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Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody was a pureblood wizard known for his skill in battle. He was the most famous Auror of all time, working for the ministry of magic to capture former Death Eaters and see them imprisoned. During many of his battles, he sustained injuries, including losing one of his legs, one of his eyes, and part of his nose. It was noted that half of the cells and Azkaban were full because of him. But all of his work made him overly cautious and paranoid to the point that he expected everything to be some sort of trick, poison, or attempt on his life.
In 1994 he was appointed to the role of defense against the dark arts professor at Hogwarts. Before taking the position, he was kidnapped by Barty Crouch jr., who held him captive in his own Hogwarts office and continued to pluck hairs from his head for Polyjuice Potion. Barty Crouch jr. spent the year impersonating Alastor Moody. Once rescued, Alastor Moody joined the second order of the Phoenix and fought during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries and the Battle of the Seven Potters. It was here that he died in battle.
Alastor Moody Quick Facts
|Full Name||Alastor Moody|
|Birth Date||Prior to 1959|
|Birth Place||Great Britain|
|Nick Name||Mad-Eye Moody|
|Death Date [if applicable]||1997|
|Age When Series Starts||Unknown, but likely early 30’s|
|Partner / Spouse||None|
|Most Memorable Moment||Cautioning Harry against losing a buttocks by storing his wand in his back pocket|
|Actors Who Played||Brendan Gleeson|
|Last Updated||Apr 12, 2022|
Alastor Moody Birthplace
Alastor Moody was born in England. His precise date and location are unknown.
Alastor Moody Parents
His mother and father were both pureblood Aurors. Their family gained a distinct reputation for being incredibly talented Aurors.
Alastor Moody’s Physical Traits
Alastor Moody has long grizzled gray hair and a large chunk missing from his nose. He has mismatched eyes, one of which is small, dark, and beady. The other is large, round, and electric blue, a magical eye that allows him to see through doors, walls, and the back of his own head.
Alastor Moody Early Life
Alastor Moody attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he was an excellent student who achieved an “exceeds expectations” in five of his NEWT subjects. After graduation, he underwent three years of training to become an Auror. During this time, he sustained significant facial scars and lost his leg, his eye, and part of his nose, which left him with a ghastly physical appearance and a magical blue eye. He worked for the ministry of magic as a dark wizard catcher during the First Wizarding War. He was a member of the original Order of the Phoenix led by Albus Dumbledore. Aurors were allowed to use unforgivable curses against Death Eaters during the First Wizarding War, but Alastor Moody never did if he could help it. He tracked down many of Voldemort’s followers, including Evan Rosier, Wilkes, and Igor Karkaroff.
Alastor Moody Hogwarts Years
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Alastor Moody comes to us first in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, with his vivid physical description, his fake blazing blue eye, taking a swig from his flask. Arthur Weasley was called to his house after there was a disturbance involving some trash cans and Alastor Moody. Neighbors had called the Muggle police, and it was up to Arthur Weasley to cover up the incident so that Alastor Moody could head to his position at Hogwarts University the next day. Unbeknownst to the group, that particular Skirmish involved Barty Crouch jr., who had kidnapped Alastor Moody and used Polyjuice Potion to assume his identity.
During this time, Crouch, appearing like Moody, saved Harry Potter on multiple occasions, giving him information and advice to help him during the Triwizard Tournament and, in the end, helping Lord Voldemort to kidnap Harry Potter through a portkey where Lord Voldemort was able to rise again in his full form and use some of Harry Potter’s blood to alleviate one level of protection between the two of them.
While it is not technically Alastor Moody who does it, one of the best scenes involving the character takes place at Hogwarts during Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, when Professor Moody (actually Barty Crouch Jnr using Polyjuice Potion) interferes with Draco having a go at Harry Potter. Angry about death eaters (though Barty was really angry about death eaters who got away with punishment), fake Moody transfigures Draco into a white ferret, bouncing him up and down on the stone walkway. When Minerva McGonagall happens upon the scene, she stares aghast at the situation and reminds Moody that professors never use transfiguration as a punishment, and surely Dumbeldore must have mentioned that. Moody casually utters “he may have” and turns Draco back as simply as though he were putting a book back on a shelf.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Alastor Moody is part of the advance guard tasked with bringing Harry Potter back to The Burrow. Harry Potter is officially introduced to Alastor Moody in spite of having spent an entire year presumably under his tutelage. Harry continually refers to him as Professor Moody, and yet Alastor Moody maintains his grit while modestly noting that he shouldn’t be called “Professor” because he never got around to teaching.
Alastor Moody tells Harry Potter to lower his wand before he takes someone’s eye out. Moody remarked that Harry Potter should never store his wand in the back pocket of his jeans, or he’ll accidentally ignite one of his buttocks. He is very concerned about elementary wand safety, something that no one bothers with.
Moody complains that his magical eye keeps sticking ever since Barty Crouch jr wore it. So with a nasty squelching sound like a plunger, he popped his eye out while at Harry Potter’s aunt and uncle’s house and washed it in a glass of water.
Indicative of his honest nature and regular preparation for the worst, before the advance guard takes Harry Potter away, Alastor Moody lets him know that everyone will be flying in a close formation, and no one is allowed to break rank for anything. If one of them gets killed, everyone keeps flying without breaking rank. If everyone is killed except for Harry Potter, Harry Potter is supposed to keep going until the rearguard catches up with him. Tonks jokes that Mad-Eye Moody should be less cheerful; otherwise, Harry Potter won’t think they are taking the situation seriously.
During this process, Mad-Eye Moody continued to yell instructions for the group, gaining height, passing through clouds for cloud cover, adjusting their course by circling back, avoiding the motorway, and doubling back to make sure they weren’t being followed.
Once the group reached Number 12, Grimmauld Place, it was Mad-Eye Moody who gave Harry Potter a piece of paper that explained the location of the Order of the Phoenix and helped hairy inside, filled the room with a bit of light, and then proceeded to the meeting with the Order of the Phoenix which excludes Harry Potter and all of the young children.
Later, he showed up for a party thrown by Molly Weasley in honor of Ron and Hermione becoming prefects. All of those who were staying at Number 12, Grimmauld Place, were currently working to remove all of the dark objects, and one covered upstairs contains what was likely a boggart. Using his magical eye, Mad-Eye Moody was able to look through the ceiling and confirm what it was. During this time, he gave Harry Potter an old picture of the original Order of the Phoenix. He continued to explain who each member was and how they died. When Harry Potter didn’t want to hear anymore and excused himself to go upstairs, Harry was certain that Mad-Eye Moody was following his every movement with his magical eye.
At the start of the school year, Mad-Eye Moody accompanied the group with Tonks and Sirius Black in his dog form to the train station. That Christmas, when Arthur Weasley was attacked by Nagini at the ministry of magic and sent to St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical maladies and injuries, Mad-Eye Moody accompanied the group once again to the hospital where they could visit Arthur. During this time, the group was able to discuss a few other bits of news with Arthur Weasley and go over the extent of his injuries.
Battle of the Department of Mysteries
Harry Potter was able to view Snippets of what Lord Voldemort was seeing, what he was feeling, or what he was doing. Even though Harry Potter was supposed to learn to close his mind this entire school year, he never did. He gained information from this connection that saved Arthur Weasley’s life, so Harry entrusted a bit of value to this connection. Unfortunately, Dumbledore predicted that Lord Voldemort would learn of the connection and use it against Harry, which is precisely what he did when he showed Harry Potter scenes of Sirius Black being tortured in the department of mysteries. Harry Potter had seen visions of the Department of mysteries door and shelves throughout the year in what Lord Voldemort hoped would lure him to retrieve his prophecy.
Harry Potter and Ron, Hermione, Neville, Luna, and Ginny all traveled using thestrals to the ministry of magic in the middle of the night to rescue Sirius Black. This led to the Battle of the Department of Mysteries against many Death Eaters, including Lucius Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange. Moody, along with Kingsley, Tonks, Lupin, and Sirius, arrived at the Department of Mysteries in the Death Chamber to help fight off the death eaters just in time. Mad-Eye Moody continued to battle people like Antonin Dolohov, sustaining injuries and at one point losing his magical eye. Even though he was injured, he crawled his way over to Tonks to help her after her injuries fighting Bellatrix Lestrange. Only after Albus Dumbledore arrived and personally dueled with Voldemort, an event witnessed by Cornelius Fudge, did the battle conclude.
At the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, when the second war has begun, Mad-Eye Moody displays one of his best moments, approaching Uncle Vernon with the rest of the members of the Order of the Phoenix to have a word about the way Harry Potter has been treated. Alastor Moody wore a bowler hat tilted to the side to cover his magical eye, and this gave him the appearance of being a muggle. Because of this, Uncle Vernon addressed his comments directly to Moody, asking if Mad-Eye was threatening him. Mad-Eye Moody looked pleased that Uncle Vernon had grasped that back so quickly and confirmed he was threatening him. When Uncle Vernon pushed back and asked if he looked like the type of person who could be intimidated, Alastor Moody pushed his hat back to reveal the revolving magical eye and said that he did, in fact, look like someone who could be intimidated.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Mad-Eye Moody appeared to help fight during the Battle of the Astronomy Tower and later attended Dumbledore’s funeral. Mad-Eye Moody put protections in place against Number 12 Grimmauld Place to prevent Death Eaters, including Snape, from ever entering. Following Dumbledore’s death, Mad-Eye Moody became the Order of the Phoenix leader.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the Order of the Phoenix arrived once more to escort Harry to the Burrows. During this time, Mad-Eye Moody informs the group that they have to abandon their initial plan recognizing that Pius Thicknesse has gone over to the dark side. Connecting Number 4 Privet Drive to the floo network, apparating in or out, or placing a portkey at their home was an imprisonable offense. Because the group can’t wait for Harry Potter to lose his trace, six different people use Polyjuice Potion to transform so that they look like Harry Potter.
Before everyone sets off, Mad-Eye Moody notes that Polyjuice Potion tastes like Goblin piss. One of the Weasley twins asks if you have a lot of experience with Goblin piss which earns a stern glare from Mad-Eye Moody and the quieter, sarcastic remark from Fred that he was only trying to “lighten the tension.”
Everyone is paired up with someone else. Mad-Eye Moody provides the fake Harry Potters with his clothing and a pair of glasses as well as fake luggage. Mad-Eye Moody placed Harry Potter under the care of Hagrid while he took Mundungus. Moody believed that the Death Eaters and Lord Voldemort would assume that since he was the strongest and most talented Auror in the group if their plan had been leaked and the Death Eaters showed up, they would go after Alastor Moody first.
In the end, this is exactly what happened. Mundungus got scared, and he apparated in midair, leaving Mad-Eye Moody exposed. Voldemort fired a killing curse at him, and he fell off his broom. When everyone eventually made it back to the Weasley’s home, Bill and Fleur were the last to arrive. Bill looked at his father directly after giving his mother a perfunctory hug and announced, “Mad-Eye’s dead.” Everyone gave a toast to their fallen hero while Tonks cried silently into her handkerchief, Mad-Eye Moody’s Protege at the ministry of magic. Some members of the group set off to retrieve his body before the Death Eaters did, but they were unsuccessful.
The last remnants of Mad-Eye Moody that we come across are during the search for Horcruxes when Ron, Hermione, and Harry, all using disguises, break into the ministry of magic and find that Dolores Umbridge had stolen Mad-Eye Moody’s magical eye and affixed it to the door of her office so that she could watch all of her employees at any time. Harry Potter stole the eye back, a move that announced their presents to the ministry, and once they escaped, he buried the eye at the base of a tree in the forest in honor of the body that was never found.
Alastor Moody Friends
Alastor Moody didn’t have a wife or children, but he had very close friends who could rely on him the same as they would family. Nymphadora Tonks was one of his pupils, but they had a very close relationship. She behaved almost like a daughter to him, at ease with him and constantly making jokes about him, particularly when he gave long-winded lectures on safety and security. Mad-Eye Moody was openly fond of her and said that she was his favorite student out of everyone he worked with at the ministry of magic.
Albus Dumbledore was one of Mad-Eye Moody’s closest friends. Mad-Eye Moody regularly teased Dumbledore for disliking Dementors as Mad-Eye Moody, an Auror, had nothing against them, particularly when they were used against former Death Eaters Moody had caught and imprisoned. Mad-Eye Moody legitimately accepted the post to teach at Hogwarts before he was kidnapped by Barty Crouch jr. and imprisoned for the school year. The two respected one another enough that they could disagree on certain things like where Snape’s true loyalties were or what punishment should be rendered to Death Eaters like Igor Karkaroff, but still be close friends full of respect. Following Dumbledore Albus, Moody was the next member of the Order of the Phoenix to die in the fight against Voldemort.
Alastor Moody maintained close friendships with the Weasley family, especially Arthur Weasley, who said that in spite of how mad he was, he was one of the greatest wizards and most famous Aurors of his time. Other members of the Order of the Phoenix, including Remus Lupin and Kingsley Shacklebolt, were good friends of Moody’s. Sirius Black always spoke highly of Moody, particularly because he never killed Death Eaters unless it was absolutely necessary. He used his incredible magical skill and talent to capture above all else so that those who were guilty of crimes could face legitimate punishment. This trait was juxtaposed by behaviors of people like Barty Crouch, who ended up using some of the same tactics, violence, and murder that the Death Eaters used, only he believed that it was acceptable because he was hunting Death Eaters.
Alastor Moody’s Magical Abilities and Special Skills
Alastor Moody had some of the best magical abilities and special skills, which led to his position as the most famous Auror of all time. He was considered the most skilled in all of the British Ministry of magic. Part of the skills he possessed as an Auror included concealment and disguise skills, which he used in the books. Moody was good at using a disillusionment charm, which he applied to Harry Potter in order to disguise his appearance and make him invisible. This charm makes Harry Potter a human chameleon who takes on any of his surroundings’ exact color and texture.
When the group took Harry Potter from his aunt and uncle’s house, the original plan was to use side-along apparition, which indicates that Moody was accomplished at apparition so much so that he could bring someone else along with him. He was powerful enough to banish boggarts, cast charms using his walking stick, and conjure a non-corporeal Patronus. He could also create Polyjuice Potion for the people who disguise themselves as Harry Potter, a highly complex potion that takes at least one month to brew. Even though it is Barty Crouch Jr. who turned Draco into a ferret, Professor McGonagall isn’t surprised by this level of magical ability, which clearly speaks to the Transfiguration skill that Alastor Moody possesses in real life.
Alastor Moody is a successful broomsticks flier, able to duel while in the air. He can also use wandless and nonverbal magic.
Other Auror skills include stealth and tracking. He was one of the best trackers of all time. He was sent on some of the most important missions, and a big part of the reason we don’t know what his Hogwarts house was or where he was born and when is because he was able to keep all of this information a secret. He was an expert on things like dark detectors, a skill that helped him add the Order of the Phoenix. Moody placed powerful protective enchantments around the headquarters for the Order of the Phoenix after Dumbledore died. These protections prevented Snape or other Death Eaters from entering.
He has great teaching skills, which he proved with his appointment as a professor at Hogwarts and as a teacher and trainer to other Aurors, including Tonks. Similarly, he is able to lead people very effectively, as he is often in charge of things like the Advance Guard and, later, the Order of the Phoenix. He is excellent at intimidating other people, not just because of his magical eye but based on his history of magical skills and abilities. His reputation precedes him so much that he can intimidate people like Professor Snape and Karkaroff and Mundungus Fletcher and Vernon Dursley.
Defense Against the Dark Arts
As most of his work for the ministry of magic had to do with defense against the dark arts, he had considerable skill breaking curses and countering them even when they were dark spells. He was so skilled that he was able to inflict injuries without having to resort to killing his enemies. Even though he had the power to perform unforgivable curses, he didn’t. He also had the power to use things like the tongue-tying curse and other dark detectors to counteract curses from Death Eaters, a skill he applied to protect Number 12 Grimmauld Place.
He was an extremely skilled duelist, demonstrating his ability to quickly switch from offense to defense and even cast spells with his walking stick. His ability to take Death Eaters alive and not resort to unforgivable curses was a testament to his dueling ability. In fact, he was such a good duelist that he intimidated Severus Snape, who was considered a master duelist. During the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, he is one of the only members of the Order of the Phoenix who fights Death Eaters at the same time using nonverbal spells. He is so valuable as a duellist that even Lord Voldemort targeted him first during the Battle of the Seven Potters, assuming that he was the strongest and most likely to be protecting the real Harry Potter.
Alastor Moody Possessions
Barty Crouch Jr. was able to get away with his impersonation of Alastor Moody because of how paranoid the real Alastor Moody was and the possessions he had with him at all times. For example, Alastor Moody had a special magical trunk that contained seven different compartments with seven separate keys. Using this trunk Barty Crouch Jr. hid the real Alastor Moody while still keeping him alive and using his hair for Polyjuice Potion.
Alastor Moody had things like a sneakoscope, secrecy sensors, and foe-glass oh. All three of these tools were used by Barty Crouch jr. to make sure no one had uncovered his secret. The real Alastor Moody regularly used to tell when his enemies were approaching him, when someone was behaving in an untrustworthy fashion near him, or when someone was telling secrets and lies.
Alastor Moody always drank from a silver flask to prevent his food and drink from being poisoned. Barty Crouch jr. was able to drink Polyjuice Potion from this flask without anyone being suspicious.
Alastor Moody carried a walking stick in the film Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which contained magical abilities. This walking stick was particularly useful because it meant that he could still use the walking stick if he lost his wand for any reason. In the film adaptation, he is seen using that stick for magical purposes.
Alastor Moody possessed a wooden leg, a wand, and a magical eye. His magical eye is what earned his nickname, and it gave him the power to see through anything, including Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, even though the invisibility cloak was so powerful as one of the Deathly Hallows that even death could not find it. Mad-Eye Moody also owned two invisibility cloaks though they were regular invisibility cloaks and not part of the Deathly Hallows.
Alastor Moody Wand
Details about Alastor Moody’s wand are unknown.
Alastor Moody Trivial and Fun Facts
Many of the scenes that include Alastor moody in the book Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix do not appear in the film because they have been cut out. At no point in the film adaptations does anyone ever go to St. Mungo’s.
Brendan Gleeson uses his natural Irish accent for the character of Moody even though Moody wears a Scottish kilt to the Yule Ball (though this is, admittedly, not the real Moody), and his nationality is never specified in the books.
Brendan Gleeson’s son Domhnall Gleeson plays the role of Bill Weasley in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1 and part 2.
Alastor Moody is the only Professor for Defense Against the Dark Arts who isn’t seen in the films or the books before the start of the school year.
Alastor Moody Appearances in Books
Alastor Moody appears in the following books:
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Alastor Moody Appearances in Films
Alastor Moody appears in the following film adaptations:
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 and Part 2
Alastor Moody Quotes
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, when Harry Potter sees the real Mad-Eye Moody for the first time:
“He was looking down into a kind of pit, an underground room, and lying on the floor some ten feet below, apparently fast asleep, thin and starved in appearance, was the real Mad-Eye Moody. His wooden leg was gone, the socket that should have held the magical eye looked empty beneath its lid, and chunks of his grizzled hair were missing.”
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Alastor Moody regularly displays his knack for suspicion and preparing for the worst:
“Are you quite sure it’s him, Lupin? It’d be a nice lookout if we bring back some Death Eater impersonating him. We ought to ask him something only the real Potter would know. Unless anyone brought any Veritaserum?“
And later that same night when the group sets off with Harry:
“Clear night. Could’ve done with a bit more cloud cover. Right, you, we’re going to be flying in close formation. Tonks’ll be right in front of you, keep close on her tail. Lupin’ll be covering you from below. I’m going to be behind you. The rest’ll be circling us. We don’t break ranks for anything, got me? If one of us is killed —”
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when Mad-Eye gives a briefing to Harry before their departure:
“The one thing we’ve got on our side is that You-Know-Who doesn’t know we’re moving you tonight. We’ve leaked a fake trail to the Ministry, they think you’re not leaving until the thirtieth. However, this is You-Know-Who we’re dealing with so we can’t just rely on him getting the date wrong.”
Answer: Alastor Moody lost his eye while fighting with Death Eaters. He had a magical glass replacement made.
Answer: Barty Crouch jr. disguise himself as Alastor Moody. Barty Crouch Jr. was a former Death Eater who never lied about his service to Lord Voldemort, went to Azkaban, and continued to serve Voldemort in his capacity pretending to be Alastor Moody.
Answer: Alastor Moody was imprisoned in the seventh compartment of his trunk for the duration of the school year from September through June. He was in the trunk for about 10 months.
Answer: Dumbledore makes it clear that Barty Crouch Jr. had to keep Alastor Moody alive because he needed a source of his hair or some part of him for the Polyjuice Potion. Because Polyjuice Potion only lasts for about 1 hour, Barty Crouch Jr. would have needed a hair from Alastor Moody head every hour so he would have to keep him alive and healthy in order to be able to take a source from Moody’s body every hour for 10 months straight. Since he was locked in the bottom of a trunk it would have been easy for Barty Crouch Jr. to drop food and water into the trunk.
Answer: Some people say that Alastor Moody is crazy, and that he has lost some of his skills or is too paranoid after his retirement, but he is not a bad guy. He is always on the side of the right and continued to fight evil and Death Eaters alike until he was killed by Voldemort.
Answer: Technically it was Barty Crouch Jr. who put Harry Potter’s name in The Goblet of Fire. He put Harry Potter’s name under a different school so that there would be no one else competing against him. This was to guarantee that Harry Potter would participate in the Triwizard Tournament and eventually, with help from the fake Professor Moody, reach the Triwizard cup at the end which was actually a portkey to Lord Voldemort. The real Alastor Moody was locked in his office at this time.
IMDB. Harry Potter Full Cast. https://m.imdb.com/title/tt0926084/fullcredits/cast
Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Scholastic, 2002.
Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. New York: Listening Library, 2003.
Rowling, J. K. (2010). Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. London: Bloomsbury. Chicago (Author-Date, 15th ed.) Rowling, J. K. 2010.
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2007.