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

This is where you can read the manhwas. https://www.lezhinus.com/en/comic/sip_poison This manhwa is mature. https://www.lezhinus.com/en/comic/painter But be aware that this manhwa is a mature Yaoi, which means, it is about homosexuality with explicit scenes. If you want to read more essays, here is the link to the table of contents:  https://bebebisous33analyses.wordpress.com/2020/07/04/table-of-contents-painter-of-the-night/  I also used briefly Doctor Frost again which I highly recommend to my readers. https://www.webtoons.com/en/mystery/dr-frost/list?title_no=371 If you want to read more essays about other manhwas, here is the link to the table of contents: https://bebebisous33analyses.com/2021/06/06/table-of-contents-of-analyzed-mentioned-manhwas/

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1. Castration or abandonment?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. The tool for the loss of the topknot

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

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

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

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

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

4. The reason behind the loss of the topknot

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

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

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

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

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

Painter Of The Night: Heena’s secrets 🔐

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

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

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

1. Heena: a mother or a sister?

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

2. Heena’s study

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

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

3. Heena and Min

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

4. Heena and Yoon Chang-Hyeon

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

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

5. Heena’s departure

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

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

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

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

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

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

Painter Of The Night: Painful departures 👋🩸⚰️

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

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

Announcement: The essay “Powerful fellatios” was updated.

Before elaborating my new discoveries, I would like to repeat the following principles on which the story was developed:

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

Like explained before, the reason for this huge amount of reflections is that her story is constructed like a kaleidoscope. Therefore it is not surprising that I keep contrasting many images and chapters with each other. That way, we can get new insight about the past. At the same time, the author can not expose the whole truth for two reasons. We don’t have a narrator, and since it is a manhwa, the narration is really limited. Moreover, Yoon Seungho might confess to Baek Na-Kyum about his traumatic past, yet his testimony will never mirror the entire verity. Why? It is because as a victim, he didn’t know everything. He had no idea what people would think and do behind his back. Since he had no idea about a conspiracy in season 1, 2 and 3, I conclude that it was the same in the past!! Hence it is up to the readers to fill the blanks and as such to solve the puzzle.

Striking is that after the end of season 2, I had examined the topic “farewells” [For more read essay 195 “Farewell” ] which sounds quite similar to the title of this analysis. One might fear that I could repeat myself. However, this is just a deception, for I am focusing now on season 3. With the new panels, I could get new clues about the painter’s departure from the gibang. So far, I had stated this: Heena did it for the painter’s sake. It was to protect him, (chapter 46) This was actually implied by Heena’s words and gestures, yet I had already questioned this, for Heena appeared as dishonest. Now, it is time to expose my new interpretation concerning Baek Na-Kyum’s eviction from home.

1. Exits in episode 94

What caught my attention is that chapter 94’s main topic was departure. How did I come to this perception? First, we have the well which reminded Yoon Seungho of the scholar and his poem. The latter had given the poetry referring to exit to the painter as a farewell gift. Why was the lord thinking of Jung In-Hun in that moment? It is because he had read the letters from Heena and as such her accusation against him. He had killed the learned sir, hence in the lord’s mind, it was only a matter of time until Baek Na-Kyum would bring up the subject and decide to leave him. The letters are not destroyed, for he asked this to the painter: (chapter 94) Yoon Seungho had two reasons to expect such an outcome. First, it was related to Yoon Seungho’s offer to Baek Na-Kyum. (chapter 44) Secondly, Baek Na-Kyum had already showed to the main lead that he could leave him at any moment. (chapter 85) Finally, what mattered to the artist the most was the lord’s love and trust. (chapter 85) He believed in his affection while thinking that Yoon Seungho would keep his promises. But if there was a slight doubt about him, in Yoon Seungho’s mind, the painter would choose his noona over him, like he had experienced it in the study. To sum up, in the gibang, the lord was fearing the artist’s departure. Moreover, when the painter confessed his love to the noble, he was also leaving the scholar’s side. His path was no longer following the teacher’s. Thus when he said this (chapter 94), he was actually biding farewell to Jung In-Hun. He was moving on. Finally, if you include these panels from chapter 94, , the painterofthenight-stans can notice that people are about to leave. In the first image, the young artist is chased away by the comments from the other children. Then the painter is standing in front of his noona Heena, he has just left the side of the sitting nobles. He is definitely crying, he wished to be embraced and taken away by Heena from the room. As for the last picture, we see two “nobles” leaving the painter behind. They are the ones leaving the gibang, for the exit is close. The painter ‘s face had been beaten, hence we could view drops of blood on the ground and the white head-band.

Interesting is that these three departures were all painful. First, Baek Na-Kyum’s heart got broken, for he was excluded by the children forcing him to live in the gibang. After that, he lived in seclusion. The children used their words and gestures to make him leave. Simultaneously, this panel indicates that the painter had left the kisaeng house and strolled through the streets. Then in the second image, the nobles were more aggressive, for they had removed the painter’s pants. As the manhwalovers can detect, the violence was increasing, thus when the painter’s visage was wounded, it represents the high peak of violence against the painter. Under this new light, it becomes comprehensible why the author chose not to follow the chronology. In this panel, the painter had still a braid (chapter 94) (chapter 94), but not here. This means that the rejection from the “peasants” happened afterwards. And now, if I include Jung In-Hun’s departure, the latter is supposed to have been killed, it becomes palpable that in Painter Of The Night, departure is strongly associated to blood, desertion, imprisonment and death. But this doesn’t end here.

2. The painter’s departure

I couldn’t help myself connecting this scene (chapter 94) with this physical assault in front of the learned sir’s home: (chapter 99) In these two scenes, the painter got so hurt that he was bleeding. In addition, the painter’s hair was free. In front of Jung In-Hun’s house, the perpetrators had removed his headgear, while in the gibang, the white head-band was on the ground. To conclude, the painter’s short hair was visible. Don’t forget that the short hair was indicating that the artist was an orphan. So by removing the headgear for noblewomen, Min and the black guards made sure to expose that the victim was just a low-born without any family. But let’s return to our comparison. Min was wearing a similar hanbok than the noble in the gibang. Furthermore, the black guard resembles a lot to the aristocrat with the hunting outfit in the kisaeng house house. The painter’s white headband is now serving as a cover for masking the black guards’ identity. As you can see, due to these similarities, I came to the conclusion that this scene (chapter 94) was the reason why Baek Na-Kyum left the gibang. Why do I think so? First, it is related to Heena’s absence.

3. Heena’s role

Where is she? Why didn’t she come and protect her brother? The perfect excuse would be that she was busy with a client. And this leads me to the following observation. Note that in this scene, Heena was standing in front of the door. (chapter 94) She was actually the one hindering the painter to run away. She didn’t act like Jung In-Hun at all (chapter 68). She let her brother hear the laughs from the younger masters. It looks like she is consoling her brother, yet she is not, for she is not embracing him. She is grabbing him by the shirt which reminded me of this gesture: (chapter 97) Hence I deduce that this scene in the gibang (chapter 97) is a reflection of the incident in the painter’s youth. (chapter 94)

Chapter 94 negative reflectionChapter 97 positive reflection
Painter in tears  Painter smiling, even when he gets scared
Heena brings a table with food.Baek Na-Kyum returned to the room in order to fetch the “paper”.
Heena says nothing and feels sorry for the painter –She talks the whole time
She remains next to the door.She approaches her brother in the room.
She grabs him by the shirtShe grabs him by the shirt
BNK wants to be huggedHeena wants to hug her brother, but she is rejected
BAek Na-Kyum believes herBaek Na-Kyum reproaches her to tell stories
Heena doesn’t weepShe is now in tears
Heena definitely portrayed the nobles as ruthless and filthy.Now, she found a nobleman who would help them
Heena stands in front of the entrance.Heena stands in the way to the door.

As you can see, these two scenes share so many parallels that I came to the conclusion that in both cases Heena was stopping her brother from leaving the room. (chapter 94) The table and the kisaeng were in his way. In other words, in this scene, she didn’t let the painter leave the room. However, the huge difference is that contrary to episode 97, she was acting under the influence of her unconscious/subconscious. This means that she was not doing it on purpose contrary to her confrontation with her brother in the annex. Here, she desired that her brother wouldn’t return to Yoon Seungho’s mansion. He should remain by her side and follow her. In chapter 94, she could have acted like the scholar (chapter 68) But she did not. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think that she had bad intentions here. However, her passivity caught my attention. She was immobile and silent. (chapter 94) Hence Byeonduck drew her without mouth. Her behavior contrasts so much to this scene: (chapter 65). Thus she gave more the impression of being righteous and truly concerned.

Moreover, another detail caught my attention: (chapter 94) The presence of the moustache beard!! Three of them have one!! (chapter 94) The painterofthenight-lovers will certainly recall Yoon Seungho’s words: (chapter 44) However, there exists a difference between the painter and the lord’s association for beards in my opinion. The latter suffered due to old men wearing a long moustache beard with whiskers. (chapter 82) (chapter 83) (chapter 37)

Noblemen’s grooming styles for facial hair found in thirty portraits handed down from the Joseon Dynasty are as follows. Facial hair is classified into three types: beards, moustaches and whiskers according to its location. Twenty one portraits show that the subjects groomed all three types of facial hair.” Quoted from http://www.rjcc.or.kr/journal/article.php?code=7079

But there exists another style of moustache beard.

The remaining nine scholars also grew and trimmed their moustaches in the 八shape neatly, and had beards in an inverted triangle long enough to reach the lower part of the neck. However they do not have whiskers in their portraits. Quoted from http://www.rjcc.or.kr/journal/article.php?code=7079

Striking is that Kim is also wearing such a moustache beard. (chapter 87) However, so far in the story, this type of moustache beard was only present among commoners and not nobles!! (chapter 39) (chapter 45) (chapter 45) (chapter 64) (chapter 78) Hence I started suspecting if these two persons were truly nobles in the end. (chapter 94) Just because they are wearing clothes destined to aristocrats, this doesn’t mean that they are truly lords. And don’t forget that when the painter was attacked in front of the learned sir’s home, many people were disguised. The kisaeng Heena was dressed like a commoner’s wife (chapter 99), Min was cosplaying Lee Jihwa, the guards were covering their mouths, Baek Na-Kyum had been wearing a expensive scarf and a headgear for noblewomen, (chapter 99) so that he had been mistaken for a young master. (chapter 91). Therefore I came to the conclusion that the painter has repressed the link between the moustache beard and nobles. Since the noona kept saying nobles, what made Baek Na-Kyum shudder in the past were nobles. But the connection between the beard and nobility is existent in the painter’s subconscious. This explicates why Baek Na-Kyum would show such a respect to valet Kim, he would call him sir and listen to him. (chapter 52) However, the more time passed on, the more the butler kept pointing out that he was just a servant, so that this moustache beard is losing its meaning, the symbol for power and nobility. At the same time, the painter met more and more people with beards, like for example the tailor (chapter 74), the physician (chapter 74), Bongyong (chapter 78) and finally Yoon Chang-Hyeon (chapter 87). However, note that when the patriarch left, the main character only paid attention to his gaze and not his beard. (chapter 87) This explicates why Baek Na-Kyum is not mentioning the beard concerning nobility, while Yoon Seungho never made the connection between the old bearded men and Kim, though the latter has now a moustache beard! To conclude, I don’t think that this physical assault (chapter 94) was really done by nobles. Moreover, we shouldn’t forget that the gibang is not only visited by aristocrats, but also by commoners (rich merchants, small shop owners, workers). (chapter 99). That’s the reason why I came to the following theory. These persons wounded the painter on purpose and in my eyes, it was suggested by Heena. (chapter 94) She couldn’t ask nobles to commit such a crime due to her social status, hence she asked the assistance of low-borns. Striking is that the painter was mostly hurt by commoners in the different seasons: The servants (chapter 13), the maid (though not intended) (chapter 36, here the painter is drugged against his will), Deok-Jae , Nameless, (chapter 60), Kim (chapter 66) [As you already know, for me Kim was the one who tried to kill the painter during the abduction], Bongyong (chapter 78), the calligrapher with his insults (chapter 91), the maids with their reproaches (chapter 91) (chapter 98) and the black guards from Min. (chapter 99) The commoners are often the helping hands of the nobles. But as you know, Heena has been denying their existence and involvement. Why? It is because she has been a helping hand herself. Under this new approach, you comprehend why I came to the deduction that Heena had utilized people to make her brother desert the kisaeng house. This is no coincidence that in chapter 97, the painter was accompanied by 2 servants (chapter 97), two commoners who neglected him totally. By the way, the one with the green shirt and white jacket vanished later. He was not seen in the mansion. Anyway, the two domestics wouldn’t even follow the lord’s orders properly, for they never stayed by the painter’s side. And since it is a reflection from chapter 94, I deduce that the two “nobles” acted the opposite. They played their role perfectly to the point that the painter was terribly wounded and he never doubted their identities. They were just nobles! And that’s the point. That way, no person was truly blamed for the incident.

Hence Heena didn’t suggest the painter’s exit right after this incident, she had to wait for his recovery, and naturally she had to blame someone: the nobles!! She played with his prejudices in the end. The first evidence for this theory is that during that fateful night, Baek Na-Kyum didn’t go straight to the teacher’s home, for he first returned to Yoon Seungho’s mansion. This time, she couldn’t convince her brother to follow her suggestion, an indication that the indoctrination was no longer effective. This stands in opposition to chapter 94, where the painter’s self-esteem was ruined. Thus he chose to listen to her advice without resisting. This explicates why during their first farewell, the readers were able to see the painter’s face and the white headband on his head!! (chapter 46) This was the “positive” reflection of this scene: (chapter 94) No matter what… Baek Na-Kyum should leave the kisaeng house. What caught my attention is that she only presented her argument, the moment the painter was about to leave her. Thus he recalled her words when he was on his way to the gibang (chapter 46) and as such to the scholar’s home. (chapter 46) Moreover, I am now doubting that Baek Na-Kyum and Heena were seen in front of the gibang. (chapter 46) Why? It is because of the building and the absence of the cheongsachorong (the blue and red lantern). First, the gibang is surrounded by a wall made of stones! (chapter 19) (chapter 69) (chapter 93) Secondly, there is no window next to the entrance of the building contrary to the image from chapter 46. Consequently, I deduce that Heena had left the gibang with her brother saying that she was meeting a client, and just before entering the mansion, she sent away her brother. This explicates why he had only taken his tools and nothing more. Remember what the noonas said in chapter 93: (chapter 93) She implied that the noona was not present in the kisaeng house, while in reality she was punished, trapped in a storage room. And now, you comprehend why Heena said this to her brother: (chapter 46) He couldn’t bid farewell to his noonas, for he had already left the kisaeng house. But he had no idea that he would be sent away during that day. The other evidence for this theory is that the painter went to his lover’s home before visiting the scholar’s house. (chapter 97-98) Furthermore, the night before, the noona had implied that Heena had left the gibang. Thus I conclude that Baek Na-Kyum was truly abandoned by Heena in the end, but he got deceived by her gentle words and gestures. The physical abuse in the kisaeng house and her kind gestures had played a huge role in this. He could no longer be protected there. She justified this that it was for the painter’s best interests. She knew what the artist truly desired. However, this was not true, as she had manipulated him and she had never asked him. Under this new light, you comprehend how Heena could deceive her colleagues so easily with this statement: (chapter 93) He had suddenly vanished without voicing such a desire before. And note that in chapter 97, she was already acting on Min’s orders, a sign that in the past, it was different. She had done it on her own accord. In the annex, the kisaeng was definitely scared, hence she was trembling. (chapter 97) I have always said that the painter’s departure from the kisaeng house (chapter 1-46) was related to a crime, but the noona was not aware of this, or deep down she knew, but she chose to close an eye to this. Why do I think that this is related to murder? Simply, because in front of the scholar’s house, she faked her death and the painter had been wounded too. (chapter 99) Finally, we have this execution in chapter 1. During that night, Baek Na-Kyum should have died. But let’s return to episode 97. Here, she was resenting her brother. (chapter 97) She was totally unhappy which stands in opposition to chapter 46 in my eyes. Hence she was looking for new tissues at the tailor’s. (chapter 64) This would explain why she never looked for her brother afterwards. This shows that unconsciously, the painter had judged her betrayal and abandonment correctly, but he had been deceived by her argumentation and attitude. In other words, he was in denial.

4. The purpose of these reflections

I believe that these incidents are created to expose the transformation and evolution of characters. Heena felt powerless and scared, when she was young. Due to her anxieties (according to me, genophobia) she made wrong decisions, thus she let the protagonists suffer. She was definitely a victim due to her social status as kisaeng, for it was not her choice to become a kisaeng. Nonetheless, the problem is that in chapter 94, she utilized the painter as her shield. The real victim in this scene is not Heena, but Baek Na-Kyum. She had brought the table and let the painter approach the nobles. Why did they want to confirm, if he was a girl or a boy? (chapter 94) The clothes were indicating that he was a boy!! Moreover, why did she let him approach these men? It was during the night, for he was wearing his night clothes. So he should have slept. In my opinion, she utilized the painter in order to explain why she couldn’t perform her duties as a kisaeng. She was constantly followed by the painter. Simultaneously, she could utilize this incident to portray herself as a victim of violent and filthy nobles. She could lie to her brother, and explain that when he was not with her, she had to bear such an attitude. He would believe her, for he had experienced it once. She was clearly avoiding her fate as a kisaeng. Furthermore, she could explain why she was not working or sharing her bed with the other noonas. (chapter 87) So in this scene, (chapter 68), Baek Na-Kyum had the impression that she was telling the truth. It looked like she was a victim of violence, while in reality, Yoon Seungho was the real victim. He got dragged and tied up! Today, I just discovered another evidence for this interpretation! (chapter 68) The blue skirt is revealing her presence. She is next to the door and observe that there is a table to her right!! Exactly like in chapter 94! But it was much bigger. This means that she left the room. And since the table was not present in this image, (chapter 86), I deduce that Heena explained her desertion by taking away the table so that she had the perfect excuse to leave this room and abandon Yoon Seungho. It was not her business. But if she left the room during that night, she could have followed her brother. But she never did it. She let her brother imagine that she was suffering. (chapter 70) Terrible, right? However, since the painter had been deceived by impressions, he came to believe her version and lies. But there is more to it. Because the artist was so young, he never realized that he could have detected her manipulations!! How? She should have become a wreck… have bruises on her body, but she never had any.

This new interpretation is truly important, because it made me realize why Heena got punished in the storage room. 😮 (chapter 93) Since she excused her vanishing by saying that she had to remove the dishes and as such was busy in the kitchen, it is normal that she was imprisoned next to the kitchen 10 years later!! Here, we can recognize the kitchen by the door made of wooden planks: (chapter 95) But there exist two other evidences why Heena is associated to the kitchen. Remember the painter’s thoughts in the inn: (chapter 75) They let see that he was thinking of Heena, though he spoke of his noonas. However, the presence of religion was introduced with food. (chapter 75) This truly exposes that Heena preferred working in the kitchen. That way, she could avoid sex with the clients. Another interesting aspect is that when she was sitting at the table with nobles, she was not talking to her neighbors. . (chapter 93) She was not even serving the noble next to her. (chapter 93) Once again, she was passive and immobile. Since she was doing nothing, she could hear her brother’s name and turn her head. (chapter 93) Under this new light, it becomes understandable why Baek Na-Kyum didn’t detect her presence in the patio. It was not her usual place. At the same time, the readers can grasp why the artist didn’t mind eating in the kitchen with the maids and felt comfortable around the head-maid. (chapter 46) This was reflecting his past relationship with Heena. And now, you comprehend why Heena never paid attention to the painter’s education. She had not the time and the motivation to do so. She was busy in the kitchen during the evening and night, yet keep in mind that the painter was her excuse to keep her distance from the nobles in the beginning. This explicates why Yoon Seungho crashed the table in the gibang: (chapter 99) This was Heena’s karma. She could no longer use the table as an excuse to betray and abandon a young boy. Moreover, we could see this gesture as a compensation for the past incident. (chapter 68) Finally, the lord could voice his frustration and his resent for the kisaeng who had “deceived” him. Now, I am wondering if during that night, the rice had not been spoiled too. The most important aspect is that she had definitely seen the abduction and sequestration, yet she did nothing. But if the food was spoiled, then I can understand why she acted that way. She didn’t want to be punished. But if this theory is correct, , it depends on if she was involved in this incident or not. Yet I don’t believe that she was responsible here. She preferred Yoon Seungho taking the fall. So she took the table with her colleague and left the room. (chapter 68) How do I come to this idea? It is because there is a progression in the responsibility. But we will see, if the lord’s anger was caused by spoiled rice. One thing is sure: the butler is recreating events from the past. And shortly after the painter’s departure from his noona situated in chapter 46, (chapter 46), we had this incident: . (chapter 47). That’s the reason why I am connecting the kisaeng to the food. And I had already demonstrated that there exists a link between the gibang and the lord’s kitchen.

That’s how I made a new connection between Heena and Nameless. The latter is a butcher, and he was seen in the kitchen. (chapter 60) And now, we know for sure that the chicken blood was used to stage the crime scene in the scholar’s house. (chapter 101) For me, Nameless was behind this prank. It sounded so harmless, but the reality is totally different. Consequently, Heena can become the prime suspect in the scholar’s disappearance. Remember that according to me, Yoon Seung-Won went to the gibang after leaving his brother’s mansion and discovered that he had been deceived. For me, there is no ambiguity that Yoon Seung-Won and lord Song are behind the learned sir’s murder, for both had a huge interest for his vanishing. But in my eyes, Heena is the link between the nobles, lord Song and No-Name, because the kisaeng house is frequented by all kind of people. I have already mentioned that the learned sir must have gone to the kisaeng house after meeting the fake servant. (chapter 38) This encounter took place during the day, however he returned during the night. So he must have spent some time elsewhere. Because of the connection between Heena and the kitchen, I think, she will have to take the fall for No-Name’s crimes. Under this new light, I comprehend why Byeonduck declared that she had no longer planned Mumyeong and Lee Jihwa. Both were already receiving their punishment, when they fled. But since I detected a connection between Heena and No-Name, I am quite sure that she is also responsible for the downfall of No-Name. And don’t forget that during the incident in the bedchamber, we had a party!! (chapter 83) Then I had already demonstrated that the kisaeng had already visited the mansion, for she knew where the painter’s room was. (chapter 65) So she could have worked in the kitchen… helping the other maids. To conclude, the kisaeng had committed the following wrongdoings. She had manipulated her brother with a mixture of belief and prejudices to cover up her own fears and wrongdoings. While in chapter 94, she stopped the painter from leaving the room unconsciously, it was no longer the case with Yoon Seungho, as she was standing in front of the door. (chapter 68) She contributed to his abduction and sequestration. But this doesn’t end here. She was also a witness of his sexual abuse, but she chose to close an eye. Thus she said this to the painter: (chapter 68) For her, sex had become a synonym for torture and death. Her wrong choices reinforced her fears about sex in my eyes. Every time, she decided not to face the truth, she preferred being blind. Thus the goddess chose to punish her by letting her deceived by impressions. (chapter 88) (chapter 66) Here, she couldn’t help her brother, though the “sequestration” was nothing compared to what Yoon Seungho had experienced at such a young age. She had deceived her brother in the past, and now she was put in the same position. She was the fool one. In addition, she was forced to be confronted with reality, because she needed to admit her wrongdoings. Since she was behind this assault (chapter 94), she had to see her brother wounded, the consequences of her lies and manipulations. (chapter 99) Yet, each time she refused to become responsible. She always had a perfect excuse: the nobles were to blame for this, the lord had acted like a spoiled child etc…. In front of the scholar’s house, it was because her brother had not listened to her. Besides, Min was also accountable for this. (chapter 99) She never pointed her finger to the black guards, for she knew that they could reply that she was responsible for her brother’s resistance. She had not been able to convince him to follow Min. She preferred blaming innocent people (Baek Na-Kyum, Yoon Seungho and “Jihwa”) than recognizing her own guilt and her bad choices. Since in the past, she stood in front of her door, her punishment was to remain outside. She could never enter the room (chapter 66). (chapter 96) She even got sequestered herself. (chapter 93), therefore it is not surprising that at the end, she was determined to leave the kisaeng house. But this doesn’t end here. The painter had been denied the right to bid farewell to his noonas a second time because of Heena (again), (chapter 99), this means that her punishment will be that she will never see her colleagues again. Since she faked her death (chapter 99), her karma will be that she gets killed for real. In my opinion, Heena is destined to suffer and die a horrible death. Remember that in this story, karma will be 1000% worse than the crime itself. She will be definitely blamed for the murder of many people. Since she claimed that nobles were filthy and violent liars, her doctrines and belief could be used against her, the moment the police investigate Black Heart’s death. .(chapter 102) She is a Christian, hence she could be accused of sacrilege too. In my eyes, Heena will never be able to bid farewell to her brother again. His words in the mansion will become a reality. (chapter 69) As you can see, I am detecting a progression in her wrongdoings. She is getting more and more involved, though there is no ambiguity that she was deceived herself in season 3. But this doesn’t excuse her crimes, for she refused to listen to her brother and called him an idiot. At no moment, she pondered on the situation. Her decisions were strongly influenced by her emotions (fear, anger and hatred). That’s the reason why I am convinced that if she is not dead (my theory), her attitude towards her brother will worsen to the point that she will call her brother a bird of misfortune! (chapter 68) Remember her metaphor concerning the gibang, it was viewed as a nest. She was already comparing her brother to a bird. (chapter 93) Thus the only thing that is missing is “of misfortune”. And she can only adopt such a belief, for everything she had planned never worked out. She imagined that she could exchange her brother for her freedom (chapter 97) which represented a betrayal of her own doctrines. But the result was that Min was killed, hence her situation can only deteriorate. If she can escape punishment concerning the nobles’ killing, she has then an opportunity to change her situation by putting the blame on her brother. Why? It is because Baek Na-Kyum will be perceived by Kim and the pedophile as the bird of misfortune. They will be reunited by this “belief”. This reinforces my conviction that the departures in season 4 will become very bloody and painful. The irony is that her metaphor with the bird revealed more about her own thoughts than she imagined. She just needed to give him some warmth, feed Baek Na-Kyum, and that was it. He had a bed and he could eat. A smile and a caress on the cheek were enough to motivate the painter. Her affection was fleeting and trivial in the end. However, while writing this essay, I realized why Baek Na-Kyum ended up drawing in the courtyard. It is because this was the only place where he could be in peace. In the room, he got assaulted by the nobles (chapter 94) or he had to witness his noona getting “beaten” by a violent noble (chapter 68). As you can see, the kitchen and the courtyard seemed to be the only place where he was left alone, until he got assault in the courtyard. Naturally, it was only possible during the day. Thus the learned sir had such a memory. (chapter 01)

5. Conclusions

The story is not only reflecting Heena’s metamorphosis and downfall, but also it serves as an example for the painter. Through her, he can grasp why Yoon Chang-Hyeon had such a cold gaze towards his own son. The ruin of their relationship will make him realize why the father could turn his back on his own son, the refusal of admitting his wrong choices and guilt. If he recalls their last argument, he can already notice the change in her gaze. (chapter 97) Fake concern versus anger and resent (chapter 97) The only difference is that here her fury and hatred were addressed more towards Yoon Seungho than the painter. However, gradually she was slowly revealing her anger towards her brother. At the end of season 3, her exit is quite sudden and brutal: staged death! (chapter 99) But by faking her death, she not only hides her desertion, but also she is not able to bid farewell to her brother. He is left behind unconscious, so he can not notice her “death”, while in her mind, she can only remember this image: (chapter 99) Baek Na-Kyum lying unconscious and his head covered in blood. Will she feel remorse and blame herself for his “death”? If she is still alive, it is possible, however the moment she realizes that Baek Na-Kyum escaped death and as such staged his curtains, she can only resent him, for he deceived her. In reality, she was the one who deceiving everyone: Jihwa and the other nobles. To conclude, she played a bigger role in Yoon Seungho’s suffering in the end.

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

Painter Of The Night: 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.

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