Painter Of The Night/The Pawn’s Revenge: The witch and the lustful spell (part 1)

This is where you can read the manhwas. But be aware that these manhwas are 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 of Painter Of The Night: As for The Pawn’s Revenge, this is where you can read other essays:

Warning: I used the German version Snow White “Schneewittchen” as basis. Hence I translated myself the quotes.

Everything started with this panel: (chapter 22) The protagonist starts viewing himself as the main character from the fairytale Snow White. Hence he comes to the conclusion that since he is Snow White, then there must be a hunter and a witch, the famous stepmother of Snow White. (chapter 22). That’s why he believes that Do Seong-Rok is the huntsman, while Jeon Hee Seong is the witch, because the former didn’t kill him. The former prostitute had planned to get rid of the young man, as he represented a source of danger for her. That’s why she ordered the killing to her lover. Soon after the release, an user asked Evy who was the Prince in this story. The author replied by denying his existence in this story.

What caught my attention is that there are more references of Snow White in this manhwa, like for example the presence of the shared apple. (chapter 24) Thanks to The Pawn’s Revenge, I came to recognize that even Painter Of The Night has so many common denominators with this fairytale. (chapter 23) That’s the reason why I decided to compare the two manhwas with Snow White. This means, I’ll also explain why they diverge. But for that, it is necessary to explain the fairytale Snow White and its functions.

1. The fairytale Snow White and its purposes

Actually, the focus of this fairytale is the daughter-mother relationship creating some rivalry and jealousy. Though there exists so many stories about this topic (for more read this article, only two are famous, the fairytale written by the brothers Grimm (19th Century) and the version from Walt Disney, “Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs” (1937).

1. 1. Grimm versus Walt Disney

But the famous psychologist Bruno Bettelheim, who considered tales as very important for the child’s development, looked down on the version from Walt Disney calling it “empty minded entertainment”, as the creators had modified too much the Grimms’ story to the point that it had softened and robbed the meaning of this fairytale. Why did he say that? It is because the darkness from the Grimms’ version had totally disappeared. The stepmother in Walt Disney’s version doesn’t eat the lever and lung of a boar boiled in salt in order to keep her beauty, or she doesn’t asphyxiate Snow White with a lacing strap. The jealousy had turned into more in a rivalry and competition because of beauty. Besides, the movie focused on fated love too, for the prince met Snow White as a child. As you can see, the prince plays a bigger role in the movie. For Bruno Bettelheim, only the Grimms’ version is the true one, as it truly deals with the oedipal complex.

The oedipal complex is when a young daughter feels jealous of her own mother, she is unconsciously attracted to her father. But since having such feelings is forbidden, she projects her own jealousy onto her mother. That’s why the daughter feels that her mother is jealous of her. The darkness from the child is now personified by the “mother”. I need to add that the German authors turned the mother into a stepmother in the second version. For Bettelheim, the fairytale helps a child to overcome the negative emotions (oedipal complex, jealousy, rivalry), it also helps him/her to understand the world around by giving him/her a meaning to life. Furthermore, it explains to the young daughters the future transformation unconsciously: it announces the adolescence and adulthood through sexuality. We have to imagine, when Snow White lives with the dwarfs, she is protected growing up in an environment free from sexuality. So when the Queen offers the apple and both are eating from the same apple, Snow White discovers sex and temptation. The apple is a reference to the bible. And now, you comprehend why I choose such a title. The Queen is a witch introducing Snow White to sexuality. As you can see, Bruno Bettelheim judged the fairytale from the point of view of a psychologist. Yet what he failed to realize is that fairytales have other functions.

1. 2. Fairytale and History

First, fairytales were not written for just children, but also for grown-ups. They were supposed to teach lessons to the adults.

They were meant to entertain adults while they were spinning, sewing, repairing tools, and doing chores late at night. John Updike tells us that fairy tales were the television and pornography of an earlier age, and a story like that is revelatory about the true uses of enchantment.” quoted from

How to deal for example, when a lord betrays or abandons a servant? Here, I would like to outline that the notion “family” is strongly connected to the house, and as such a household including the staff. Imagine that Snow White is a maid. Remember that the Queen acts as a lord, the head of the house, so when she orders Snow White’s execution, the young girl can only escape from this terrible fate thanks to the hunter’s fake generosity. This story shows that a servant or even daughter has no right, the lord can do whatever he wants. He won’t get sanctioned. And this remark leads me to the following statement. Bettelheim didn’t recognize that fairytales actually reflect history and the society of their period.

And now, you comprehend why the Disney version was less brutal, more romantic and the Dwarfs were portrayed as rich but hardworking miners. When the American author released the fairytale, marriage in America is associated to love. There exists the myth about fated love too. In addition, American society is promoting free market economy and hard work: American dream. Therefore we see the Dwarfs working so hard in the mine while singing. In the other version, it is just said casually. The parents are supposed to protect their children from any kind of violence, the children have even rights. Consequently the cruelty was removed. Moreover, motherhood is considered as sacred, while in the past, it was different. In the 18th Century and even before, parents didn’t ponder on how to raise their children properly. There were neither psychologist nor pediatrician nor educationalist. The children just needed to learn how to act and dress according to their social status. They were treated like small adults. However, slowly from the end of the 18th Century on, government and as such society started perceiving children differently, as a tool for their own politics. Napoleon created lycées (high schools) in order to increase his army. He promoted education, while in truth he misused it for propaganda and indoctrination. My point is that when the brothers Grimm published Snow White, people treated young children differently than in 1937 in the United States. In Germany, adults used fear to control the children!

Die gar traurige Geschichte mit dem Feuerzeug von Heinrich Hoffmann
This is a story from the Struwwelpeter written by Heinrich Hoffman. As you can see, the girl plays with the matches. Her disobedience leads to her death. She gets burnt. The lesson is that if you should listen to your parents’ words because if not, you can die. These lessons are quite gruesome but reflect the mentality of that period. Fear is used as a tool to get submissive students.

Secondly, violence was a way to expose the children to the brutality of their world (there were many revolutions in Germany in 19th Century). But there’s more to it. And we have a proof that Snow White from the brothers Grimm reflected the society of the 19th Century: the presence of a lacing strap.

But the old woman quickly laced and laced so tightly that Snow White lost her breath and thought she was dead.”

It was a reference to the corset. Young girls would try to lace their corset so tight that they could faint. This was one of the lessons in Snow White: “Don’t lace the corset to tight, because you could have the same fate than Snow White!” This explicates why Walt Disney didn’t include this scene in his story. The corset had vanished from fashion a long time ago. How did I realize that old fairytales are a mirror of the past? It is because when I was a P. A. of a History professor, I was asked to translate his essay about the definition of House and Foreign in late Middle Age and early modern times, and he used the fairytale “Town Musicians of Bremen” from Grimm as an example. The servants were indeed part of the House, once they were old, they would be thrown out of the mansion. The house was a synonym for family, like I mentioned above. During the Middle-Age, European cities, like Bremen, became more and more powerful leading to their emancipation from lords. Bremen like other cities became independent, hence the city councils could hire hire their own musicians. Though this fairytale was written in the 19th Century, it let transpire the social norms and mentality from a previous period. That’s why I came to the conclusion that Snow White must also reflect society from the 19th Century. I could give you another example.

In the Grimms’ version, the presence of sexuality was hidden, because it was symbolized by the apple. Since religion occupied a huge place in the 19th Century, people knew the bible. Consequently they could comprehend the message. But the moment Snow White ate the apple, she discovered sex. But note that she fell into a deep sleep right away. Once she woke up due to an accident occurring during the transportation of the coffin, Snow White had already found her husband, the prince. The latter had selected her as his bride, as he couldn’t forget her. The prince had even asked for the dwarfs’ permission.

Then he said to the dwarves, “Let me have the coffin, and I will give you what you want for it.”

In other words, this fairy tale was promoting marriage of convenience and the interdiction of sex before marriage, while in the Disney version we have the opposite message. Since the prince kisses the protagonist, before he marries her, it implies that sex can occur before marriage.

Thus even if I consider that The Pawn’s revenge and Painter Of The Night are new versions of Snow-White, they can only be different. Now, sexuality, sexual education and homosexuality are no longer a taboo. That’s the reason why there is no hidden message concerning this topic. As a conclusion, the stories will reflect Korean society or modern society as such. The stories will teach lessons to the readers and give meaning to their life, but only if they decide to ponder about these stories.

This truly exposes that Grimms’ and Walt Disney’s Snow White is just a mirror of the past. But don’t get me wrong: these fairytales are still useful. First, like Bruno Bettelheim, they help children to forge their own identity and to navigate in the world as moral compass. Since the characters are black (evil) or white (good), the children can easily differentiate between right and wrong. Simultaneously, the fairytales prepare them to recognize that reality is more complex. We have the perfect example in Snow White (Grimm) with the huntsman.

1. 3. The lesson taught by the huntsman

It seems that people only remembers him as a good-hearted man, as he had pity and disobeyed the Queen’s orders. But what many don’t know or overlooked is that the huntsman embodies cowardice and selfishness. In truth, he is just a weak-hearted person and a hypocrite.

“And because she was so beautiful, the hunter took pity on her and said, “So run along, you poor child!” The wild animals will soon have eaten you, he thought, and yet he felt as if a stone had rolled from his heart, because he did not need to kill her.

He acts kind and benevolent in front of Snow White, while in reality he envisions that she will die. At no moment, he wants to save her. She survives, because he doesn’t want to feel guilty and fate is on her side. This means, he just refuses to become responsible for her death. Others will do it for him. That way, his Queen won’t notice that he disobeyed. And notice that the moment the stepmother discovered that she had been played, the huntsman’s disobedience was not punished. Why? It is because she didn’t discover it right away. She ate the lung and lever believing that these were the parts of Snow White.

As you can see, the fairytale was teaching the meaning of fake kindness, cowardice and hypocrisy. But the irony is that in the latest movies, the huntsman was turned into a hero! In addition, it also exposes the “powerlessness” of the Queen. The huntsman could fool her due to her obsession. Simultaneously, it teaches that disobedience doesn’t lead to a death sentence. Here, I would like to point out that after the end of World War II, many German soldiers or guards from camps of concentration claimed that they didn’t dare to disobey. They just followed the orders they had received as a justification for their misdeeds. The reality is that it was just a myth. Historians could prove that no one got executed or no one was forced to become a guard in a camp of concentration.

1. 4. Definition of a fairytale

Because of these parallels between The Pawn’s Revenge, Painter Of The Night and Snow White, I wondered if the manhwas could be considered as fairytales. The presence of violence or sexuality can not be judged as evidences that they can not be fairytales, for they are considered as old form of pornography, destined to adults too. So what is the definition of fairytale?

The story must contain the following elements:

  • The presence of magic and supernatural beings: witch, animals acting like humans, fairies etc.
  • The characters are seldom given a precise identity. The characters are portrayed very briefly. They are associated to features, like for example, the Queen embodies vanity, superficiality and jealousy.
  • The existence of trials, the heroine has to go through different bad experiences in order to grow and mature.
  • The place and times: They are usually not defined in order to give a timeless dimension.
  • The ending: People usually think that all the fairytales have a good ending, but this is not true. The fairytales from Andersen (The little Mermaid, the little Match girl) have often tragic ending.

According to this definition, The Pawn’s revenge can’t be considered as a fairytale, for there is no magic. But I would like to point out that The Pawn’s revenge still contains some “supernatural elements”. Lee Je-Oh compares the serial killer to a grim reaper (chapter 1) or a god. Then the characters are often associated to animals: dog, mutt, snake, horse, pig, elephant, chicken (chapter 2). Furthermore, the figures in this story are perceived as living pawns of Janggi. (chapter 12) Finally , I compared Jeon See Heong to a mermaid (chapter 6) bewitching her prey. On the other hand, the figures have a precise identity. The time and the place are quite defined. As for Painter Of The Night, it looks like the same. We know the birthdays of Yoon Seungho and Baek Na-Kyum and there’s no magic or supernatural elements. Yet, we sometimes see the presence of magic and a lustful spell. Imagine, in this scene we have the impression that the painter’s spirit summoned the Ghost Seungho to approach him. Striking is that this repressed desired got fulfilled. While he had his eyes closed, the lord approached him. Another positive aspect is that the time and space are not defined. It’s just Joseon period, but that’s it. The mention of Hanyang can not be seen as transgression, because remember that there exists the fairytale Town Musicians of Bremen. The town has no name. Byeonduck said that her manhwa was not a historical story, but she found her inspiration in History. Besides, the trials of the two protagonists are more in the center, while Lee Je-Oh and Do Seong-Rok have already struggled, before the story starts. Consequently, Painter Of The Night resembles a lot more to a fairytale than The Pawn’s revenge, though the sentence “once upon a time” is missing.

On the surface, this comparison seems pointless, yet I wanted to expose that these stories might not entirely correspond to a fairytale, they still resemble to Snow White. Just like the fairytales, the manhwas can have a deeper meaning, for they serve the same purposes: Teach lessons to adults, incite the readers to question their own society and social norms, develop a better understanding of psychology, encourage them to become more committed, less indifferent to injustice, more thoughtful and not judge people too quickly.

1. 5. The ingredients of Snow White

In order to be able to contrast the stories to the fairytale, it is necessary to list all the elements present in Snow White from the brothers Grimm. Besides, this version resembles more to the manhwas due to the sexual content. Seduction and temptation are more obvious. Nevertheless, I will not just list the characters and the relevant items present in the fairytale, but also the topics while giving some explanations:

  1. The 7 Dwarfs: owners of mines
  2. The presence of a witch (The Queen as the stepmother in the original story)
  3. The huntsman
  4. Snow White: Dark hair, white skin and red lips.
  5. The prince: a symbol for marriage
  6. The mirror of truth
  7. Arrogance and vanity: She keeps looking at her own reflection in the mirror. She feels entitled to be the most beautiful.
  8. Hidden fears and anxieties: The Queen still doesn’t believe her own eyes, hence she needs a confirmation from the mirror of Truth. In reality, the mother is full of insecurities, that’s the reason why she desires a confirmation.
  9. Reflection and critical thinking: She doesn’t ponder about the reason why the mirror of Truth is telling her that Snow White is more beautiful. She doesn’t distinguish between seeming and being.
  10. Jealousy and rivalry
  11. Oedipal complex
  12. Guilt and responsibility: Because the hunter didn’t want to feel guilty, he refused to follow the order. Yet he didn’t save her as well. Notice that the stepmother and the hunter desired to put the responsibility on others. The Queen blamed her step-daughter for her failure, whereas the huntsman desired to delegate the dirty work to others (animals). Both showed no true remorse in the end. The Queen failed in her quest, because she never reflected on her own actions. She is definitely responsible for her own failure and misery.
  13. Loyalty and betrayal: While the Queen betrays the daughter, the huntsman does the the heroine and the Queen. He is only loyal to himself and his own interests. Despite the discovery of the scheme, she doesn’t punish him, she vents her anger on the protagonist. On the other hand, Snow White still has a good impression of the huntsman.
  14. Neglect: the father seems inexistent and he doesn’t intervene.
  15. Obsession and blindness: The Queen is determined to become the fairest that she doesn’t understand what the mirror of Truth is telling her. She misunderstands the message: the mirror of Truth is telling her that “Schneewittchen” has the better personality. She is a 10000 better than the Queen, as she is more kind and selfless. The Queen doesn’t recognize her true personality.
  16. Abandonment: Notice that Snow White is sent away to woods in order to get murdered. This gesture symbolizes abandonment and betrayal. But the Queen is not the only one to blame. The father doesn’t seem to miss her disappearance as well. He neglects and abandons his daughter.
  17. Selfishness and fake altruism
  18. Death and murders
  19. Hypocrisy: Snow White never discovered the huntsman’s true personality.
  20. Cowardice
  21. The presence of justice and injustice: While the huntsman escaped a punishment, the Queen was sentenced to death: “Iron slippers had already been heated over a fire, and they were brought over to her with tongs. Finally, she had to put on the red-hot slippers and dance until she fell down dead“. This means that the real perpetrator was only caught many years after the crimes. And it is, because the huntsman had told her what the Queen had ordered him to do. She relied on his testimony. But the protagonist never discovered the true thoughts of the huntsman. Yet, like I mentioned above, the hunter was not innocent. He might have committed no big crime towards Snow White, yet he was definitely a sinner and had not a good heart. According to our actual laws, the huntsman has perpetrated a wrongdoing: non-assistance of a person in danger. The moral of this fairytale is that true justice will never happen immediately or even worse: there exists no real justice.
  22. Ambition and Greed: Her quest to be the most beautiful exposes her greed. In fact, her fight is pointless, as she can’t fight against aging. She is already doomed to failure.
  23. Unconscious/conscious: Here, I would like the readers to keep in mind that according to Bruno Bettelheim, the fairytale was speaking to children’s unconscious, while the adults can learn lessons from this story consciously.

And now, it is time to analyze how similar the manhwas are to Snow White.

2. The Pawn’s revenge

As this essay is already long and to outline the similarities, I will put the common denominators to bold. Simultaneously, I will follow the list developed above by examining the main figures.

2. 1. The 7 Dwarves

Since the 7 Dwarves are owners of mines and seem to be very rich, I couldn’t help myself connecting these supernatural creatures to the following characters: Contrary to the fairytale, they embody not innocence, generosity, selflessness and chastity, but the opposite: sex, hypocrisy, corruption, selfishness, ruthlessness and immorality. They are not owners of mines, but they possess brothels which reminded me of chicken farms . They don’t live surrounded by nature and among animals, but in the city. The animals are the humans, they are treated like chickens. In other words, they stand in opposition to the dwarves of the fairytales: corruption, urbanization, poverty and misery. They don’t work themselves, but let others work for them like slaves. Yet they act, as if they were normal citizens abiding laws. This explicates why Ma Jong-Seok hides his affection from Snow White. He can’t be labelled as homosexual. The dwarfs, associated to different vices, symbolize the negative aspects of free market economy and the problems, when the government is not strong enough or too corrupt to stop such an evolution. I could even say, we have here the negative reflection of Snow White and the 7 Dwarves from Walt Disney. Motherhood is no longer sacred, the kids are exposed to any kind of abuse. Snow White is now held captive in the mansion of the dwarves! He is exposed to exploitation, the perverted version of Grimes’ version. In the fairytale, the young girl was supposed to take care of the house in exchange of protection, here we have the opposite: Enslavement. The male prostitute has no choice. But what they didn’t realize is that the witch would betray them. Hence I consider the apple as the tool the witch used to get rid of her rivals! The fruit served as a diversion, she was busy listening to their affairs so that she could develop her plan to climb the social ladders.

2. 2. The witch

Since Jeon Hee Seong was the one who introduced Do Seong-Rok to sex, she can definitely be seen as the witch and evil queen. She seduced him with her experience and insight. She could read him like an open book. She knew that he was so pure and innocent, hence she compared him to a lamb. Her resemblance to the evil mother explains why she is seen with the apple. However, unlike the fairytale, the fruit doesn’t symbolize sexuality, but betrayal. She is actually spying on the boss of the red light district and his minions. She behaves exactly like the Queen, as she is not longing for warmth and love. But her wish is still different, as she wishes power and wealth. Yet, they resemble each other, as both felt somehow powerless. In the fairytale, the absence or passivity of the king, Snow White’s father, gives me the impression that the evil Queen could have been a neglected wife, and the lord selected her as his new wife, out of convenience. He needed to have a wife by his side, and couldn’t remain as a widower. She was treated like a trophy explaining his absence. But because he married her for her beauty, it signifies that she had no power. Her appearance was her source of strength, and now you comprehend why she became obsessed with her image. If she lost her beauty, she would become even more powerless than before. She had nothing else to do. Jeon Hee Seong was forced to marry Choi, and while the Queen from Snow White was neglected, the witch was abused by her husband. So both were unhappy in their marriage and life. This explains their desire to get power in their own way. As the manhwaphiles can detect, both witches have something in common: ambition and greed, though Jeon See Heong uses her beauty differently. She is aware of her own attraction and has no fear or insecurities. She doesn’t need a mirror to tell her how beautiful she is. Her body is her tool, not the mirror. Yet both have another aspect in common: they try not to do the dirty work themselves. Both hire a killer, the only difference is that due to the huntsman’s betrayal, the Queen learned her lesson. She had to do it herself, if she wanted to get rid of her rival. And this leads me to the following observation. The witch from The Pawn’s revenge has two reasons to use others for her dirty work. First, she is no queen, hence she could get charged with murders. Secondly, if we use the fairytale as a parallel, she could have a similar mindset than the huntsman. She doesn’t want to feel burdened by guilt, notice that she is never facing the consequences of her order and decisions. She didn’t see the corpse of her dead husband and the gambler Lee Soon-Cheol. She just communicates through a cellphone. Besides, even Do Seong-Rok felt uncomfortable after killing two people. Hence I perceive Jeon Hee Seong as less bloodthirsty than she appears to be. She could be more of a coward.

On the other hand, in the manhwa the witch is still relying on her lover, Do Seong-Rok. She got angry, when she realized that he had disobeyed her and let him become responsible for Lee Je-Oh. However, it is just a matter of time, until she gets aware that Do Seong-Rok is no longer bewitched by her. In chapter 26, he can no longer have sex with her. Hence we have a parallel with the fairytale: the allusion of aging and change. The woman is no longer attractive to him, because he has perceived her true nature. She manipulated him and he got aware that she was fake. With this, we would another similarity with the fairytale, the distinction between seeming and being. He realizes, that her promises were all an illusion. In this scene, the manhwaphiles can sense her witchcraft.

And since Jeon Hee Seong has already chosen Ahn Jae Oh as her official partner due to his social position, it becomes understandable why her relationship with Do Seong-Rok was doomed to failure. I would say, since the police officer is on the verge to become a congressman, the protagonist could only appear weak to her. His strength were his loyalty and blinded trust. Consequently Ahn reminds me of the king from the fairytale, while I perceive Do Seong-Rok not just as the huntsman, but also as a second Snow White. First, he had dark hair and a white skin like the protagonist. Secondly, he was as pure as Snow White. But since he was neglected and had abandonment issues, he longed for maternal warmth and love. In the Korean version, we see his father promising to come back, an indication that he had no mother. Hence I judge, Do Seong-Rok’s relationship with the witch was a form of an oedipal complex. She served as a surrogate mother, that’s how much he longed for a mother and family. The manhwaphiles will realize the common denominators: neglect and abandonment perceptible in the beginning of the fairytale. Secondly, note that Do Seong-Rok had changed the color of his hair, when he met her again. That’s why I deduce that the card she gave him should be perceived as the apple from the fairytale. (chapter 16) With her appearance, her words and this card, she casted a spell on him. That’s why he was so full of lust during their second encounter. The red hair could be judged as the indication of the lustful spell. Simultaneously, this color implies the loss of virginity and the beginning of adulthood. The most fascinating is that in the bedroom, two colors are prevailing: red and white, which coincidences to the red and white side of the poisoned apple from Snow White. The witch’s beauty was so strong that he had to transform himself. (chapter 16) This was his desire to resemble her, to get closer to her. Since he was a man, the witch didn’t see him as a rival. This explicates why she didn’t feel jealous at all. But for me, there’s no ambiguity that she filled the void left by the missing mother. Hence, since he was having sex with a surrogate mother, this can not be considered as the real discovery of sex. I conclude that when he met Lee Je-Oh, he discovered real sexuality. That’s the reason why he can no longer have any erection with the Queen. If we judge The Pawn’s revenge as a fairytale, then it teaches, homosexuality is a normality. He didn’t know about this, until he saw the male prostitute having sex with the pimp and felt aroused.

Moreover, by sleeping with him, Jeon Hee-Seong somehow committed a sin. Let’s not forget that she was already married. The woman embodies evil, for she promotes cheating, betrayal, murder, selfishness and avidity. Her ambition is to become the Queen of the red light district. This means, the readers are witnessing the raising of the evil mother, who is on the verge of becoming the Queen! But due to her greed and ambition, she doesn’t realize her own blindness. Her arrogance makes her overlook the male prostitute, Lee Je-Oh. She trusts too much her beauty, and believes to be smarter than others. Thus her arrogance is the reason why she will fail in the end. She showed her true face to Do Seong-Rok too soon, when she showed her anger, because the huntsman had disobeyed her order. The man could see a glimpse of her true personality. Due to his past experience, he had learned his lesson. In addition, she is underestimating the power of love. Thus she had planned to betray and abandon her lover, but she doesn’t anticipate the killer’s betrayal. Exactly like the stepmother, she is not reflecting on her own actions. She didn’t pay too much attention to her words over the phone and the consequences. The absence of critical thinking will be another reason why she is doomed to fail: too obsessed to reach the top. She has the impression, she is almost there, the presence of the ring offered by Ahn is the proof of her success. And now, you can see why I saw so many parallels with the fairytale.

2. 3. Snow White and the huntsman

Naturally, this is not surprising that Lee Je-Oh considers Do Seong-Rok as the huntsman. The latter’s actions resemble to the ones from Snow White. Yet, unlike the hunter, the red-haired man has not a weak heart, but a good heart. He is not a coward or a hypocrite. He can feel pity, and doesn’t fear to dirty his hands. On the other hand, he has nightmares, as his unconscious is telling him that he made the wrong choice. And in this scene, we have the presence of conscious and unconscious. He shouldn’t have listened to his lover’s suggestions, but he is still in denial. That’s the reason why he keeps starring and looking at the letter with a fake confession. Hence I believe that contrary to the hunter, he feels some remorse, as he senses that he has been tricked. In my opinion, by sleeping with her, Do Seong-Rok got tainted by her darkness. This explicates why when he strangled Ma Jeong-Sok, he had an erection. And remember that in the Grimms’ version, we had the presence of a lace in connection to Snow White. And this reinforces my interpretation that the killer is actually more a combination of both characters: the huntsman and Snow White. He has become the “perverted version” due to the Queen’s influence, he is her step-son. Striking is that Lee Je-Oh is giving him another interpretation of his wrongdoings: he liberated him from his prison and misery.

2. 4. Snow White and the mirror of Truth

Since Jeong Hee-Seong resembles a lot to Lee Je-Oh, he appears to be indeed the real Snow White. Exactly like Do Seong-Rok and Snow White, he has dark hair, a white skin and red cheeks. Moreover, similar to the Grimms’ version, the main lead has been neglected and abandoned by his father.

Their fate seems similar, yet there is a huge difference. The male prostitute learned not to rely on others. When he tried to free himself, he didn’t ask for help, he stabbed Ma Jong-Seok himself. However, he was encouraged to use the knife by the witch, that’s how he discovered her true personality. Her beauty can no longer bewitch him. Striking is that he could already perceive her true personality, even before knowing her true identity.

In my opinion, Lee Je-Oh is actually a combination of the mirror of Truth and Snow White. Through his comments, he is confronting Do Seong-Rok and forcing him to reflect on his actions, questioning his relationship with the witch. But notice that he has a similar attitude with other characters. He confronts Choi Yeong-Gil with his hypocrisy and negative attitude. Just before the pimp is killed, he confronts him with his true personality and sins. He is responsible for the misery and death of many people. Once cornered, the “dwarf” is forced to confess his affection to Lee Je-Oh. Both dwarves had something in common: hypocrisy. Hence you can comprehend why I come to the conclusion, Lee Je-Oh is the mirror of truth. He embodies honesty and loyalty, just like the protagonist, he longed for a home and family.

Hence the huntsman’s “jail” corresponds more to the house of the dwarfs from the fairy tale. It’s the place where love, trust and innocence are protected. Since I have already predicted a revolution, I believe, Lee Je-Oh will give another sense to Do Seong-Rok’s murders. They will try to destroy this corrupted world full of selfishness and greed. That’s how Lee Je-Oh will become the witch’s rival. He will ruin her plan due to his sense of justice. The manhwaphiles will certainly remember that the fairytale is centered on jealousy, rivalry and competition. The young boy was already jealous that he felt the need to steal the killer. Right after having sex with him, he considers Do Seong-Rok as his boyfriend. He compliments him and caresses him, giving him the warmth and affection the killer had been longing.

What also caught my attention is that both Snow Whites are “corrupted”. While the one kills, the other lies, schemes and steals. This stands in opposition to “Schneewittchen” from the Grimms’ version. It is comprehensible, because both protagonists got tainted by their parents. Lee Je-Oh’s father was selfish and had no sense of responsibility, while Jeon Hee Seong desired to use the main lead’s weaknesses (isolation, lack of experience and innocence) to her advantage. This signifies, both are the products of bad parenting and a ruthless and selfish society. So if the two Snow Whites start working together and keep killing others in order to clean society, what will happen to this city? Chaos. But Lee Je-Oh would see it as delayed justice.

2. 5. The absence of the Prince

Why did Evy say that there was no prince in this story? My explanation is the following. Since the prince embodies “marriage” and in South Korea, homosexual marriage is not allowed, there can’t be a prince. Secondly, since I have already portrayed that the two protagonists have two functions, this signifies that both could also be perceived as the prince. They both free each other, as they give each other what they need. In the episode 27, Lee Je-Oh decided to lie to Kang Hyeon-Jong in order to protect his lover. He gave him an alibi and used the video as an evidence. This means that from now on, he is now responsible for Do Seong-Rok, just like the latter is now accountable for Lee Je-Oh’s survival. And since there’s no justice in this world, I believe that the prostitute Snow White will take matters into his own hands and give justice to others. Remember that Snow White sentenced her stepmother to death! This signifies that she gave justice herself.

As a first conclusion, though The Pawn’s Revenge doesn’t correspond to the definition of a fairytale, the manhwa and Snow White are really similar due to the topics and characters. It truly shows that such stories are a great source of inspiration. Then the readers should question themselves why the city and its inhabitants are portrayed in such a negative light. From my point of view, it is related to the huge political scandals South Korea had to face like for example with the president Park Geun-hye, and the economical boom with the development of new districts which doesn’t lead to a diminution of poverty. Then, there was the Sewol ferry incident, where many students died, while the captain and the crew abandoned them. This terrible event caused a huge mistrust in the authorities and the adults’ hypocrisy and selfishness. As the manhwaphiles can detect, I view this story as a mirror of our modern society: the failure of parents as role model, the disintegration of families… Simultaneously, it teaches the same lessons: recognize hypocrisy, selfishness and the importance of reflection. Lee Je-Oh could become the killer’s ally, the moment he recognized his own mistake. He imagined his intelligence made him superior, he underestimated the huntsman’s strong will. He might have felt pity, but he was not a fool, rather a dangerous man because of his strength. He mistook his innocence for stupidity. That’s why Snow White is superior to the witch.

As you can imagine, I won’t write the comparison with the Painter Of The Night here, for the analysis is already so long, however I would like the readers now to ponder on the following question: Who is the witch with her lustful spell, Snow White, the mirror of truth, the 7 dwarves, the huntsman and the prince in Byeonduck’s work?

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.

The Pawn’s Revenge: A perfect plan?🔞 (second version)

This is where you can read the manhwa.  But be aware that this manhwa is a mature Yaoi, which means, it is about homosexuality with explicit scenes. Besides, this manhwa is categorized as HARDCORE.  Here is the link, if you are interested in more analyses about this manhwa and others

Feel free to make some donations/sponsoring:  That way, you can support me with “coffee” so that I have the energy to keep examining manhwas. It would also cover my expenses for the blog.

When the episode 24 was released, I couldn’t help myself connecting this panel with the following one (chapter 21) As you can detect, both have so many similarities: a memory, an open area, the blue sky with clouds, two people close to each other, a very confidential conversation, a plan and a clear view. When I analyzed the second panel [read for that the essay “Hope”], I described that this image represented a dream and as such a hope. Kang Hyeon-Jong explained his plan to his younger brother, and envisioned that an open space was the perfect place for secrecy. In a park, no one would ever suspect them to have such a project (getting rid of corruption among the police and its connection to the red-light district). However, we all know that the police officer’s dream got ruined, for he went missing. There’s no doubt that he got killed, because he got betrayed.

As you can imagine, this image oozes the same atmosphere. Do Seong-Rok and the former prostitute are “hoping” that everything will go well with their plan. By killing Jeon Hee-Seong’s enemies, the serial killer has the impression that he will free her so that they can be together. Because of the parallels, the manhwaphiles can already sense that their dream is doomed to failure, since Kang Hyeon-Jong’s vision never came true. This signifies that their “dream” is in fact just an illusion. Why? I believe that first we can get some answers by comparing both panels again. Yet this time I will focus on the divergences. Then in the second part, I will elaborate their “perfect” project more concretely.

1. Comparison between the detective and the prostitute’s project

1. 1. The beach

First, the place diverges. The protagonist is with Jeon Hee-Seong at the beach. This is no coincidence, as the beach symbolizes new beginning. The reason is simple. It’s because the water washes away the sand and allows the sand underneath to have its new beginning on top. This means that the moment their project is finished, the couple is supposed to start their life anew.

1. 2. The ocean

Secondly, both are facing the ocean, while the brothers were facing the city. It was, as if the couple desired to leave the civilization and to return to nature. They would leave everything behind, as there exists nothing else next to them. They are alone and carrying no possession. On the other hand, the detective’s wish was to clean the city with his brother’s support. We have the impression that the protagonist and his companion have no real aspiration except escaping from their “prison”, whereas the detective, associated to the mountain, is full of idealism and ambition. Imagine that he plans to purge the whole organization alone, a huge task for a simple human. But as you know, the villainess Jeon Hee-Seong is actually far from being contented and humble. Like the author has already revealed it, her flower is snapdragon embodying greed and ambition. This aspect is even reinforced with the choice of color, purple.

Purple: “pompous and arrogant, fraudulent and corrupt, delusions of grandeur and the social climber.” Quoted from

And this truly shows that the chosen place for the confidence, the beach, is actually a deception planned by the former prostitute.

Striking is that the ocean is a symbol of power, strength, life, mystery, hope and truth. It is also referred to as being the tears, or sorrow, of God. These associations can be perceived with the following legend. Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of beauty and love, was born from the ocean and its foam, as a drop of blood and semen fell from the sky into the ocean. The titan Cronus had severed his father’s genitals and flung them into the sea. Her birth reflects life, mystery but also power and strength.

Simultaneously, the ocean is also related to chaos. Remember that the goddess’ birth is linked to blood and violence. But the chaos is also explainable, as the ocean is boundless and ungovernable. This signification is important, for it already announces the prostitute’s huge mistake. She thinks, the beach is the perfect place to manipulate her lover, making him believe that they have a future together: they are facing the limitless ocean, a symbol for freedom. But she is overlooking one aspect: the ocean can be a synonym for destruction represented by hurricanes and tsunamis. That’s why I come to the conclusion that the ocean embodies Do Seong-Rok. Remember how Lee Je-Oh viewed him as a god and admired his force. (chapter 1) I would like the reader to keep in their mind that even in Janggi, the protagonist is acting as a cannon, hence he is definitely no ordinary pawn. For her, the young man is still an innocent and pure lamb, easily manipulated, that’s why she said this to her ally Ahn: (chapter 11) In her mind, he is just a worker and not a boyfriend. She is unaware that by turning him into a killer, she will change his nature. He can no longer be a lamb or even a simple pawn. That’s why he gets an erection while strangling Ma Jong-Seok. (chapter 18) He has become a weapon, and as the ocean, she can never control him. As you can see, if you interpret such an image, you can already anticipate the evolution of the story and realize the villain’s errors. Besides, pay attention to the place of the biggest cloud. It stands next to the main lead. The cloud often represents hope, but it also embodies danger, because it covers the view. And now if we combine the ocean with the cloud, we have a hurricane, the chaos!! This observation really outlined the villain’s mistake one more time. She is not realizing her lover’s true nature. And we have another clue for Do Seong-Rok’s dangerousness: The color yellow! This pigment is often associated to positive features like optimism, cheerfulness, logic and wisdom. [For more information:] But what is less known is that this shade is the color of deception, physical illness (jaundice, malaria, pestilence) and caution. That’s why we have the yellow signal light for example and the yellow tape for a crime scene: (chapter 1) This negative association comes from the Middle-Age in Europe, where Jews and prostitutes were forced to wear some yellow on their clothes reflecting their social status. This pigment was a warning, and this justifies why in French (yellow=jaune) and in English there exist many negative expressions with yellow: “rire jaune” (two-faced laugh) or “jaune cocu” (cuckold yellow) or “yellow belly” (coward). Therefore yellow represents deception, betrayal, adultery, arrogance, vanity and jealousy. And note that Do Seong-Rok is indeed committing adultery with the main lead, (chapter 18) though now the roles have been switched. In episode 25, Lee Je-Oh is already treating Do Seong-Rok as his boyfriend and has the impression that his lover will cheat on him with Jeon Hee-Seong. That’s why he gets upset. And now, you comprehend why the femme fatale’s dream is an illusion. She thought, she was deceiving her pawn, while in reality she didn’t recognize her own misjudgment. Her delusion of grandeur is the cause for her future defeat.

1. 3. Their position

Another difference is their position. (chapter 24) The villainess and her pawn are standing, while the brothers are sitting. This is relevant, for it indicates that the detective and his Kang Hyeon-Woo are resting. By confiding to his brother, the future victim is taking a break, trying to release his stress and getting some comfort and support from his relative. On the other hand, the couple is standing indicating a certain tension. They are attempting to relax, but they can’t due to the pressure. They are about to start their project.

Another divergence is that the main characters are touching each other, their physical intimacy is even reinforced, as both are holding hands (chapter 24), while the brothers are just sitting next to each other with a certain distance. (chapter 21) However, this doesn’t reflect the real nature of their relationship. The siblings are indeed very close, as Kang Hyeon-Jong is confessing his true desire and wish. That’s why his brother mostly remained silent, this was his way to express his support. (chapter 21) And when he spoke, he expressed his concern for his brother. This signifies that safety mattered more than his dream back then.

Now, you can grasp why there exists this physical intimacy between the former prostitute and the future serial killer. It serves a purpose: to mask their distance, which is actually perceptible through their words. On the surface, it looks like they are working together in this, however this is just an illusion. Note that the killer is bearing the whole burden (“It’s something that only I can do” and repetition of the personal pronoun I), while the femme fatale is supposed to risk her life by using something. In other words, she only needs to do one thing. This interpretation is even reinforced by her fake concern in the next image. (chapter 24) Her so-called comforting words truly display that only Do Seong-Rok is getting his life in danger, as he will be the only one prosecuted. This means, the serial killer will divert the attention of the investigation and the prosecution office from Jeon Hee-Seong. The woman’s gentle gesture is actually masking the high expectation she has from her “lover”.

1. 4. The sky

What caught my attention is the presence of darkness in the blue sky, while the black was only present as a frame in the other picture. This announces that their plan has nothing pure, for it is related to murders and as such death. Secondly, I interpret that this darkness indicates the presence of manipulation. The red-haired man is actually deceived by his lover, it was, as if the magician had created a fake vision of their hope and dream, while behind the blue sky and clouds the reality is waiting for the future murderer. He will become a scapegoat, but he is not realizing it.

1. 5. Their clothes

What caught my attention is that the villainess and the deceased police officer’s pullover has the same color: beige. Yet, this is not visible from behind, for she is wearing a black jacket. The appearance of beige is no coincidence, because this color is associated to loyalty and responsibility.

“Beige: is practical and reliable, conservative, constant, unchanging and loyal”. Quoted from

Here, I would like the manhwaphiles to pay attention to the femme fatale’s clothes. Her choice of color is never random, they always reflect her intentions. She uses the colors to mask her true thoughts and deceive her counterparts. That’s why she was dressed like that in chapter 25: Her bun and her clothes gave the impression that she was just an average married woman, but when she visited her so-called boyfriend, she had dressed up. Her long hair was left in the open, an important sign for seduction, just like the white shirt exudes purity and innocence. (chapter 25) At the same time, the black skirt embodies mystery and seduction.

But let’s return our attention to the clothes she was wearing at the beach. So when she had the beige pullover on, she wanted to exude reliability and fidelity. That’s the reason why she asks her companion to trust her, just like she trusts him. In addition, beige is a devirated shade from brown, and brown symbolizes sincerity, warmth and protection. However, brown and beige can serve as deception and can definitely be associated to hypocrisy and fakeness. And now, you understand why the scene at the beach was just a vision, and not a real wish. The villainess used her body (the hand and her clothes) to convince Do Seong-Rok to set the plan in motion. The former prostitute had the impression, she had developed the perfect plan. She would get her freedom, but she would be able to achieve her dream: getting power and wealth, (chapter 23), while she would let the young man take the fall.

2. Jeon Hee-Seong’s perfect plan

Actually, she is well aware that she will become the prime suspect. Even Koo Jeong-Moo was already suspecting her after Choi Yeong-Gil’s disappearance. (chapter 11) That’s why she is well aware that she needs to find someone to become her scapegoat. But who would be so stupid to do her dirty work and even trust her? Only a person blinded by her intelligence, her terrible situation (a fragile prostitute who got forced to get married to an abusive husband) and by his thirst for affection and warmth: Do Seong-Rok.

2. 1. Truth

What caught my attention is that her manipulations are based on truth. She told him for example that her life was so terrible that from now on, she would do anything for her own sake, she would use every trick, and even the main lead. (chapter 16) And observe that the future assassin was willing to accept this terrible situation (chapter 16) He would be her tool. And don’t forget that in that scene, she was trembling on her knees, a sign of huge vulnerability, which could only move his heart. He felt that she needed him, that’s why he accepted to follow her plan. I could use another evidence that truth is her MO. She confided to him this (chapter 23). For the pure man, her words sounded normal and natural. She didn’t desire to be stigmatized as a prostitute, she just wanted to be part of the society. However, in truth, she meant something else. By climbing up the ladder, she was aiming at a higher position: becoming the king of the red-light district. That’s why it is important to even question people’s intention, when they speak the truth. Nevertheless, when he decided to follow her perfect plan, he had one request: she was the only one who could save him, if it became too hard for him.

And now, it becomes understandable what he meant with this promise. It is related to her plan. (chapter 24) Once he has been prosecuted and he is proven innocent, he can’t be charged with the same crime. But just because this rule exists, this doesn’t mean that this will be applied in this case.

2. 2. Evidences and witnesses

And now, you comprehend why he killed Lee Soon-Cheol first. The latter was in possession of the videos compromising Jeon Hee-Seong. (chapter 24) These videos were her weaknesses, therefore the main lead needed to find and erase them. We don’t know for sure that he was tasked with this request as well. That’s my assumption, because she stated that she wanted to erase her past, and the footage was part of her terrible past. Once her husband was removed, she would be able to get rich thanks to the property situated in the redevelopment.

And now, you are wondering what the former prostitute was supposed to use. She just needed to keep a paper showing that she rented a car for Do Seong-Rok. She anticipated that the detectives involved in the investigations might look for a lover. (chapter 24) She desired to lead the detective to Do Seong-Rok and the pieces of Janggi left on the body would serve as a clue for his involvement in the assassinations. This explicates why Lee Je-Oh wondered about the reason for leaving evidence next to the victims an. (chapter 13) The femme fatale has power over his life, because she could reveal the truth. That’s her promise, if his situation worsens, she can save him implying that she has an evidence that could prove Do Seong-Rok’s innocence. However, she knew that once her husband dies, she will become a suspect. Thus she needed the main lead to divert the attention from her. Her plan was to redirect the investigation towards the red-haired man.

But as you can imagine, she has already planned to throw him away, once she got rid of all her enemies. When she stated (chapter 24), she implied that she was risking her life. On the other hand, she was actually lying. She is not truly compromising herself, as renting a car for a person doesn’t represent a crime. Yet, the true intention is to incriminate the young man.

Do Seong-Rok is becoming a serial murder, because he has already eliminated three people. Striking is that the former prostitute could say that he is just a delusional lover and even a psychopath, and the pieces of Janggi would serve as an evidence. Besides, she has Ahn by her side serving as protection, so her plan is still perfect.

2. 3. Far from perfection

But she made many huge mistakes, like I had already mentioned in the first part. But I will include other errors. First, she never told her lover how to eliminate the targets, that’s how the protagonist got aware of the killer’s presence. He could have been arrested much sooner, if Lee Je-Oh had revealed his observations. Secondly, she showed her true face, when she yelled at Do Seong-Rok. She declared that now, the main lead was on his own… something she had always planned. That’s how the assassin started mistrusting her and relying on Lee Je-Oh. Since the latter has recognized her identity(chapter 25), and has even realized her true goal thanks to Do Seong-Rok’s confession (chapter 23), he will change the game and do anything to protect his lover and weapon. (chapter 23) Unlike the female prostitute, the young man made the terrible experience by scheming very early on. He learned that he shouldn’t underestimate the killer’s strength and strong will. Hence he came to realize that he should treat his ally with respect. (chapter 12) Do Seong-Rok might not be clever, but he is not weak either. Actually, his major flaw is his innocence, for he is not cunning enough. And remember what I wrote above: she misjudge her lover’s true personality. Therefore she will recognize her error too late.

Furthermore, now the protagonist Lee Je-Oh represents a source of threat for Jeon Hee-Seong. He is an important witness and could testify against her.

Moreover, she is also making another mistake: she is underestimating emotions and affection. Her power over the serial killer was strong, for the latter was in love with her. But as soon as his admiration and affection vanish, her manipulations are no longer effective, and she loses her control over him. Their relationship is already falling apart. First, the main lead is forced to lie to her on different occasions. She even believes that the male prostitute has been removed. Secondly, their alienation is already announced with the following panel: (chapter 25). Notice the color of the sky: it is evening twilight, a huge symbol for a doomed relationship. And we have the presence of dark clouds and the presence of yellow… everything is signalizing the presence of a danger. Her perfect plan is on the verge of getting ruined, as the male prostitute will discover her identity. Because of him, her relationship with Seong-Rok can only be doomed.

Finally, since she is just judging her lover as a worker and pawn, she is not viewing him as a part of her life. He is just an accessory, whereas the male prostitute has a different perception of Do Seong-Rok. He considers him not just as a weapon, but also as a real boyfriend. I have to admit that I view the two protagonists as an entity. Lee Je-Oh is slowly becoming the brain (chapter 23), while the serial killer will become his arm and hand! Besides, don’t forget my recent interpretation. Do Seong-Rok is linked to the ocean, and the manhwalovers will certainly remember how the male prostitute viewed himself: (chapter 1) A fish!! I am well aware that a goldfish is not living in the ocean, but I doubt that the male prostitute could ever afford himself an expensive fish from the ocean. Besides, in the essay “The goldfish and the lamb – part 1”, I had already explained that for me, the young main lead reminded me a lot of the devil firefish / common lionfish.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is pexels-photo-8029749.jpeg
Photo by Ayman Zaki on

As you can see, my previous interpretation seems to be confirmed. Since Lee Je-Oh is a common lionfish and the other is the ocean, they are a perfect match.

In addition, both protagonists have a similar disposition. They are starving for affection and have a huge sense of justice… Lee Je-Oh truly perceived Do Seong-Rok’s intentions behind the murders: liberation from slavery, whereas Jeon Hee-Seong used Do Seong-Rok’s empathy and generosity for her own dream: power and wealth! Due to the young main lead’s past experience and cunningness, Lee Je-Oh will be able to anticipate the villainess’ “perfect plan” and protect his boyfriend. Thereby, the femme fatale will slowly realize that this dream of her was just an illusion, and she was a victim of her own delusion.

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 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.

The pawn’s revenge: Hope 🔞

This is where you can read the manhwa.  But be aware that this manhwa is a mature Yaoi, which means, it is about homosexuality with explicit scenes. Besides, this manhwa is categorized as HARDCORE: 🔞 Here is the link, if you are interested in more analyses about this manhwa and others

Feel free to make some donations/sponsoring:  That way, you can support me with “coffee” so that I have the energy to keep examining manhwas. It would also cover my expenses for the blog.

Readers familiar with The Pawn’s Revenge might be surprised that I selected such a title, because when you read the sypnosis and see this panel, it gives you the opposite impression: dark, asphyxiating, destructive and hopeless.

However, when I read the latest chapter (chapter 21), I couldn’t help myself connecting it to hope, and as such to belief, aspiration and goal. And now, you might wonder how.

1. Kang Hyeon-Won’s memory

First, it is related to Kang Hyeon-Jong, , the missing brother from lieutenant Kang Hyeon-Woo. When the former confides his intentions to his brother (he would like to clean the corruption in the police forces and remove the dirty connections between authorities and the red-light district), the former appears integer, righteous, courageous and determined. This means, he is full of energy and aspirations to achieve his goal.

But what caught my attention is that when Kang Hyeon-Woo recalls his conversation with his brother, we see them discussing it on the top of a hill. Not only they have a perfect view over the city, but also the weather is quite nice. The sky is blue and there are a few clouds. Finally they are sitting in a park surrounded by nature. As you can imagine, in my eyes this scenery is not random at all. This scene is full of symbolism.

The presence of the hill with the perfect view over the city is an indication that Kang Hyeon-Jong had the bigger picture of the situation in his head. He knew what was going on: officer Ahn was working with the hostess Jeon Hee-Seong, and the latter had already planned something out of resent. In addition, he was well aware that many police officers were dirty. Therefore the sight over the city is a metaphor of Kang Hyeon-Jong’s thoughts. The existence of the recorded evidence and his words to his brother truly display Kang Hyeon-Jong as an idealist and pure police officer. He was full of hope and bravery. Moreover, a hill represents the climb to higher attainment, wider view of life or opportunities. Hence it is linked to potential and change either. And now the manhwaphiles can grasp that the detective’s selected place mirrored his state of mind. He was attempting to climb to the top to remove all the corruptive elements.

This perception was also reinforced, when Evy drew this panel combined with the idioms “chance” and “expose this case to the public”. Note the presence of the wooden plank in the bottom. It was, as if the perspective and the wooden plank were the stage, and the city in the background was symbolizing the public. In other words, the scenery was representing the detective’s vision. He was full of confidence and dream here. Moreover, since it is an open air area, you can breathe more easily. This signifies that the scenery oozes a certain relief, liberation and release. The brother could confide to his brother about his intentions and his latest information. He knew that the young detective was trustworthy and would support him. It represented a moment of relaxation for the investigating Kang Hyeon-Jong. Thus the readers see the machines as a symbol for relaxation and entertainment. Since the hyung was disclosing his discoveries and his evidence, it means that the younger brother was his pillar in his quest to clean up the police forces.

But there exists another element for this interpretation. The cloud is linked to future, dream and change, because clouds always move on and their form can change. Besides, since they are close to the sky, the clouds are connected to the gods, the former are bringing messages from the gods. That’s why in certain cultures, shamans would read the clouds and interpret these. And now, you understand why the author created such a scene. The cloud was embodying the detective’s dream and ambition. He was full of hope.

2. Hope versus fear and doubt

In that moment, I realized that the author used the sceneries to express certain ideas and emotions. Remember how Lee Je-Oh reacted after leaving his testimony to Park Gwang-Soo. He expressed his admiration about the murderer. (chapter 2) Note the similarities: We had a nice weather with clouds and a hill in the background. The male prostitute was also full of hope here. He could breathe in that moment, he had lost another violent tormentor to his relief. Therefore I came to realize the existence of the connection between dream and nature contrasting to the city represented as a chicken battery.

And these two scenes (chapter 21-2) lead me to the following observation. The weather and the place reflect the mental disposition of the characters. When Do Seong-Rok killed the first victim, it was night, dark and raining. (chapter 1) Furthermore, he abandoned the corpse in an abandoned area. This scene was quite oppressing and depressing which mirrored the perpetrator’s disposition. Let’s not forget that later the manhwaphiles could witness the murderer’s fears, when he had a nightmare. (chapter 6) Instead of looking up to the sky (a symbol for dream and hope), the criminal looked down. I could bring up another scene: (chapter 16) Both characters are looking down, both hurt and depressed. The prostitute is full of doubts and resigning to her fate. She will do anything in order to survive, and if it is necessary, she will betray and abandon her lover. She announces that she will be definitely ruthless and selfish. She is no longer expecting happiness and relaxation. It’s a fight for her. Besides, in that scene, the city looks lifeless, as there are no plant or people. I would even say, it’s suffocating, for the sky is so dark and clouded. It was, as if it functioned as a lid. As a conclusion, the weather and the scene reflect the character’s state of mind. The blue sky with clouds is linked to hope, while a raining dark grey day is associated to hopelessness, fear and doubts. Thus the town is related to suffocation, loneliness and resignation. Let’s not forget that the characters are all embodying animals (Lee Je-Oh is a goldfish and a dog, Do Seong-Rok is a dog, Jeon Hee-Seong is a snake etc…), but the problem is that they are all trapped in the Janggi game, that’s why they are not free and feel so oppressed. In my opinion, the Janggi board is in reality the city itself. Instead of representing civilization and progress, the town embodies despair, corruption and asphyxiation: death.

3. The couple in the bedchamber

And now, it is time to look again at the episode 21. If you compare the bed scenes with the protagonists, you’ll detect a huge change. The room and the sheets appear so white and pure (chapter 21), which contrasts to this scene for example (chapter 7) where grey was the dominant color. Contrary to the scene in episode 7, the main leads are no longer separated by the sheet, and they are facing each other. As you can sense, the color and the position mirror their increasing closeness and trust. I would say that the main couple is full of hope in that chapter. This is particularly perceptible in this image. Lee Je-Oh is already thinking about the future. He is confident in his skills and intelligence to protect his partner. The presence of relief and aspiration explains why the main leads are tender and caring towards each other. Here, you might argue that we don’t have the presence of nature, hence this contradicts my previous interpretation that nature is a signal of liberation and relief. However, I can refute this argument by pointing out that we don’t see the city here. In my eyes, the room has now become a refuge, a shelter of two wounded and lonely souls. Lee Je-Oh is no longer viewing the bedchamber as a place where he is held hostage. He is now cohabiting with the murderer. Thanks to him, Seong-Rok could sleep much better and wasn’t tormented by a nightmare, though he had killed Ma Jeong-Seok. To sum up, the bedroom shouldn’t be judged as a contradiction to nature. It is the place for privacy and relief as well. Furthermore, the better the bond between the killer and the male prostitute is, the clearer the room appears.

4. Kang Hyeon-Woo’s hope

Due to these last significations (the symbolism of the scenery and the bedroom as a shelter and place to relax and privacy), I come to the final scene from the chapter 21: Kang Hyeon-Woo in his bedroom. The latter is still full of hope as well despite the loss of his brother. He hasn’t given up on his dream and ambition. Consequently he makes this promise to fulfil his brother’s hope. Hence Kang Hyeon-Jong’s uniform hangs on the wall at the end of the bed. It symbolizes the detective’s goal: he is seeking for the truth and eradication of corruption. The bedroom is the officer’s refuge, where he can express his true thoughts and emotions. He doesn’t feel lonely, because he still has the brother’s uniform by his side. It was, as if the latter was still alive and by his side. And if you pay attention to the images, you’ll detect the indirect presence of nature: the wallpaper. It is slightly green and there are flowers. I tried to identify the flower, but I wasn’t sure. For me, it looks like a chrysanthemum which symbolizes longevity, fidelity, joy and optimism. Naturally, this flower has other meanings, but it depends on the color. A white one is offered to the relatives of the deceased as a sign of grief. On the other hand, a white chrysanthemum signifies loyalty and honesty. Striking is that the flower has the same color than the shirt Kang Hyeon-Jong was wearing, when he was confessing his last discoveries and dream. Consequently, I come to the conclusion that the flower in the background embodies the missing brother who is supporting Kang Hyeon-Woo in his quest to find the truth. One might argue that this can only be a coincidence, yet I can bring up the following point. Evy selected for each character a particular flower and color: But like I mentioned above, I am not certain about the identity of the flower on the wallpaper. It could be a dahlia too… If you have any idea or suggestion, feel free to leave a comment.

One thing is sure: the flower represents the brother and the light green could be seen as an allusion to the lieutenant’s actual investigation. He is only at the beginning of his quest: unveiling the truth. He is not aware that his brother’s former partner, Kim Seung-Tae, is also involved. (chapter 20) Though the latter desires to give the lieutenant the impression that he is honest and supportive, in reality it is the opposite. Since he asked the lieutenant for update, though he is quitting his job, this means that Kim Seung-Tae is actually asking for information. In my eyes, he belongs to the team facing officer Ahn and Jeon Hee-Seong.

Since the recorded evidence has not been used against officer Ahn, we can conclude that the opposite team doesn’t have it either, because they didn’t blackmail the former prostitute and her lover. In my opinion, the idealist Kang Hyeon-Jong made a huge mistake. While he was investigating his superior Ahn, he didn’t imagine that his partner was unethical too. Let’s not forget that when the hyung confided to his brother, he mentioned the prostitute’s resent against the brothel crowd. That’s why I think that he must have been digging some information about the origins for her animosity. Koo Jeong-Mo revealed that they did something terrible to her, indicating that this incident was quite important. In other words, Kang Hyeon-Jong must have discovered the existence of this terrible event. And if I recognized the flower correctly which embodies loyalty, this would explain why the officer went missing. He got betrayed by his partner, for he didn’t expect it. All his attention was focused on officer Ahn and the prostitute, because the two were more obvious.

And now, it is time to refer to the second meaning of the cloud. The latter is also related to secret and danger, as it hides the sun. This truly reflects the hyung’s past situation. He wasn’t aware of the deception surrounding him. Furthermore, I have two other reasons to suspect Kim Seung-Tae: the scar on his face and the black clothes, a symbol for death. So by meeting the younger brother, Kang Hyeon-Jong’s partner can hope to find evidences against his enemy and rival Ahn. And now, you understand why the conversation between Kang Hyeon-Woo and Kim Seung-Tae took place outside close to trees. The young officer full of energy and ambition represented a source of aspiration for the former police officer. The latter could get real results in order to get rid of his enemies. Once the officers supporting Ahn are removed, he can place people close to him so that the corruption and as such connections between the authorities and the red-light district remains unchanged.

As a conclusion, the chapter 21 stands for hope, belief and confidence. That’s why I love this manhwa very much😍 and recommend it. The story might be dark and painful, yet the author manages to find the right balance between light and darkness. The killer is the perfect example. He has already dirtied his hands, yet many readers are not condemning him, for he is not doing it out of selfishness, greed and sadism. He was in reality manipulated by the prostitute. And remember my interpretation in “Janggi and life”. In my eyes, only the criminal couple and the detective Kang Hyeon-Woo will be able to destroy this terrible corruption: the revolution is on its way.

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.