached his prey. That’s the reason why his nightmares are triggered by the sound of a lit bougie and the light accompanied with shadows.

However, this is just an illusion to think that Kim is always carrying a torch. I believe that the butler has more often moved around without light than with. Why? That way his spying activities could not be detected. In truth, he used the light to fake his loyalty and obedience. Even in the first season, he walked in the propriety properly without any candle: (chapter 26) This scene took place in the courtyard. This is the bathroom for the staff which you can see in the background (chapter 30), the grey building with grey bricks. And it happened again in episode 32, in episode 55 and chapter 64: And now look what we have in the third season: (chapter 77) (chapter 82), (chapter 94) and (chapter 98) He is no longer carrying any light, not even for his master. Why? It is because he can spy without being detected. Thus he approached the messenger only after the main lead had left the study. Don’t you find it weird that he acts as if he knew nothing (chapter 82), while he presents himself as the senior domestic in the mansion? (chapter 82) This represents a contradiction. If so, he should have been informed immediately. Thus I come to the conclusion that this scene reveals his incompetence and betrayal. Did he aid the messenger, when the latter got beaten? No, he only made his appearance, after the incident had occurred. And this is not surprising that the other domestic looked down on the butler. (chapter 82) He already knew that he had betrayed his own master through the letters. So I doubt that he viewed Kim as trustworthy. Another important element is that when the butler is seen in connection with the light, he speaks much more, while in the darkness, he remains silent. This is naturally connected to his spying activities. Simultaneously, the words coming from the butler often appear as empty. They remain quite superficial, for the butler is always putting conditions. “If there is anything I can do…”. That’s the reason why the butler doesn’t feel any real concern for the main leads in the end. This is not his business. And now, you are probably wondering why I used “quarrel” in the heading. It is because in episode 85, the butler had heard the argument between the couple. This is relevant, because the butler chose to recreate the same situation in episode 98!! 😲

(chapter 98) In this image, Byeonduck portrayed the servants arguing. They are stressed and screaming at each other: “I told you”. They give the impression that they are trying to do anything for their master. Nevertheless pay attention to the previous image: (chapter 98) The light is coming from the butler’s back. How is it possible, since there is no torch next to the gate? (chapter 98) Besides, you can see their shadows in the ground. And there is no street light either. (chapter 98) In reality, the light comes from the mansion. The domestics are carrying torches behind the door. Thus you can perceive some light coming from the top of the gate. But wait…. (chapter 98) Where is the sound in this panel? There’s only silence except the butler’s voice: “Young master”. If the domestics were so worked up looking for the whereabouts of the painter, then their voices would have been visible in this image. But no… there’s nothing. And this observation leads me to the following conclusion. The butler is trying to fool his master by repeating the prank in front of the study. The servants are supposed to fake their dutifulness. Yes, they are all acting, when the door opened abruptly. (chapter 98) But what are they staging? A fake research, but more they are acting, as if they would do anything for their master and as such as if the painter’s desertion was something they couldn’t stop. YES, the staff is following the butler’s principles. They act, as if they were powerless, there’s nothing they could do. (chapter 87) The painter deserted on his own. And now, you comprehend why the revelation occurs at the door. The gate symbolizes the butler’s deception and hypocrisy.

And observe that the gate could have been opened much sooner. The servants were all waiting for the lord’s return so that they staged this fake search. It was, as if the butler had given the signal by saying “Young master”. (chapter 98)

However, Kim never expected that his students would listen to him too well. 😉They even copied his words. (chapter 98) By using the idiom “damn brat”, the servant reveals that he looks down on the painter. This can give the impression that the latter has been bullied, which is not wrong either. All the servants, including the maids, pushed the artist to leave the mansion. They also abandoned him in the bedchamber, which is something similar to episode 56!! (chapter 98) The women knew that the artist wasn’t feeling well. But they never sent for the doctor and gave him any true comfort. They kept criticizing him. Yes, all the servants bullied the artist. The butler never realized that through his badmouthing, the staff would imitate him. They would chatter idly and fake concern, yet Kim is actually silent in front of his master. He just says the minimum, for the most part, he has to feign ignorance. He acts, as if he was blind and deaf, but in front of the staff he behaves the exact opposite. And this huge gap makes it possible to perceive his conniving personality. However, the main lead didn’t pay attention to the insult („damn brat“), as they had faked their concern. The lord had the impression that they had indeed done their best, hence the main lead felt the need that he had to do the research on his own. (Chapter 99) He believed them.

But why did Kim play such a prank? It is because he had succeeded once. (chapter 85) First, his tricks had not been perceived. Secondly, he had not been punished, though he had disobeyed the lord’s order. (chapter 86) So the valet had the feeling that nothing had changed. However, like I mentioned it above, he never realized that his fate was now linked to the painter’s and as such he was responsible for his well-being. Thus he got surprised with this new kind of order. For the first time, the valet was tasked to investigate outside the propriety. (chapter 98) In town, he can not really fake his obedience and honesty, for his lies can be perceived more easily. He has no control over the town folks. If the lord were to ask the tailor, the latter would definitely reveal that the body was not found in a well in town.

The domestics had to blame someone… and it can only be the kisaeng Heena. The latter is an outsider, she is not part of their “community”. Exactly like the butler had blamed Yoon Chang-Hyeon for his powerlessness.

How did I come to this interpretation? It is because of this scene. (chapter 98) Many readers, including myself, were quite confused first. However, note that there’s light coming from the building. From my point of view, this is the gate. However, this scene took place before the arrival to the mansion. I believe that this scene represents the moment, when the lord left the office of the investigator. But I can not be 100% sure. However, one thing is sure. Byeonduck wanted us to notice the importance of the light and the silence. The lord was pondering deeply, thus he didn’t pay attention to Kim. But now, the noisy domestics brought the main lead back to reality. (chapter 98) The death of the servant does concern him, for it affected the artist. I view this scene as a reflection from the previous chapter, where the gates were left wide opened. (chapter 97) The painter didn’t run away immediately. He remained quite some time in the domain, therefore after the last tragedy, the lord will have the time to ponder about the painter’s question. (Chapter 102) Yoon Seungho was separated from his lover for so long, because he had been deceived. It is only a matter of time, until he realizes that he had been deceived by his own staff. At some point, he will view the staff accountable for their misdeeds.

3. The painter and the darkness

Since I had detected a connection between the darkness and the painter’s nightmare, I realized that the artist must fear the darkness. This is perceptible, when you realize that the painter had problems to fall asleep (chapter 38) and he woke up in the middle of the night. (chapter 84) However, the lord got the opposite impression, for when he entered the study, the painter was sleeping on the floor in the dark. (chapter 02) This explicates why he would always extinguish the candles. (chapter 97) However, he never realized that the painter could only fall asleep in the dark, because he always sensed his lover’s presence. This means that when he reached the aristocrat’s hand, it also gave him some comfort. (chapter 97) Because the artist’s fate is similar to the noble’s, I deduced that this fear is connected to the artist’s past. Why does he fear darkness? It is linked to the vanishing of the candle light!

What caught my attention is that the painter’s dreams are all connected to light. (chapter 6) (chapter 34) (chapter 87) Thus in episode 56, Baek Na-Kyum had this vision too. (chapter 56) In the past, the painter used to sleep with the candle night on. For him, the light gave a sense of safety. There’s no ambiguity that he wouldn’t sleep alone, though we have to imagine that the noonas would leave him behind at some point, if they had to work. Thus I came to the deduction that the candlelight was to create the illusion that he was not alone.

However, observe that in the latest nightmare, the darkness appeared with the entrance of the scholar. (chapter 98) And it was the same in the nightmare of the first season, though it was a little changed. The darkness appeared, for the ghost Yoon Seungho was confronting the painter with the truth. He liked painting erotic pictures of sodomy, which contradicted the scholar’s preaching. (chapter 34) Finally, since the butler is a reflection from the learned sir, this signifies that he is also connected to light.

That’s how I came to develop this theory which is connected to the painter’s past. Why did Baek Na-Kyum appear in this scene? (chapter 68) What made him looking for his noona? What if the bougie was blown out during his sleep and Jung In-Hun was behind this? Byeonduck said that the scholar’s attachment to the boy was genuine, nevertheless there is no doubt that the learned sir was a greedy person. Maybe he woke up, because he detected the absence of warmth, as the noonas had left his side. Hence the painter sensed the abandonment in his sleep, which made him wake up. Consequently, he started searching for his noonas and he opened the door. No one would suspect a young child opening the doors in the kisaeng house. But by opening the door, the artist caused a ruckus, people could hear a protesting child in a room. And during that scene, the artist met Yoon Seungho who was captured by the guard!! This memory represents the night of the sexual lesson. Observe that the color of the hanbok corresponds to the one lying on the floor. (chapter 86) This means that the one trapping Yoon Seungho was not Yoon Chang-Hyeon, for the latter had a green hanbok. Besides, I started wondering why Jung In-Hun carried away Baek Na-Kyum and left the gibang with him. (Chapter 70) Why would he do that? He could have bring him back to his chamber!! Why walk through the countryside and for a long time? It is because he was not allowed to be in the gibang. Remember that he used to sleep in the annex. (chapter 87) From my point of view, Baek Na-Kyum would have heard Yoon Seungho‘s struggling. Besides, we need to question ourselves this: Why is the annex empty?

To sum up my theory again. Jung blew out the candle during the night, the artist woke up and went looking for his noona. He opened the door, when the young master Seungho was protesting. Thus, as soon as they left the gibang, the young noble got tied up, and the „sexual lesson“ was supposed to take place. They used the incident to use violence on the main lead. There’s no doubt that Yoon Chang-Hyeon must have feared for a scandal. Then the father left the building and returned home. (chapter 87) He entrusted Yoon Seungho to Kim. But in my opinion, during the same night, the young noble was dragged to the annex, where the pedophile was waiting for him with probably other guests. That‘s the reason why Jung had to spend a long time outside the gibang. Maybe that‘s how he received his position as teacher. Remember the commoner’s remark: (chapter 29) People believed that he had already passed the exam, while it was not the case. Then I started wondering this. Why does the painter associate the learned sir to the moon? It is because the learned sir would visit him during the night. (chapter 94) The light from the moon comforted the artist, it became his companion, for the artist still feared the darkness. However, since the painter described that he would always cry because of his noonas, I am sensing that the scholar must have dragged the artist quite often outside the gibang. And this could coincide to the sexual abuse Yoon Seungho was exposed to. Kim said that the sexual abuse took place in the bedchamber. (chapter 87) But is it true? I have my doubts about it. By making such a statement, he is putting the blame on Yoon Chang-Hyeon. Note that the start of the sexual abuse began in the kisaeng house. The more I am analyzing, the more I am sensing that the elder master was just a stupid, selfish and violent father. However, if this had happened in the gibang, then he was as guilty as the kisaeng and the other helping hands.

As a conclusion, the painter came to fall asleep in the dark thanks to the lord’s presence. Thus we had this scene: (chapter 50) Both give each other comfort and warmth so that they feel safe. Maybe the FWOP; FWOP sounded like a lullaby to the artist’s ears. (chapter 49) 😂

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