Painter Of The Night: The ruined paintings 🖼️

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.

Anyone asked how many paintings were ruined in the manhwa would reply that there exist only two of them. The first was exposed in chapter 2 . Yoon Seungho discovered the ripped picture, while the painter was sleeping. As for the second, which Lee Jihwa had ruined by pouring water on it, the painter had made the discovery just before the host‘s arrival. In both cases, the lord‘s portrait was damaged. His body was either partially destroyed or blurred. (Chapter 11)

1. The symbolism of the ruined pictures

Then it occurred to me that the ruined paintings could have a symbolic meaning. They would reflect the main lead‘s mental health. This was not his true self. In verity, he was a broken man, hence his body had vanished. According to me, in the beginning of the story, he was suffering from erectile dysfunction. (chapter 2) Striking is that in the first painting, the main lead couldn’t see his back or his naked butt. For me, this was announcing that Yoon Seungho would never be an uke again. Furthermore, the lord‘s gaze was covered by a slap of paper, reminding me of Baek Na-Kyum’s white headband. Thus I view the piece of paper on the lord’s head and eye as a sign of his mental servitude. The hidden gaze was showing that his mind was somehow trapped. Because the eyes are the mirror of the soul, Yoon Seungho needed to discover his own gaze in order to recognize not only his own attraction, but also the existence of his own identity. (chapter 3) The painting was showing him that he was not a plaything! That‘s the reason why he felt aroused afterwards. For the first time, he had his own urges and desires. In other words, the ruined painting was part of the lord’s therapy, it was pushing him to look at his actual mental state. The damaged picture was inciting him to change so that his broken body would recover. At the same time, since it was a picture, it helped him to feel safe. Therefore it is no coincidence that the lord had no huge flashback in season 1! In chapter 38, he still could control his panic attack, for he had the painter by his side. It was necessary for him to develop strength and confidence before facing his biggest tormentor: lord Song, the pedophile. And now, you comprehend why Yoon Seungho met father Lee before Yoon Chang-Hyeon. This was part of his exposure therapy. This indicates how the noble views the patriarchs responsible for his own suffering. However, I doubt that the young noble was aware of the true degree of father Lee’s guilt.

And now, you are wondering what could be the meaning of the second ruined picture. (chapter 44) My interpretation is the following. The author was revealing the presence of brainwashing!! This is no coincidence that the picture was ruined by water. (chapter 12) Furthermore, don’t forget that Yoon Seungho had been perceived as a sodomite because of Lee Jihwa in the past. This signifies that the red-haired master was undoing his wrong. It was, as if he was now purifying the main lead. At the same time, the water had another symbolic function: to bring to the surface Yoon Seungho’s traumas. This explicates why he got so mad in the study. For the first time, he was allowed to voice his emotions. On the other hand, not only Yoon Seungho’s portrait got ruined, but also Min and his friend. (chapter 44) They were all acting the same: obsessed with lust. This shows that the protagonist was not the only one who had been badly influenced. Yet there exists a huge difference between our beloved aristocrat and the two other masters. Black Heart and his companion were losing their identity, for the beholder couldn’t see their faces. That way, Baek Na-Kyum could project himself into the uke on the right side. In other words, the picture was predicting the future evolution. Min was not realizing that he was slowly vanishing, he was becoming more and more the male kisaeng for the protagonist. Hence it is not surprising that the young lord organized a huge sex party in his domain. (chapter 33) We could say that his house was slowly transformed into a brothel. Besides, I would like the readers to keep in their mind the Joker’s statement in the inn which seems to confirm this impression: (chapter 92). Yet, like mentioned in one my previous analyses, I discovered that Min was suffering from an erectile dysfunction. This explicates why he couldn’t have sex with the painter. And now, pay attention to the painting once again. The latter was showing that The Joker had actually taken Yoon Seungho’s position in the end. He was now reduced to be a bottom. Thus it occurred to me that Heena tried to run away from the kisaeng house, because she was rejecting sex. According to me, she had planned to stay in Black Heart’s mansion. She definitely hoped that she would escape prostitution thanks to her brother, but the opposite could actually happen, especially the moment Black Heart’s death is revealed. Someone could take over his domain: lord Song for example.😦

But let’s return our attention to the second ruined image. By pouring water on the nobles in the picture, Lee Jihwa never recognized the signification of his gesture. He was showing the powerlessness of the nobles! We could say that they got cursed to become shadows of themselves. One had sexual issues, while the other became a drug addict. Under this new light, the readers can grasp why afterwards Yoon Seungho had no problem to punch The Joker and to evict his guests in season 2 . (chapter 44) I believe that the ruined painting encouraged him to voice his emotions and thoughts, to act like a lord… because so far, he had been trained to live like a slave, a commoner. In that moment, he felt so powerful that he threatened to kill a scholar and the painter. (chapter 11) He was speaking like the king, the pedophile. His words were actually divulging the brainwashing. And that would be the reflection within the same chapter. What caught my attention is that contrary to the first painting, Yoon Seungho’s gaze was not covered. In fact, this was the only part that looked undamaged. Hence the beholder could still identity him. From my point of view, Byeonduck had two reasons for protecting his eyes. First, the vivid gaze was exposing the slowly recovery from the protagonist. He has now an identity which stands in opposition to the paintings in the publication where you could only see his back, butt and his long braided hair. (chapter 1) In the image from chapter 11, the beholder could sense the noble’s true desires despite the “brainwashing”. He was looking at the painter, the invisible hand. The latter was like a ghost. Secondly, the lord’s gaze was spared in order to confront the father! Yoon Chang-Hyeon had to recognize his son in order to be faced with his own sins!

2. Yoon Chang-Hyeon’s rage

Like I had pointed out in my first essay about the father, the latter was upset, for he was forced to see the consequences of his decisions. The picture was showing his hypocrisy. He was responsible that Yoon Seungho was living in debauchery. Hence it is no coincidence that in this scene, Byeonduck showed us the patriarch’s hand. (chapter 44) Yet the man would never admit that he had been the helping hand of „lord Song“, which stands in opposition to Baek Na-Kyum who was acting as Yoon Seungho’s therapist. Besides, like mentioned above, the artist was the invisible hand, the ghost whom the main lead felt attracted to.

Yoon Chang-Hyeon’s shaking hand exposes his emotions and thoughts concerning the protagonist. He is furious! He is trembling out of anger. However, he had another cause for his trembling!! For the first time, the elder saw his son with a topknot. 😢 Despite everything, his son had been able to become a noble, even a man!! He was no longer living like an animal. His status had improved, while the father had lost his support. This picture showed the reality of the purge. Now, only Yoon Seungho was benefitting from the „exchange of favors“. Moreover, Yoon Seungho could put his prick into a hole!! To sum up, the ruined painting was proving as well that the father had been wrong. That’s the reason why during their last meeting, the father’s reproach had changed. (chapter 87) But let’s not forget that the young noble was turned into a bottom so that the father’s words become like a huge farce. He had been trained not to use his prick and to look like a woman. Hence he was rather slender and had a braid. Yoon Chang-Hyeon had actually contributed to turn his son into a sodomite and the publications from chapter 1 are the evidence of the elders’ crime! (chapter 1) The moment the identity of the braided man is revealed, the beholder can detect their crimes and their hypocrisy. Both patriarchs pushed a minor to have sex with an old bearded man. And don’t forget that there was no marriage, hence the town folks are curious about the main lead’s future bride. This signifies that the sex in the picture can only judged as illegal, as a rape. That’s the reason why I believe that the ruined painting from season 1 served to prepare the father to face cruel reality. It was the first step. What caught my attention is that the patriarch left the room just before the sexual session in the past (chapter 86) and in the present (chapter 87), though in the second case, he approached the throne first. He never remained there, till the session was over. This is important, because it exposes that the father was just assuming that the sex sessions would take place. Yet, in the bedchamber, it didn’t happen, while in the gibang it did take place. However, something could have happened after the sexual lesson. As you can see, the elder made the huge mistake to trust people, to rely too much on impressions. Furthermore, the fact that he leaves the place shows that he has the same habit than Heena. Is it because he fears sex too? And now, you comprehend why the father’s hand was shaking! (chapter 44) He was scared too! He was forced to see sex with his own eyes. For him, sex was just a necessity to get a heir. (chapter 86) Consequently, I deduce that the father will be forced to assist to a sex session full of violence and torture himself, similar to the head-kisaeng’s (chapter 96), yet there won’t be love there. Moreover, he won’t be able to leave the room like before. From my point of view, this confrontation is to corner the elder master Yoon, to pressure him to admit his guilt. In my eyes, he will experience what his son went through: Hell, a nightmare. (chapter 86)

To conclude, the ruined paintings played a huge role in the lord’s suffering. They represented the first step of exposure therapy, and it was the same for the persons responsible for his martyrdom. For the first time, Lee Jihwa had to see a sex orgy with his own eyes. Thus he covered his gaze with the veiled hat. (chapter 12) He was still avoiding reality, until he was cornered to participate in a sex orgy for real, a new version of the past: (chapter 100) The only difference to the past is that this time, the villain and the antagonist couldn’t rape the main character. Hence imagine how Yoon Seungho must have felt, when it happened to him. The painter is going through a milder form of sexual assault. Nevertheless, it was still very violent and bloody. Consequently, it is not surprising that he was brought back to the past, when he saw his lover unconscious and his face was covered in blood: (chapter 102) This represented the high peak of his treatment. After this night, he became stronger than before, thereby he will be able to meet the pedophile. The painter is his source of strength, his pillar. His desire to keep the painter by his side, to protect him is the reason why he is able to overcome his PTSD. He has a reason to encounter the old bearded men and accuse them for their sins.

3. A new ruined painting?

Many manhwaphiles believe that there exist only two damaged paintings, nonetheless this is not correct. It is just they are not obvious, for they didn’t play a huge role in the story so far. So now you are wondering where they are. (chapter 41) The painter’s tears fell on the picture representing his rape. It was, as if they were washing the lord for this sin. But the water didn’t destroy the image totally, because the characters were not turning into ghosts. In reality, the two characters were slowly escaping from their mental prison, recovering slowly from their traumas and issues despite the heartbreaks. But why did it happen then? It is related to Jung In-Hun’s words. The scholar had reproached the painter to enjoy sodomy. (chapter 40) However, the night before, the artist had not truly accepted the lord’s advances. They had not had even sex. He had more kept company to the tormented Yoon Seungho. So the teacher couldn’t refer to this sex session. Secondly the learned sir was not supposed to know about the sex marathon, for the painter had just been allowed to paint erotic pictures. Hence he could only refer to one scene, the one in chapter 25. My avid readers will certainly recall my following interpretation: Jung In-Hun had witnessed the rape, but he had not intervened. This means that he knew that Baek Na-Kyum had rejected the host’s advances. He had not allowed him to touch him. This means that he was lying in the library. Furthermore, the rape had taken place because neither Kim nor Jung In-Hun had not stopped the owner of the mansion. Both had remained in the shadow!! That’s the reason why the protagonist was washed off his sin. The learned sir’s jealousy led him to wound the painter, and the latter suffered so much from this blow that the lord’s violence in the pavilion appeared as nothing compared to the learned sir’s betrayal and abandonment. The learned sir’s words were far more cruel and painful than the coerced sex in the pavilion. And now, we have to question ourselves this. Where did all these pictures go? (chapter 41) Did the butler keep them? Or did he give them to lord Song? Striking is that in these pictures, neither Yoon Seungho nor Baek Na-Kyum have eyes. In fact, they have no visage! This means that the homosexuals can not be identified, unless the tailor is present. He can recognize the persons based on their clothes. Keep in mind that the pictures will serve as an evidence for crimes or reproaches. So a person could use these pictures to push the painter to recall the lord’s actions from season 1. He had raped him, he had forced him to have a sex marathon in the bedchamber which could have killed him etc… (chapter 81) In other words, this can only backfire… in fact, this could push Yoon Seungho to look at the publication from chapter 1 more closely and remember his own past: the face of his tormentor.

As for the fourth damaged image, it was used as an illustration for the first season. Here, it is ripped like in chapter 2. From my point of view, this image is linked to the future. Someone will torn the picture out of rage and jealousy. Since the father didn’t burn or rip it, I have the impression that “lord Song” should be the one who will act like the painter. Why? It is because it looks very similar to this image in the sand: (chapter 1) Two noblemen making love to each other! This represented the artist’s wish and vision. At the same time, the future ruined painting could expose the perpetrator’s mental state: he is either living himself in darkness and broken. And if he pours water on it, this signifies that the couple could “vanish” and turn into a different couple: a real husband and wife, an official marriage, where the painter becomes Yoon Seungho’s official bride. And the painter has the face and the legs of a woman, only the presence of his short hair is revealing his true gender. (chapter 94) Yet, the moment he wears long hair, especially a braid, it will be no longer visible to detect his sex. But no one would remove the clothes of a noblewoman to see her sex, for this would represent a huge crime. As you can envision it, I am expecting a huge prank from our beloved couple to turn the pedophile into ridicule.

But since the story is in going in circle, this signifies that this ruined painting is also linked to the past. From my point of view, two paintings should have been ruined too. And we have an evidence for this: (chapter 16) So far, none of the pictures was splattered with ink. And who had done it in the past? Yoon Seung-Won, Kim or Lee Jihwa? There is no doubt that Yoon Seungho got blamed for it. Besides, which painting was it too? Since all the ruined paintings from season 1 were connected to the protagonist, and each of them were announcing the evolution of the characters, I assume that splattering it with ink represented the downfall of the main lead. He would fall into the pit and end up living in darkness. On the other hand, since we have two damaged pictures, I deduce that in the past, one picture was damaged with ink, and the other was torn. Hence you comprehend why I am expecting the return of ruined paintings, for they play a huge role in the story. They played a role in the lord‘s disgrace and isolation, thus they serve to confront the perpetrators and accomplices with verity. Moreover they help Yoon Seungho and Baek Na-Kyum to get justice for their suffering. They have to recall the past, for the painter was the innocent witness of Yoon Seungho’s suffering. (chapter 1) (chapter 68) They are the proofs of crimes exposing the pedophile’s debauchery. (chapter 1) But the paintings were not the only things destroyed: we have the music box, the letters, the books, but more importantly the talismans: (chapter 99) This was the new version of the ripped paper from chapter 2! This indicates that the talismans couldn’t be effective, they couldn’t protect Min and his friends from resentful spirits.

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

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

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

1. Castration or abandonment?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. The tool for the loss of the topknot

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

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

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

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

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

4. The reason behind the loss of the topknot

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

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

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

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

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

Painter Of The Night: The puzzle with the paper 📜 📨 (second version)

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

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

Announcement: The essay “The secret behind curry, apple and butter” has been updated.

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

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

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

1. Baek Na-Kyum’s apology

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

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

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

1. 2. The lord and the papers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Kim’s hidden action

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

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

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

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

An empty paper which is confused with the poem

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

The reference to the library:

The allusion to Kim

The presence of love and affection:

The lord got badmouthed

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

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

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

3. Heena and the letters

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

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

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

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

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

4. Father Lee’s message

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

5. Conclusions

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

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

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

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

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

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Subscribers from wordpress if you want the password for the locked essays, please contact me under the following email address: bebebisous33@yahoo.com

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

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

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

1. Brown-nosing and boot licking

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

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

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

2. Apple and fellatio

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

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

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

3. Baek Na-Kyum and Kim’s sucking

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

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

4. The night of Yoon Seungho’s relapse

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

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

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

5. The night in the shaman’s house

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

6. The Yoons

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

7. Conclusions

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

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

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

Painter Of The Night: 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/ 

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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: Hunted or wanted? 🏹🩸

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

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

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

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

1. The hidden chases

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

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

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

2. Yoon Seungho the hunter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Hunting: hobby or work?

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

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

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

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

To conclude, the hunter can become hunted too.

4. Chased

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Min had turned into a dog, because he had been misguided. He never realized that his biggest wish was to be noticed as a human by the painter.