Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Characters/Alastor Moody

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Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Character
Alastor Moody
Gender Male
Hair color Gray
Eye color Brown (Magical Eye=Blue)
Related Family Moody Family, pureblood, long line of renowned aurors
Loyalty Albus Dumbledore

Overview[edit]

Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody is a former Auror. His profession has apparently been rather hard on him, as he has a wooden leg, a magical artificial eye, and a large chunk taken out of his nose. He has developed a deep distrust of nearly everyone and everything. His nickname is derived from his magical eye, which is forever swiveling, totally independently of his real eye.

Role in the Books[edit]

Beginner warning: Details follow which you may not wish to read at your current level.

Goblet of Fire[edit]

Alastor Moody is introduced when Amos Diggory contacts Arthur Weasley. It seems that muggles witnessed Mad-Eye's garbage cans attacking an intruder at his house; Arthur was summoned to deal with the fall-out.

Moody becomes the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher during Harry's fourth year, replacing Remus Lupin. Students notice that rather than drinking from the pitcher of pumpkin juice during the Welcoming Feast, he instead drinks only from his hip flask.

When Moody sees Draco Malfoy throw a curse at Harry Potter, he reprimands him by Transfiguring him into a ferret and bouncing him off the floor; Professor McGonagall warns Moody, quite strongly, that Transfiguration is never used as punishment. Moody then takes Malfoy to see his House Head, Professor Snape.

In his first Defence Against the Dark Arts class, Moody demonstrates the three Unforgivable Curses: the Imperius curse, the Cruciatus curse, and the killing curse. Neville Longbottom, whose parents were tortured into insanity with the Cruciatus curse, is understandably upset at the demonstration; Moody takes him up to his office and calms him down, giving him a book on Mediterranean aquatic magical plants.

Moody's teaching methods are unconventional but effective. He puts every member of the class under the Imperius curse, to show them what the effects are, and is quite pleased to find that Harry is able to resist. Over the next few classes, he puts Harry repeatedly under the Imperius curse to teach him how to resist it. We assume he is also attempting to teach the same ability to the rest of the class, as Ron is described as suffering the after effects of dealing with that curse at one point.

In the confusion surrounding Harry unexpectedly becoming a Triwizard champion, Moody intimidates Igor Karkaroff into accepting four champions instead of three. Moody takes a liking to Harry and helps guide him through the Tournament.

After Harry emerges from the third Task with Cedric Diggory's body, Moody takes him to his office. There he starts sounding more like a Death Eater than an Auror. Realizing the danger, Harry distracts him long enough for Professor Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall, and Professor Snape to break in and Stun him. When a dose of Polyjuice potion wears off, Moody is revealed to be Barty Crouch Jr.. Professor Snape administers Veritaserum and Crouch confesses he is working under Voldemort's orders. Crouch says he intended to kill Harry to gain his Master's favor. Moody's trunk is opened, and the real Alastor Moody is discovered within, weak but still alive. Cornelius Fudge is summoned, who arrives with a Dementor. The Dementor administers the "Kiss" (sucking out Crouch's soul) before Crouch can confess to Fudge.

Order of the Phoenix[edit]

Alastor Moody is a member of the Order, and effectively the leader of the Advance Guard who escort Harry from the Dursley's house to Headquarters. Moody cannot recognize Harry, having been unconscious for Harry's entire previous school year, but calls upon Remus Lupin, another member of the Advance Guard, to identify him. Moody then Disillusions Harry to conceal him, and after waiting for a signal, they take off, Wizards and Witches of the Order acting to shield Harry from any evil wizards who might be prepared to attack. Many other members of the Advance Guard seem to feel that Moody's caution is a bit over-blown; he says they should circle around to lose any pursuit, but is overruled by Tonks, who says that they are all freezing up there.

On landing, Moody uses Dumbledore's Deluminator to put out all the streetlights at Grimmauld Place, then shows Harry a piece of paper. The paper, being written by Dumbledore, who is the Secret-Keeper for the Order, allows Harry to see Headquarters, and enter it. Once all the wizards have entered Headquarters, Moody uses the Deluminator to restore the streetlights.

At the party for Ron and Hermione following their appointment as Prefects, Moody remarks that Dumbledore must have thought Ron was good at dealing with jinxes; authority figures are often the targets of unprovoked attacks. Moody's magical eye finds that the unknown thing inside a writing desk in the parlour was only a Boggart. Harry points out to Mundungus Fletcher, who is working on a shady deal with Fred and George Weasley, that Moody could be observing them with his magical eye; Mundungus immediately stops haggling with the twins and gives them the goods they are dickering for at the twins' offer price, half of what he was originally asking. And finally, Moody shows Harry an old picture of the Order; Harry feels rather upset at having this sudden reminder of his parents, and how they had died, thrust upon him.

Moody and Tonks escort Harry and the Weasleys to St. Mungo's, for the Weasley children's first visit after their father is injured. Afterwards, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Moody, and Tonks confer as to how exactly Harry was able to perceive the attack on Arthur; Moody suggests that Voldemort might have been possessing him. This suggestion, which the Weasleys and Harry overheard by means of the twins' Extendable Ears, echoes Harry's private thoughts, but until now it had been too frightening a thought for him to entertain. Now that all of the Weasleys have heard it, he has to deal with it.

Moody meets Harry at the train station after the end of school, along with Tonks, Arthur and Molly Weasley. The four of them, plus Ron and Hermione, confront Harry's Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia, telling them that they will want to be reassured that Harry is having a good summer, or else they will come and visit to find out why not. Mad-Eye, with his magical eye, intimidates Vernon to the point that he nearly falls over a luggage cart.

Half-Blood Prince[edit]

Alastor Moody does not play a significant part in this book. We can safely assume that he is working with the Order, but he does not seem to visit The Burrow or the school while Harry is there.

Deathly Hallows[edit]

Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody leads the Order of the Phoenix's operation of transporting Harry Potter from Privet Drive to The Burrow. The Order has decided to disguise Hermione, Ron, Fred, George, Fleur Delacour and Mundungus Fletcher as Harry Potter by using Polyjuice Potion. Moody dies during the flight, as the Death Eaters and Lord Voldemort had been tipped off as to the date, though not the details, of Harry's escape. Confronted with multiple possible Harry Potters, Voldemort selects the Harry who was sharing a broom with the most powerful Auror, attacking Moody and Mundungus. Mundungus Disapparates to avoid a curse, which caught Moody instead.

We later find that Dolores Umbridge has mounted Moody's magical eye on her office door as a sort of trophy. Harry removes it, and later gives it decent burial under a tree. Nothing else of Moody is recovered.

Strengths[edit]

Mad-Eye's greatest asset is his "Mad" eye, the magical artificial eye he uses after losing his real eye in battles against Death Eaters. This electric-blue eye gives him 360 degree vision – he can see through the back of his own head – as well as being able to look through invisibility cloaks and closed doors.

Another strength is his formidable character. He has great strength of will, and apparently has need of it to persevere in the face of criticism about his apparent paranoia.

It is also likely that he is a very powerful wizard, as more than a small amount of skill is required to become an Auror. It is for this reason, we are told, that Voldemort chose to attack Moody's broom before any of the other departing Potters.

Weaknesses[edit]

A lifetime of fighting Dark magic has left him with an extreme paranoia that causes him to distrust everyone and everything. He is accused at one point of having destroyed a gift sent to him because he thought the ticking indicated a Cockatrice egg; in fact, it had been a carriage clock.

Relationships with Other Characters[edit]

Moody has a good friendship with Ron's father, Arthur Weasley, and was also close to Albus Dumbledore. It is also shown in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows that Tonks is very close to Moody, as shown by her reaction when he is killed.

Analysis[edit]

Not an intimately friendly person, Moody deeply distrusts most people or things since his "Auror" days, in which he lost an eye, part of his nose, and a leg. We are led to believe that Evan Rosier blasted some of his nose off.

He rarely believes anyone and always suspects that a spell could have been cast with malafide intentions by the "Dark Side." This also explains his apparent motto, "Constant Vigilance".

Questions[edit]

Study questions are meant to be left for each student to answer; please don't answer them here.

  1. Why is Moody so paranoid?
  2. How does Moody interact with other people?
  3. Is Moody's eye unique, or are there any other similarly magical eyes?

Greater Picture[edit]

Intermediate warning: Details follow which you may not wish to read at your current level.

Many actions and details described under the "Goblet of Fire" section were not actually done by the real Alastor Moody, but rather Barty Crouch Jr., who kidnapped Moody and used Polyjuice Potion (which he keeps in his hip flask) to impersonate him. Because these events are not revealed until the book's conclusion when Crouch is under the influence of Veritaserum, they appear under the listing for that character. However, he managed to deceive even Albus Dumbledore with his impersonation, so it must have been very close to the true Alastor Moody.

It should be noted that Moody's death was required by the plot. As noted in the article on Albus Dumbledore, Harry could not have been the hero if he had another hero at his back. It is a staple of heroic fiction that the hero's teacher, older and apparently stronger than the hero, must fall to allow the hero to take his place and defeat the villain. At the end of the previous book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Dumbledore dies. We have not seen as much of Moody, and Harry does not have any particular feeling for him, he quite clearly isn't the father figure Dumbledore was for Harry. However, he remains an older and supposedly stronger wizard than Harry, and so seems poised to fill Dumbledore's place in the hierarchy of heroes. In order to prevent that happening, Moody must be quickly incapacitated, preferably before the readers have started to care about him too much. It is unsure why the author does not allow the characters to find Moody's body; Umbridge having his magical eye on her door does imply quite strongly that Moody is dead, but denies us any real closure. It is possible, though unlikely, that the author wanted to leave the faint possibility that Moody could return to assist later in the story, if the plot developed to need that.