CHAPTER SEVEN: Every Man Jack
Silas has been missing from the graveyard for several months. Mr. and Mrs. Owens discuss with Josiah Worthington what they should do with Bod since Silas, his guardian, is not around and they don’t know when he will return. Mrs. Owens leaves Josiah’s tomb and finds Bod, who is now fourteen years old. Bod asks Mrs. Owens when Silas will return and also asks about the man who killed his parents and sister. Mrs. Owens does not know when Silas will return, but tells Bod that Silas said the name of the man who killed Bod’s family was Jack.
After Scarlett Amber Perkins’s parents split up, she begrudgingly moves back to town with her mother. Scarlett is now fifteen years old. One day on her way home from school, Scarlett takes the wrong bus toward the Old Town. Feeling a sense of déjà vu, Scarlett crosses through the gates into the graveyard. She sits down on a bench when she hears the voice of a man asking for her help holding down a sheet of paper so he can make a grave-rubbing. Scarlett explains to the man that her mother will have a fit if she doesn’t get home soon, so the man gives Scarlett a ride home. Noona, Scarlett’s mother, invites the man named Mr. Frost into their home. When Mr. Frost mentions that he gave Scarlett a ride from the cemetery, Noona is startled, mentioning the incident from years ago when they searched for Scarlett in the cemetery and how she had an imaginary friend named Nobody. Scarlett dreams of Bod that night and the two of them talk about going into the Indigo Man’s tomb and facing the Sleer.
Back in the graveyard, Bod reflects on how strange it is that he grows older but the ghosts stay the same age as they were when they died. His relationships with the ghosts shift as he grows older. For example, Liza grows distant and short-tempered with Bod, seemingly because she’s still upset about the time Bod ran away from the graveyard. One day, Bod approaches Nehemiah Trot, the resident poet, for advice on how to talk to girls, particularly Scarlett. Nehemiah suggests writing her a passionate verse. Bod tells Nehemiah that he doesn’t think Scarlett is his true love; he just wants to speak to her. After his conversation with Nehemiah, Bod heads down to his favorite bench, where Scarlett is sitting. Scarlett notices him and the two reconnect. Scarlett hugs Bod, making him feel warm and safe. They agree to meet again over the weekend.
Far away in the hidden caves of Krakow, Silas, Miss Lupescu, and Kandar (an Assyrian mummy) prepare to face off against mysterious foes. Back at the graveyard, Bod tells Scarlett about how his parents were murdered. When Scarlett meets up with Mr. Frost and asks about how to research a murder, Mr. Frost recommends she check the files at the library. Scarlett finds an article mentioning the murder of the Dorian family at 33 Dunstan Road, the same house that Mr. Frost lives in. Scarlett tells Mr. Frost about her findings, and Mr. Frost tells Scarlett that he will help find out more. They both agree to keep this a secret from Scarlett’s mother, Noona. On a Sunday afternoon, Mr. Frost calls Scarlett and tells her that he has done some digging into the murders. Mr. Frost learned that there was a child who escaped the murders, and he goes on to tell Scarlett to bring her friend over to his house.
Before making his decision to leave the graveyard and find out more about who murdered his parents, Bod seeks the advice of the Sleer. Bod realizes that he will have to make the decision on his own. Before Bod leaves, the Sleer suggests that if Bod were its master then they could keep him safe, but Bod assures the Sleer that he isn’t their master.
Scarlett and Bod visit Mr. Frost’s house to learn more about why Bod’s family was murdered. Mr. Frost leads Bod upstairs to a room at the top of the house. Mr. Frost says that this room belonged to the child who escaped, pointing at the cradle. Bod explains that they know the man who killed his family had black hair and his name is Jack. Mr. Frost tells Bod that after thirteen years hair can go grey and pulls a knife out of a floorboard, revealing himself to be Jack. Suddenly, Scarlett calls out to Mr. Frost (Jack) to let him know that there is someone knocking at his door. Bod Fades and disappears immediately and locks the man named Jack in the room. Scarlett opens the door to find four men looking for Mr. Frost. Scarlett rushes out of the house, telling them that she needs to catch a bus. Bod shadows Scarlett up the hill to the graveyard and brings her through the gate. Two of the men who showed up at the Frost house (Jack Nimble and Jack Ketch) pursue Scarlett and Bod. The other two (Jack Tar and Jack Dandy) stay at the house to confront Jack, who we now know is named Jack Frost.
To keep Scarlett safe, Bod hides her in the Frobisher Mausoleum. The ghosts of the graveyard help Bod deal with all the men named Jack as they pursue Bod in the cemetery. With the help of Nehemiah Trot, Bod lures Jack Ketch to Mr. Carstairs’s grave. When Jack Ketch approaches Bod, he crashes down into the grave. Bod then goes to the apple tree by Potter’s Field where he spots Liza and asks her to help him lure the Jacks to the ghoul-gate. Liza has never gotten over the time Bod ran away, but despite her curtness, she agrees.
As the men approach Bod and the ghoul-gate, Bod asks them why they killed his family. Jack Dandy explains that the Jacks belong to an ancient, magical organization called different names, such as the Jacks of All Trades and the Knaves. When they kill someone, magical power is released. The reason they killed Bod’s family and tried to kill Bod, they explain, was because of an ancient prophecy about a boy who would be able to walk between the world of the living and the dead, and that boy would be the ruin of their organization. Bod says “Skagh! Thegh! Khavagah!” which opens the ghoul-gate, sucking Jack Dandy, Jack Tar, and Jack Nimble inside.
Jack Frost finds Scarlett in the mausoleum and holds her at knife point. Bod saves Scarlett by offering himself over to Jack Frost. Jack Frost is delighted to find all the necessary tools needed to perform a killing ritual: the brooch, the knife, an altar, and a chalice. Bod claims himself as the Sleer’s master and the Sleer coils itself around Jack Frost and takes him away. Out in the graveyard, a frightened Scarlett calls Bod a monster, believing that Bod used her as bait to get rid of Jack Frost. Silas appears and erases Scarlett’s memory of the night and of Bod before taking her home and convincing Noona to return to Scotland, which is where Scarlett’s father lives. When Silas returns to the graveyard, he tells Bod that they no longer have anything to protect him from and takes him out for pizza. At the restaurant, Silas tells Bod that Miss Lupescu died in the Krakow battle, and Bod laments Miss Lupescu’s passing. He learns that Miss Lupescu, Silas, and others are part of the Honour Guard. Bod asks Silas why Scarlett was afraid of him, and Silas says nothing.
As Bod is no longer a boy, his emerging romantic interest in Scarlett represents a final step in his coming-of-age journey. As Bod’s only living friend, Scarlett’s reappearance in this chapter represents a major shift toward Bod’s entry into the world of the living. His increasing introspection about the differences between himself and the ghosts and the undead who make up his community show he recognizes he cannot live his life fully if he stays in the graveyard. Ironically, the advice that taking risks is necessary to living a full life comes from one of the dead, poet Nehemiah Trot. This advice prompts Bod to pursue Scarlett, ultimately setting him further on the path to leaving the graveyard for good. The hug Scarlett gives Bod when they reunite further catalyzes Bod’s desire to leave the graveyard and take his place among the living. The risks Bod begins to take to visit Scarlett outside the graveyard ultimately lead to his final confrontation with the Jacks, signifying he has nearly reached the end of his coming-of-age journey.
The chapter once again examines the question of what makes someone good or evil. Jack’s masquerade as Mr. Frost, in which he successfully pretends to be everything he is not, is a reminder that good and evil do not depend on a person’s appearance. Scarlett and her mother are fooled into seeing Mr. Frost as a nice man, a rather weak, bumbling, well-meaning character who they welcome into their lives. All these traits are the opposite of the real Jack Frost’s character. Scarlett’s rejection of Bod after he saves her life represents the limited viewpoint the living often have on the ambiguous nature of good and evil. In contrast to Jack Frost, Silas and the rest of the Honour Guard appear outwardly to be monsters, but their actions show them to be heroes and Bod’s allies. By confronting and destroying the evil Jacks around the world, they make it possible for Bod to win his fight in the graveyard. Miss Lupescu sacrifices her life in the battle, showing her goodness beyond any doubt. The contrast between the evil human Jacks and the good undead demonstrates that good and evil are a matter of choice and action.
The setting of the graveyard is significant in this chapter as it represents community and home. Bod notes that the graveyard itself, along with its inhabitants, seems to be helping to protect him from the Jacks. Liza assists him despite her hurt feelings and the Honour Guard comes to his defense, showing the strength of community. Bod’s knowledge of the graveyard and the lessons he’s learned there throughout his life enable him to protect himself as he traps Jack Ketch in a tomb and sends the other three Jacks through the ghoul-gate. His long-standing relationship with the Sleer enables him to trick Jack Frost into becoming imprisoned in their tomb. Bod also rejects Jack Frost’s attempt to bribe him with the name his birth mother gave him, declaring his identity as the child of the graveyard. Bod’s grief upon learning that Miss Lupescu died in his defense highlights her important role in shaping the course of Bod’s life. Bod’s final victory and the sacrifices others make for him emphasize the enduring importance of community.