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Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody was a pureblood wizard known as one of the best aurors the Ministry of Magic ever had. Mad-Eye was famous for bringing Death Eaters to justice after the First Wizarding War, thinking like Death Eaters in order to track them down. Mad-Eye Moody was Barty Crouch Jr. in disguise for one year, using Polyjuice Potion and keeping the real Alastor Moody locked up. It was said that most of the Death Eaters in Azkaban were there because of him.
He suffered a multitude of injuries during his many battles, losing a leg, an eye, a chunk of his nose, and walking away with many scars. His face, when thrown into sharp relief by light, looked more grizzled and chunky than anything. He was also popular for his eccentricities: he didn’t trust anything, would only drink from his flask, made his own food most of the time, used his magical blue eye and dark detectors, and constant vigilance. Constant vigilance became his most popular phrase.
Mad-Eye Moody joined the second Order of the Phoenix and fought bravely during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries and the Battle of the Seven Potters. He died during the latter. He was appointed the professor of defense against the dark arts in 1994 but was kidnapped by Barty Crouch Jr., who used Polyjuice Potion to assume his appearance and impersonate him for the entire school year.
Mad-Eye Moody Quick Facts
|Full Name||Alastor “Mad-Eye” 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||Dying to save Harry Potter|
|Actors Who Played||Brendan Gleeson|
|Last Updated||Apr 22, 2022|
Mad-Eye Moody Birthplace
Mad-Eye Moody was born in England.
Mad-Eye Moody Parents
Mad-Eye Moody came from a family of pureblood witches and wizards, both of whom were aurors. In fact, his entire family was highly regarded for producing some of the most talented aurors for the Ministry of Magic.
Mad-Eye Moody’s Physical Traits
Mad-Eye Moody showed up at the Hogwarts staff table right when Dumbledore was about to announce the Triwizard Tournament. He had a face covered in gashes and scars with a large chunk of his nose missing, one of his eyes a vivid, electric blue, regularly moving without blinking independently of his normal eye. He had a mane of dark gray hair. He had a carved wooden leg that ended in a claw foot. His magical eye could see through the back of his head, clothing, as well as solid wooden desks, invisibility cloaks, and buildings.
Mad-Eye Moody Early Life
Mad-Eye Moody went to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and received top marks in his NEWT subjects. He took the additional three years of training to become an auror. After which, he was the most successful auror they had. During the First Wizarding War, he worked with the ministry and the First Order of the Phoenix to catch dark wizards, which resulted in many battles, duels, and scars. At the time, aurors were given the authority to use the unforgivable curses against known death eaters, but he never did if he could help it, preferring to bring in his prey for trial. He was responsible for tracking down Evan Rosier, Wilkes, and Igor Karkaroff-who later became the headmaster for Durmstrang.
Mad-Eye Moody Hogwarts Years
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Mad-Eye Moody comes to us first in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the morning the group was meant to board the Hogwarts Express brought with it the head of Amos Diggory early in the morning. Amos Diggory appeared in their fireplace flames to ask Arthur Weasley to help settle an issue that had happened the night before with Mad-Eye Moody. Mad-Eye Moody suspected someone of breaking onto his property, so he tried to curse them and, in so doing, accidentally hit his dustbins. This sent garbage flying everywhere and made a great deal of noise, triggering his nearby muggle neighbors to call the police. Amos Diggory pointed out that since no individual had been harmed, the department of magic would have a hard time proving that he used his wand, but he was on thin ice because of previous problems. Arthur Weasley had to get him off on a minor charge like exploding dustbins so that he could continue fulfilling his position as a professor.
On their first day of class, Draco Malfoy was reading a news article about Arthur Weasley, mocking Ron Weasley and his family in the middle of the hallway. When Draco attempted to attack Harry Potter for comments Harry made against Draco’s mother, Mad-Eye Moody turned him into a white ferret. He was so furious with people who attacked when their opponents’ backs were turned. He called it stinking, cowardly, and a scummy thing to do as he bounced the ferret version of Draco higher and higher, smacking off the stone flag floor. Only when Professor McGonagall reminded him that they never use Transfiguration as a punishment did Mad-Eye Moody admit that Dumbledore may have mentioned it, but he still thought it was worth the boy being punished. In fact, when Malfoy was turned back into his normal self and muttered a threat toward mad-eye Moody involving Draco’s father, Moody lived close to him and told him that he knew secrets about his father, and Draco was welcome to tell his father that Mad-Eye Moody was keeping a close eye on him.
During his first lesson, Mad-Eye Moody introduced the class to the three unforgivable curses, talking at great length about how it took real strength of character to fight things like the imperious curse, but with constant vigilance, it could be done. Later, throughout the year, Mad-Eye Moody demonstrated this ability by testing it on Harry Potter, who was, through multiple attempts and lots of scrapes and bruises, able to fight the imperious curse and refused to do what Mad-Eye Moody tried to force upon him.
After Harry Potter was selected as the fourth champion and enjoyed great hate from his fellow students, he spent their final Hogsmeade trip prior to the first event under his invisibility cloak. Sitting at The Three Broomsticks drinking a butterbeer with Hermione, he waved at Hagrid only to remember that he was hidden under his invisibility cloak. However, Mad-Eye Moody redirected Hagrid and himself over to their table, complimenting the cloak and confirming that his special blue eye could see through invisibility cloaks, even the cloak that supposedly hid the wearer from death.
Before the Yule Ball, Dobby, the house-elf, presented Harry Potter with socks as a gift at Christmas. He had knitted the socks himself. Dobby was particularly fond of clothing since it was a slimy, wet sock of Harry Potter’s that gained his freedom in the first place. Unfortunately, Dobby did not understand why a person would waste their time wearing two of the same socks when they could wear two different socks. It was Mad-Eye Moody who was able to see the socks through Harry Potter’s pants and robes and made a quick joke in passing.
After the Yule Ball, Harry Potter needed to work out the secret of his egg for the second Triwizard task. After taking a bath and working out the secret, Harry Potter found himself flipping through one of the trick stairs, dropping his golden egg with a clan, and rousing the interest of Mrs. Norris the cat and her caretaker, Filch. Severus Snape had shown up on the scene as well but for different reasons. It wasn’t until Mad-Eye Moody arrived with his magical eye that he could take in the entire scene. Harry Potter had dropped to the Marauder’s Map, and because Mad-Eye Moody could see Harry Potter frantically waving, indicating ownership, Mad-Eye Moody summoned the document before Snape could take it, alleging it was his. Threatening Snape, he eventually encouraged the group to clear off and helped Harry Potter out of the trick stair. However, he kept the Marauder’s Map in exchange for having assisted Harry.
Using the Marauder’s Map, Mad-Eye Moody was able to find Barty Crouch listed as one of the moving dots. With the Marauder’s Map, he was able to track him down, although, at this point, it was Barty Crouch Jr. disguised as Mad-Eye Moody, so he realized that his father was fighting imperious curse and trying to reach Dumbledore. When he finally caught up with his father, he killed him, turned him into a dog bone, and buried him deep in the woods where no one would find him.
During the final Triwizard activity, Mad-Eye Moody walked to the perimeter of the maze and continually blocked or cursed things that were in Harry Potter’s way so that his path would be relatively free from distraction. This involved cursing some of the other students as well. In one such example, Mad-Eye Moody used the imperious curse on Viktor Krum, which caused Viktor Krum to attack Cedric, but Harry Potter saved Cedric, and they sent up sparks for Viktor.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the real Mad-Eye Moody shows up at Harry’s aunt and uncle’s house to escort him away. Mad-Eye Moody constantly snapped at Harry Potter to lower his wand and not to store it in his back pocket, or he would blow his buttocks off. Harry Potter continued to refer to him as a professor, something Mad-Eye Moody said probably didn’t apply since he never got the chance to teach.
While explaining the process for transporting Harry Potter safely, his magical blue eye got stuck, shuttering in place. He said it continued to get stuck ever since “the scum” wore it. He popped it out with a sound like a plunger and a toilet, tossed it in a cup of water, spun around, and put it back in place. Mad-Eye explained that the group would be flying to the safety of the Order of the Phoenix headquarters, largely because Harry Potter was such an experienced flyer. It was the safest way to transport him, but if anyone should die along the way, the rest of the group was to continue going, and their main prerogative was to keep Harry Potter safe. He was so severe that Tonks joked sarcastically that he should be less cheerful; otherwise, Harry Potter would think they weren’t taking the risk seriously.
As everyone climbed aboard their respective broomsticks and set off, Mad-Eye was in the lead, circling them back and forth, going in different directions just in case they were followed, through the clouds which got everyone freezing cold and wet, all to mislead anyone who is trying to follow them. Once they arrived, he handed Harry Potter a piece of paper that explained the location. He told Harry to memorize it and think about it, which caused the headquarters to appear. Once they got inside, Mad-Eye made things a little more comfortable by filling the room with light and then attended an official meeting for the Order of the Phoenix.
Throughout the book, he would appear for dinners, official meetings, and at one point, a party to celebrate Ron and Hermione being selected as prefects. During that time, he confirmed that his magical eye could see through multiple layers of a house when Molly Weasley said they were concerned about a potential boggart in one of the upstairs rooms. Mad-Eye Moody swiveled his eye in that direction and confirmed it was a boggart.
As part of the celebration, he brought Harry Potter a picture of the old members of the Order of the Phoenix. Like all magical pictures, the characters inside moved. But they also seem to be alive in a sense, following his directions to “budge over” so that people outside the frame could be seen. He pointed out each person by name and how they died or what happened to them, something Harry Potter did not appreciate. However, the picture also included Sirius Black and Harry Potter’s parents. When Harry excused himself, upset by the picture, he had the sense that Mad-Eye Moody’s magical blue eye was following him as he went back upstairs to his room.
When it was time to go to school, Mad-Eye Moody was one of the members to accompany the group to Hogwarts station. At Christmas time, when Arthur Weasley was attacked, Mad-Eye came back and escorted the family to the hospital, during which time they talked about their theories regarding Harry Potter’s possible possession by Voldemort.
Battle of the Department of Mysteries
Even though he wasn’t actually possessed, Harry Potter was able to view some of the things that Lord Voldemort was seeing or thinking. Because of this, he was able to see when Arthur Weasley was attacked. So, later in the year, when he saw Sirius Black being tortured at the department of mysteries, he believed it equally legitimate.
Along with members of Dumbledore’s Army, he set off on a rescue mission. Unfortunately, a group of Death Eaters was waiting for them. It had been a trap. Somehow Dumbledore and members of the Order of the Phoenix became privy to this situation and took off to help at once. Mad-Eye Moody was one member who helped fight at the Department of Mysteries, losing his magical eyeball in the process although regaining it later. He was so talented an auror that he was able to fight two Death Eaters at the same time. At one point, he was injured, but he still crawled over to Andromeda Tonks to help her in her fight with Bellatrix Lestrange.
At the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, knowing that the second war with Voldemort had started, Mad-Eye Moody approached Harry Potter’s uncle. When dressed as a muggle, Mad-Eye Moody usually wore a bowler hat that was tilted to one side so that he could cover up his magical eyeball even though he could still see through the house. Because he looked most like a regular person, Uncle Vernon addressed him specifically, asking if Mad-Eye was threatening Vernon. Mad-Eye Moody almost laughed, confirming that he was, in fact, threatening Vernon, and he was happy to see that Vernon caught on so quickly. When Harry’s uncle asks if he looks like the type of person who could be intimidated or threatened, Mad-Eye Moody pushes his hat back to reveal the magical eyeball and frighten Vernon into treating Harry Potter better during the summer.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Mad-Eye Moody was one of the many members of the Order of the Phoenix who showed up to help fight during the Battle of the Astronomy Tower. Not much is said about his fighting, but at the end of the book, Mad-Eye attends Dumbledore’s funeral. As the de facto leader following Dumbledore’s death, Mad-Eye Moody put protections in place against Number 12 Grimmauld Place. These were designed to prevent Snape, whom the group now assumed to be a traitor, away.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the Order of the Phoenix arrives to escort Harry to the Burrows. This is the Flight of the Seven Potters, where some of the members took Polyjuice Potion to look just like Harry Potter so that when they set off, assuming they were followed by Death Eaters (which they were), there would be seven different Harry Potters and the Death Eaters wouldn’t know which one to pursue.
Mad-Eye Moody said most Death Eaters would assume that since he was the best auror, the real Harry Potter would be with him, and that is why Mad-Eye Moody paired himself with Mundungus Fletcher instead. Mundungus Fletcher was the only member who wasn’t keen on becoming Harry Potter and hadn’t volunteered for the mission like the other members.
Mad-Eye Moody had thought of everything: he gave each transformed individual a set of clothing that looked just like Harry Potter’s, a set of glasses, and fake luggage.
The group set off and were immediately surrounded by Death Eaters. Mundungus Fletcher was frightened and didn’t remain behind to help. He apparated in midair See, leaving Mad-Eye Moody’s back completely exposed. Voldemort had fired a killing curse which hit Mad-Eye Moody right in the back, causing him to fall off his broomstick. When the group discovered that Mad-Eye Moody had been killed, they tried to rescue the body, but they failed.
Later it was revealed that some member of the Death Eaters was able to recover his body because Dolores Umbridge had his magical blue eyeball in her office and was using it to spy on her employees. Even though that action alerted the ministry of magic to their presence, Harry Potter stole it. After they escaped, he buried it at the base of a tree and made a carving into the tree trunk in honor of Mad-Eye Moody.
Mad-Eye Moody Friends
Mad-Eye Moody didn’t have a family, but he had just as good friends. Nymphadora Tonks was his favorite pupil. She was so close to him that she was almost like a daughter. She would always take Jabs at him and mock him, and he allowed it. He said he was openly fond of her and that she was her favorite student. They worked together for a long time at the Ministry of Magic.
Albus Dumbledore was another close friend. The two of them worked together as members of the First Order of the Phoenix and the Second Order of the Phoenix. Dumbledore always respected Mad-Eye even if they didn’t necessarily agree on everything.
Mad-Eye Moody was also extremely close to the Weasley family. Arthur Weasley helped him out of many complicated legal situations, and the entire Weasley family respected him, trusted him implicitly, and always turned to him for help. These close friendships extended to other members of the Order of the Phoenix, including Sirius Black, who spoke highly of Mad-Eye Moody for never killing a Death Eater if he didn’t have to.
Mad-Eye Moody’s Magical Abilities and Special Skills
Mad-Eye Moody was considered the most famous auror of all time. He developed many magical abilities and special skills in part because of this training. This included concealment charms, disguises, disillusionment charms to make people or things invisible, apparition, side-along apparition, a non-corporeal Patronus, and more. He also had potions skills, able to make things like Polyjuice Potion. He demonstrated his skills at Transfiguration when he transfigured Draco Malfoy into a ferret.
He was able to use wandless magic and nonverbal magic. He was an excellent flyer. Mad-Eye Moody was also skilled at tracking, using dark detectors, placing powerful protective enchantments, and being a leader. He was an excellent teacher for his protege Tonks.
Defense Against the Dark Arts
Similarly, he bragged about his ability to track down Death Eaters because he was able to think like a Death Eater; he was able to put himself in the mind of someone practicing dark magic. But he was also able to defend against curses and dark magic. He was powerful enough to use the unforgivable curses, a skill that Bellatrix Lestrange explains requires you to truly mean what you are doing. If you want to cause physical harm to someone, you have to possess the power and the desire to do so, not just with righteous vindication or retribution. However, Mad-Eye Moody did not necessarily use the skills if he didn’t have to.
He was an extremely skilled duelist. He showed this when he fought multiple Death Eaters during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries and the Seven Potters.
Mad-Eye Moody Possessions
Mad-Eye Moody was known for having unique possessions. Firstly, he had a magical trunk inside of which were seven different compartments. You had to unlock the first compartment, close it, then open it again, unlock the second compartment, close it, and repeat until you got all the way down to the 7th compartment. In this seventh compartment, the real Mad-Eye Moody was held hostage for ten months.
He was also known for having many dark detectors like foe-glass, which showed blurry outlines are silhouettes of people that got increasingly clearer and more concise when enemies were nearby. He had a large sneakoscope that went off anytime someone was lying, or there was treachery about. When Mad-Eye Moody was at Hogwarts, being impersonated by Barty Crouch Jr., he explained that he had to ignore his sneakoscope because it was always going off due to children sneaking around and lying not doing their homework, and so on.
He always drank from a silver flask. He was worried about his food and drink being poisoned, so he carried this flask with him all the time.
As mentioned, he had a wooden leg, a magical eyeball, and a magic wand. He also had a walking stick to help him with his wooden leg. This walking stick presumably contains magical abilities because he was able to use it just like he would a magic wand. His magical eyeball, of course, is what earned him his nickname, and it was so powerful it could see through anything.
Mad-Eye Moody Wand
Details about Mad-Eye Moody’s wand are unknown.
Mad-Eye Moody Trivial and Fun Facts
Many of the scenes that include Mad-Eye in the book Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix are not in the film. These include the Christmas when Harry Potter has visions of Mr. Weasley being attacked and the entire family visits him in St. Mungo’s.
Brendan Gleeson, who plays Mad-Eye, used his natural Irish accent for the character of Moody. Moody is not described as a particular nationality or ethnicity in the books, just as a grizzled older man. Gleeson’s son, Domhnall, plays Bill Weasley.
Mad-Eye is the only character who teaches DADA and is introduced before the start of the term but not seen.
Mad-Eye Moody Appearances in Books
Mad-Eye 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
Mad-Eye Moody Appearances in Films
Mad-Eye 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
Mad-Eye Moody Quotes
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, while teaching his first Defense Against the Dark Arts class.
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, when Mad-Eye applied his techniques as an auror to ensure he had the real Harry:
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?
When the Order of the Phoenix moved Harry Potter from his aunt and uncle’s house to the headquarters for the group:
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 prepared Harry for the flight of the seven Potters:
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: Mad-Eye Moody was both. The real Alastor Moody was good, although direct and somewhat frightening. He always fought to bring in Death Eaters and never resorted to their tactics if he could help it. He didn’t just kill when he had the opportunity but would bring them the ministry of magic so that they could face trial. When Mad-Eye Moody taught at Hogwarts, Barty Crouch Jr. was in disguise. And Barty Crouch Jr. was not a good guy; he was a Death Eater. However, throughout this school year, he acted like a good guy, protecting Harry Potter and helping him through all the tasks during the Triwizard Tournament, even though he did all of this for the wrong reasons.
Answer: Mad-Eye Moody, or Alastor Moody, got his nickname because of the fake, magical glass eye he wore to replace the eye he lost while fighting Death Eaters. This magic eye could see through anything, including invisibility cloaks (when he spotted Harry Potter), multiple stories in a house (when he found the boggart in an upstairs bedroom), under school desks (when he caught Lavender Brown showing Parvati a horoscope under the desk), and through hedges (when he helped stun people in Harry’s way).
Answer: Barty Crouch Jr. used Polyjuice Potion to disguise himself as Alastor Moody. He remained loyal to Lord Voldemort the entire time he was in Azkaban. Still, once his father sprung him from prison, he eventually made his way back to Voldemort, who had regained some semblance of a physical form and offered his services. This service included transforming and pretending to be Mad-Eye Moody so as to help Harry Potter reach the port key at the end of the Triwizard Tournament.
Answer: The real Mad-Eye Moody was imprisoned in his trunk for ten months, from the first of September through the end of June.
Answer: Barty Crouch Jr. had to keep Mad-Eye Moody alive so that he could make the Polyjuice Potion. According to Hermione, in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Polyjuice Potion only lasts for about an hour or so MadEye Moody had to be kept alive to take hair from him every hour for ten months.
Answer: Technically yes. Mad-Eye Moody put his name in The Goblet of Fire after using a confundus charm on the Goblet. However, it was Barty Crouch Jr. in disguise. It was also Barty Crouch Jr. disguised as Mad-Eye who helped Harry throughout each of his tasks.
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.