GoF = Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (American hardcover edition)
OotP = Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (American hardcover edition)
Spoilers: general spoilers for all five books; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Email: marajade at earthlink dot net
I first met Alastor Moody in the summer of 2000, a few months after the publication of Goblet of Fire. I was fascinated and intrigued from the first, but he was not who I thought he was. And that realization fascinated me all the more.
Moody steps onto the pages of the Harry Potter saga when he arrives at Hogwarts the night of the Start-of-Term feast. He comes in out of a thunderstorm, with a great crash of thunder and lightening, to join the Hogwarts staff as Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, the fourth to hold the post in Harry's years at the school. He is an infamous retired Auror, known for capturing a great many Dark witches and wizards. He is perhaps as famous for his paranoia as for his career as an Auror.
Few characters have arrived in such fashion, with such obvious drama. Remus Lupin's arrival in Prisoner of Azkaban, saving Harry and his friends from dementors on the school train, is the only other that comes to mind, and Lupin, like Moody, would go on to play a pivotal role in the lives of many characters, including Harry.
His name most likely comes from the Greek name Alexander, meaning "defender of mankind." Sirius Black tells Harry and the others that though he was responsible for the capture of many dark wizards and even Death Eaters, Moody was known for showing greater restraint than many others even at the height of the first war against Voldemort: "He never killed if he could help it. Always brought people in alive when possible. He was tough, but he never descended to the level of the Death Eaters." (GoF 532) However, it must also be noted that Moody went to some extremes himself, which troubled his good friend Albus Dumbledore.
"What happened to him?"
One of the most striking features of a very physically striking character is Moody's magical eye. Large, round, and bright blue, this eye is for many probably nearly synonymous with Moody himself. It is certainly what has earned him his nickname of "Mad-Eye" Moody. The eye can see through most if not anything- solid surfaces such as desks, walls, Invisibility Cloaks, and also the back of Moody's own head.
While no details as to how Moody lost his natural eye have yet been given, Goblet of Fire provides a clue as to when he lost it. In the first scene Harry views in Dumbledore's Pensieve, Harry finds himself witnessing Igor Karkaroff giving testimony after the first war against Voldemort has ended. Harry notices Moody seated near Dumbledore. "Mad-Eye Moody was sitting there- except that there was a very noticeable difference in his appearance. He did not have his magical eye, but two normal one." (GoF 588) This would suggest that Moody lost his eye after the first war was over, perhaps while going after one of the remaining Death Eaters.
Moody is the only truly physically handicapped character we have yet to see in the Harry Potter universe, but I don't think this is a term he would ever apply to himself, or thank anyone else for using about him. His physical characteristics are of course the first things Harry and his friends notice about Moody when he arrives at Hogwarts, and as they are such strong and noticeable characteristics, much attention is paid to them. Moody is missing an eye, a leg, and a large chunk of his nose. His face and hands are heavily scarred. A claw-footed wooden leg replaces Moody's missing limb. He is able to walk with the aid of this prosthesis, but not well, nor very quickly; he has a very pronounced limp. Moody is never described as tall or short, so we can assume him to be of about average height.
Harry and his friends see Moody as paranoid and scarred, but certainly he is more than these two things. He has a past, little though we might know of it, and the events of that past have shaped him as the past shapes everyone. Each scar and old injury is a part of that history, and each has its own story. In Goblet of Fire we learn that the chunk missing from Moody's nose was probably hexed off (taken, in some fashion, anyway) by the Death Eater Evan Rosier, who refused to be taken in alive by the Aurors. "Took a bit of me with him," says Moody of this. (GoF 589)
This statement gives us another clue to the somewhat enigmatic figure of the scarred old Auror. It implies a rather black sense of humor, somewhat self-depreciating, which I find very much in keeping with his character as I see it.
Moody fascinates me in part because he is so unlike any other characters we see in the Harry Potter universe. Many characters have been mentioned to have fought in the first war, and Moody cannot be the only Auror to have done so and survived. But he is the only Auror we have yet seen to carry so many scars and physical injuries. Magical medicine is in many ways superior to what we modern Muggles possess, but Moody's appearance suggests it has its limitations. Perhaps bones can be regrown, but not limbs, or eyes? Or perhaps such healing spells were available to Moody and he chose not to use them. At this point we don't know, but if this is the case, it paints an interesting picture.
I can very easily see him as being so stubborn and determined to do for himself that he would refuse the "easy" solution of regenerative spells, preferring to make his own way as best he can without them. It could be argued that his magical eye is far superior to the one it replaced, but in many ways there is indeed no real substitute for original parts.
"Isn't he that nutter-?"
There is clear evidence of Moody's paranoia, and, I think, justification for it as well. He may see dark wizards around nearly every corner, but he has caught several of them, due perhaps in part to that very paranoia so often mocked by the world at large. He also has, it must be noted, a large number of enemies, most of whom would certainly have a great deal of motive for wishing to do him harm, or even for making an attempt at it.
Moody is very suspicious about both food and drink, but particularly drink. He is well-known to drink only from his hip flask, and always examines all food carefully for any trace of poison before eating it.
Moody arrives at Harry's aunt and uncle's house on Privet Drive near the beginning of the 5th book, leading the advance guard sent to bring Harry to the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix. Though Harry is suspicious of Moody's identity, Moody is just as suspicious of Harry's, not truly believing Harry is who he claims to be until he answers a question posed to him by Remus Lupin on the shape his Patronus takes.
I know quite a few Harry Potter fans, and nearly all of them have at one point or another described Moody as crazy, insane, etc. To a certain extent I have had to admit that they're right. I don't think, though, that Moody is very crazy, just that his paranoia, justifiable though it is at times, can also get a bit out of hand.
Rita Skeeter refers to him as "the aged ex-Auror who retired from the Ministry when no longer able to tell the difference between a handshake and attempted murder." She also makes reference to his "well-known habit of attacking anybody who makes a sudden movement in his presence." (GoF 203) Given Rita's tendency to deal in rumors and outright lies, it's fairly safe to say that these statements are at least an exaggeration. However, like most of Rita's exaggerations, they are based in fact. While he may not be quite as paranoid as Rita Skeeter paints him, even Moody's fellow Aurors and Order members such as Nymphadora Tonks, believe that he is a bit extreme. Also, Rita's articles tell us something about how the average wizard is likely to think of Moody, since J.K. Rowling has shown again and again that most people believe what is printed in the Daily Prophet.
She goes on to say in another article, "Mad-Eye Moody, however, looks responsible and kindly when set beside [Hagrid]." (GoF 437) I believe, considering the source, this statement ought to be taken with a large grain of salt as well. In fact I believe that despite his somewhat gruff manner, Moody is in fact both responsible and kindly.
It is ironic that the attack at Moody's home in the beginning of Goblet of Fire, which nearly everyone believes to be a false alarm, and which is held up as a perfect example of Moody's extreme paranoia, in fact does entirely justify his suspicious nature. He is attacked by two Death Eaters acting on Lord Voldemort's orders, put under the Imperius curse, and imprisoned in a trunk from which he will not escape for nearly a full Hogwarts term.
Understandably enough, no one seems to blame Moody for his increased paranoia in the final chapters of GoF, after his release from the trunk.
Moody's notorious paranoia even provides an important lesson for Harry, which he recalls just in time; "He raised the cup to his lips and then, just as suddenly, lowered it. One of the horrible painted kittens behind Umbridge had great round blue eyes just like Mad-Eye Moody's magical one, and it had just occurred to Harry what Mad-Eye would say if he ever heard that Harry had drunk anything offered by a known enemy." (OotP 630) Umbridge, it turns out, has given Harry a glass containing what she believes to be Veritaserum. In this situation Moody would most likely have suspected poison, not a truth potion, but the example still holds true.
Although Harry expresses some trepidation at the suggestion that he might become an Auror in GoF, wishing to find out if the rest of the Aurors were as scarred as Moody before making any decisions, by the time his career advice interview with his head of house comes about in OotP, he seems to have changed his tune. It's clear Harry has made up his mind that he wants to be an Auror, in spite of the number of scars carried by the first Auror he met.
The Crouch Year
In only one chapter of Goblet of Fire do we see the real Alastor Moody in action- the flashback scene in Dumbledore's Pensieve. Throughout the rest of the book, the "Moody" we see is Bartemus Crouch Jr., a Death Eater who has imprisoned Moody and assumed his identity. Many readers believe that this fake!Moody acts for the most part much like the real one would have, but that there are times when the real Crouch peeks through the facade.
Debate continues to this day as to which actions on the part of Crouch Jr. were things that the true Moody would have done. I think that most if not all of them were. Under Veritaserum, Crouch Jr. says that he made an effort to learn Moody's history and mannerisms so that he could fool everyone in his impersonation of Moody, even Dumbledore. This suggests that all of the actions taken by Crouch Jr. in his persona of Moody in Harry's fourth year (GoF) were in keeping with the true Moody's character, at least until Harry's return from being an unwilling participant in Voldemort's resurrection spell, at which point Crouch Jr. threw off his persona enough to take Harry out from under Dumbledore's eyes, something Dumbledore states he knew the real Moody would never have done. (GoF 680)
Like his friend Dumbledore, Moody seems to have a certain disregard for rules. Crouch is again very likely acting just as Moody would by showing his students what Unforgivable Curses look like, and also when he teaches them to fight the effects of the Imperius Curse. The three Unforgivable Curses are major weapons in the arsenal of Voldemort and the Death Eaters, and Moody would feel it very important to show his students what they were up against, and also to teach them to fight what they could. That his class included Harry Potter, already a target for these curses at an age when the Ministry would seem to think him too young to even learn about them, may have had something to do with it. For myself, however, I believe Moody would have taught them these things anyway.
The incident in which Crouch as Moody transfigures Draco Malfoy into a ferret, is, I think, quite telling of Moody's character, and of at least some of his motivation. Moody is furious that Draco has attacked Harry when his back is turned, calling it a "stinking, cowardly, scummy thing to do." (GoF 205) When Minerva McGonagall happens by, shocked by what he is doing (Moody refers to it as "teaching") Moody seems remarkably unconcerned.
Likewise, Moody doesn't seem to care that much that the staff and student body of Hogwarts (with Dumbledore and Hagrid being notable exceptions) didn't welcome him with anything approaching the enthusiasm new staff members are often greeted with.
When Neville Longbottom is upset after seeing a demonstration of the Cruciatus Curse, which was used to drive his parents insane, Moody takes Neville to his office for a cup of tea. Later, Harry finds Neville reading a book on water plants which Moody had loaned him; Moody had told Neville something Professor Sprout, the Herbology teacher, had said about Neville being gifted at that subject. This kindness to Neville furthers Crouch Jr.'s plans to help Harry through the Triwizard tournament, but like all public actions taken during that term, it almost has to have been something that the real Moody would have done himself.
After the headmaster of Durmstrang, Igor Karkaroff, and his pupils arrive for the Triwizard tournament, Karkaroff is both angry and afraid when he runs into Moody one night after dinner. Moody, it transpires, is the Auror who caught Karkaroff in the days of the first war against Voldemort, when Karkaroff was a Death Eater. (GoF 352)
Karkaroff and Moody cross paths again after Harry's name comes out of the Goblet of Fire. Moody voices the opinion that someone may have put Harry's name forward in an attempt to get him killed, and Karkaroff reacts with scorn. Moody's reply is rather scornful: "'Imagining things, am I?' growled Moody. 'Seeing things, eh?'" When Karkaroff persists in mocking Moody's paranoia, the gloves come off. "'There are those who'll turn innocent occasion to their advantage," Moody retorted in a menacing voice. 'It's my job to think the way Dark Wizards do, Karkaroff- as you ought to remember.'" It is only when Dumbledore calls him off (and we and Harry learn Moody has a first name other than 'Mad-Eye') that Moody backs down. (GoF 279-280)
Moody overhears Harry telling Cedric Diggory, who is the only school champion who does not know, that the first task of the Triwizard Tournament involves dragons. Harry expects to be in trouble for having found out what is coming in the first task, but Moody surprises him; "'That was a very decent thing you just did, Potter,' Moody said quietly." (GoF 324) Thus again, as when Moody punishes Draco Malfoy for attacking while Harry's back was turned, we see evidence of Moody's sense of ethics.
Harry confesses that he has no idea how he will get past his dragon. "'Well, I'm not going to tell you," said Moody gruffly. 'I don't show favoritism, me. I'm just going to give you some good, general advice. And the first bit is- play to your strengths.'" With a bit of nudging from Moody, Harry is able to figure out a plan for surviving the First Task.
Moody's next major interaction with Harry comes as the young wizard is puzzling out the clue which will tell him what he must do in the Second Task of the tournament. Harry takes his clue for a walk late at night on the advice of Cedric Diggory, the other Hogwarts champion. On his way back to his dormitory, Harry, wearing his Invisibility Cloak, gets stuck in a trick stair and accidentally causes a commotion that brings Filch, the school caretaker, and Professor Snape. (GoF 468-470)
What I find most interesting about this scene is Moody's interaction with Snape. (GoF 470-474) Crouch is out and about late at night for his own reasons, and is himself responsible for the office break-in that Snape mentions to Filch. He is also, however, playing his role of Moody to the hilt when he implies that Snape is very wrong about why anyone would want to break into his office. Snape very clearly did not want Moody to know his office had been broken into- he tells Filch to shut up, for all the good that it does, when Filch mentions the break-in.
It seems Snape has good reason to want to keep this information from Moody, who had searched Snape's office "pretty thoroughly" (GoF 471) himself. Moody replies that it was "Auror's privilege" (GoF 471) and makes a veiled reference to Snape's Dark Mark with a statement about "spots that never come off, d'you know what I mean?" (GoF 472) It's pretty clear that Snape knows exactly what he means. Moody clearly knows Snape was accused of being a Death Eater, and just as clearly does not trust him. Snape is wary of Moody as well, seeming to be trying to avoid Moody and his magical eye whenever their paths cross in the halls.
In the Pensieve scenes, when Dumbledore defends Snape to the wizarding court during Karkaroff's testimony, most of those present seem to accept Dumbledore's word as good enough. Crouch Sr. replies to Karkaroff's accusation against Snape with "disdain". But behind Dumbledore's back, Moody "was wearing a look of deep skepticism." (GoF 590-591)
Moody's actions on the night Barty Crouch Sr. turns up at the school (the night, we later learn, when he was killed) are an interesting combination of Crouch Jr's true motives, and his masquerade as Moody. He is out on the grounds that night because he has seen Crouch Sr. arrive via the Marauders' Map, and Crouch Jr. has orders from Voldemort to kill his father. But when Harry runs for Dumbledore, he sees this as well, and knowing that Dumbledore would ask Moody to help in locating Crouch Sr, he makes a show of acting exactly as the true Moody would, limping off into the forest to search for Crouch Sr.
It is precisely because Crouch Jr. plays his role so well that Harry- and we the readers- are so very shocked to learn that it is "Moody" who put Harry's name forward for the Triwizard Tournament. (GoF 675) The more he speaks, the more surreal this scene becomes for the reader and for Harry, as Crouch Jr. goes on to explain what he has done. "Who put your name in the Goblet of Fire, under the name of a different school? I did. Who frightened off every person I thought might try to hurt you or prevent you from winning the tournament? I did. Who nudged Hagrid into showing you the dragons? I did. Who helped you see the only way you could beat the dragon? I did." (GoF 676)
Harry articulates my feelings in this scene fairly well: "Harry stared at Moody. He just didn't see how this could be... Dumbledore's friend, the famous Auror... the one who had caught so many Death Eaters... It made no sense... no sense at all..." (GoF 678) Nor does it make any sense, until Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Snape arrive and stun Crouch. Dumbledore explains that he is not, in fact, Alastor Moody, as his friend would not have taken Harry out of his sight after that night's events. (GoF 680)
After casting a Stunning spell on Crouch Jr., Dumbledore opens Moody's enchanted trunk to reveal the real Moody, Stunned, bound by the Imperius Curse, and, it transpires when Dumbledore climbs down into the trunk to check on him, freezing cold. This is our first glimpse of the real Moody other than the Pensieve sequences, and it is Moody at his weakest point. For a character usually seen as very close to indomitable, this is a powerful moment. Moody, despite his scars and the loss of his leg, is not a character often portrayed as having a great deal of weakness. Physically he might not be as strong as he once was, but there is a mental toughness about Moody which never seems to waver. But we see it waver here, when the true Moody is uncovered in such a state.
Crouch Jr.'s interrogation under Veritaserum provides more details of Moody's capture. "Wormtail and I did it. We prepared the Polyjuice Potion beforehand. We journeyed to his house. Moody put up a struggle. There was a commotion. We managed to subdue him just in time. Forced him into a compartment of his own magical trunk." (GoF 688-689) Clearly, even with the odds against him, Moody gave Crouch Jr. and Wormtail quite a fight.
We last see Moody in Goblet of Fire through Harry's eyes, very nervously sitting at the Staff Table. "He was extremely twitchy, jumping every time someone spoke to him. Harry couldn't blame him; Moody's fear of attack was bound to have been increased by his ten-month imprisonment in his own trunk." (GoF 720)
"He was an Auror, one of the best-"
Moody is the first Auror we meet, and as such to an extent colors our perception of every other Auror we encounter. The Aurors themselves, a fascinating cross between police and government agents, are compelling in and of themselves, and Alastor Moody is perhaps the most compelling one of their number.
Perhaps because he is the first Auror to appear, he seems to be still, despite the streak of paranoia for which he is quite often ridiculed, the model of what it is to be an Auror. Or perhaps it is the record of his career which makes him seem the epitome of an Auror.
He is a true veteran, more so than even many of the surviving members of the original Order of the Phoenix, and he has the scars to prove it. Moody is clearly a survivor, a man who has seen and done a great deal, a man who has been dealt many a bad hand by fate, and has seemed to take these things as challenges. He does not give the sense of one who has given up- like his good friend Dumbledore, Moody is still going strong, still fighting.
In a way Moody is a very ascetic warrior. He's known first and foremost as a legendary, infamous wizard, known for his capture of dangerous evildoers. It is probably not an exaggeration that "half the cells in Azkaban are full because of him" (GoF 161-162). Three things are often mentioned when Moody turns up- his career as an Auror, the scars he received in that career, and the paranoia inspired by it. Moody is clearly a fighter, a good one, and it would seem, a brave one. He volunteers for numerous dangerous missions for the Order of the Phoenix, including leading the advance guard sent to retrieve Harry from Privet Drive, Harry's guard to King's Cross station, and the rescue team sent to the Department of Mysteries at the Ministry of Magic.
Though it is never mentioned, I believe Moody attended Hogwarts, where he was sorted into Gryffindor.
So much about Moody is hidden rather than shown, at the very most only hinted at, that I have had to make a number of suppositions and inferences from subtext I believe I have seen, or others have pointed out and which would seem to track with my personal interpretations.
Though Moody is shown to have been present in the Pensieve scenes Harry views involving trials just after Voldemort was defeated, no mention is made of him at the trial for the Death Eaters who are accused of having used the Cruciatus Curse upon Neville Longbottom's parents, Frank and Alice. The Longbottoms were Aurors, and quite popular by all accounts. It seems likely Moody knew them, and given their membership in the Order of the Phoenix (OotP 173) they were probably friends.
I believe the fate of his friends, and that of the majority of the original Order of the Phoenix, that has kept him at such a distance from most people. Moody has few friends even amongst his fellow Aurors, if any.
Moody seems to have at least one friend still living, however, in Albus Dumbledore. Given how often this friendship is mentioned, I believe it to be a fairly close one. Moody does, however, disagree with his friend on at least one subject, that of the dementors of Azkaban. Dumbledore has a great dislike for them, but Moody seems to believe them just punishment for Death Eaters such as Karkaroff. "Let's hear his information, I say, and throw him straight back to the dementors." Dumbledore expresses his dissent with this point of view. "But for filth like this," is Moody's reply, implying that while Dumbledore may (or may not) have a point about the dementors, he feels Karkaroff and his fellows deserve such a fate. (GoF 588)
In the battle at the Department of Mysteries, we finally see Moody in action- sort of. Though he arrives with several other members of the Order- Sirius, Lupin, Nymphadora Tonks, and Kingsley Shacklebolt- Moody is, perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, the one Harry notices least in the fight with the Death Eaters, and thus the one we the readers hear least about.
There is no mention of him from the time of his arrival to the moment when Harry stumbles over Moody's magical eye. "Then Harry's foot made contact with something round and hard and he slipped- for a moment he thought he had dropped the prophecy, then saw Moody's magic eye spinning away across the floor." (OotP 802)
We have to infer what happened to Moody from this line: "Its owner was lying on his side, bleeding from the head, and his attacker was now bearing down upon Harry and Neville: Dolohov, his long pale face twisted with glee." (OotP 802) Moody should be in his element in this fight, and it is a shame that the point of view of the book is so very focused on Harry that we miss the details that might have otherwise been shown to us here.
As we do not see how Moody was knocked out, nor do we see him regain consciousness. We are told that he does, however. "Mad Eye Moody had crawled across the room to where Tonks lay and was attempting to revive her." (OotP 808) As strange a place as this is to leave him, this is the last we see of Moody in the Department of Mysteries- indeed, the last we see of him in OotP until the final pages of the final chapter.
It is Moody who, along with Arthur Weasley, takes the lead in confronting Harry's aunt and uncle when they arrive to pick Harry up from the train station. The members of the Order must be well aware that Sirius had been the only real leverage Harry had against the Dursleys, and it is Moody, along with Mr. Weasley, who steps in to fill this role. Moody explains things to Vernon Dursley: "If we get any hint that Potter's been mistreated in any way, you'll have us to answer to." (OotP 869)
The Invisible Man
Moody has a continued association with invisibility and things hidden throughout both books in which he appears. In Goblet of Fire, the real Moody is hidden while Crouch Jr. takes his place, a fact not recognized by any of the other characters at Hogwarts until the end of the book. Then we have the magical eye, which we are told can see through most anything, including Invisibility Cloaks, and an office full of tools for detecting concealment, Sneakscopes and Secrecy Sensors, Dark detectors and a Foe-glass.
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, when the Advance Guard comes to Privet Drive, it is Moody who casts the Disillusionment charm to disguise Harry for his trip to London and the headquarters of the Order. "Harry looked down at his body, or rather, what had been his body, for it didn't look anything like his anymore. It was not invisible; it had simply taken on the exact color and texture of the kitchen unit behind him. He seemed to have become a human chameleon." (OotP 54)
Moody has apparently had some difficulty with his magical eye; "'We're not discussing anything here, it's too dangerous,' said Moody, turning his normal eye on Harry; his magical eye remained pointing up at the ceiling. 'Damn it', he added angrily, putting a hand up to the magical eye, 'it keeps sticking, ever since that scum wore it-'" (GoF 50) It's possible that when Crouch wore the eye, he damaged or corrupted it somehow.
Throughout OotP, Moody is mentioned more in absentia than in person, mostly spoken of as having loaned his Invisibility Cloak to various members of the Order on guard duty at the Department of Mysteries. On the surface it seems straightforward enough; the cloak is an important tool for the Order's mission, and it happens to belong to Moody. But J.K. Rowling mentions so very often that the cloak is his, I've come to associate the two in my mind, Moody and the Invisibility Cloak. I have to wonder if this wasn't intentional.
The members of the Order of the Phoenix often turn to Moody for assistance in matters relating to the Dark Arts. During the cleaning of 12 Grimmauld Place, something is heard to be rattling inside a writing desk, which may or may not be a boggart, and Mrs. Weasley suggests to Sirius that they ask Moody to take a look at it before they open the desk. Sirius examines the desk himself and echoes Molly Weasley's suggestion that Moody be asked to examine it. There is some concern that what is inside the desk may be more dangerous than a boggart.
Upon his next visit to Grimmauld Place, Moody doesn't seem bothered by Molly's request, though she makes it as soon as he's arrived, before he has even finished taking off his cloak. (OotP 168-169) Given the numerous dangerous things that have turned up in the housecleaning, Molly's urgency in making this request may be understandable. The creature, however, is contained within the desk, which it does not seem to be able to escape from on its own, and the timing of her question seems a bit rude.
Mrs. Weasley attempts to deal with the creature inside the desk, which Moody has confirmed is indeed a boggart. She has some trouble with it, as the boggart becomes in turn the dead bodies of each member of her family, and Lupin, Sirius, and Moody arrive upstairs to help her. Both Sirius and Lupin speak; Lupin reassuring her that her children would be taken care of if anything were to happen to her and Mr. Weasley, and Sirius expressing his belief that Percy will come to his senses. Moody, however, doesn't speak, though Harry seems to believe Moody is watching him. It seems almost as if J.K. Rowling had forgotten Moody was in the room at all.
It is possible Rowling is demonstrating Moody's skill at fading into the background by having him seem to disappear this way in certain scenes. I certainly believe she is hinting at something here, because this scene isn't the only one where something like this happens.
On Christmas Day, when Harry, Hermione, and the Weasleys go to visit Mr. Weasley at St. Mungo's, both Moody and Lupin are mentioned as accompanying them. Lupin quite clearly does- he speaks to another patient in Mr. Weasley's ward who has been bitten by a werewolf. Moody, though, is not mentioned again in this context. Again the old Auror has become invisible.
When Harry and his friends lament the lack of practical Defense Against the Dark Arts lessons under Dolores Umbridge's regime, they discuss taking matters into their own hands. "We need a teacher, a proper one who can show us how to use the spells and correct us if we're going wrong," Hermione says. (OotP 325-326) Harry mentions Lupin, who is a former Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, and also a member of the Order whom they might be able to get in touch with. Hermione eventually explains that when she spoke of a teacher, she meant Harry, not Lupin.
But Remus Lupin is not the only former Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher Harry and his friends know. Though, as he says, "I don't know so much about 'Professor', never got round to much teaching, did I?" (OotP 46) Moody was appointed to the post by Dumbledore. He is considered expert enough on the subject to have been asked to teach it officially. Given his obsession with practical defense, it's possible Moody might have been willing to help Harry and his friends learn the things Umbridge refused to teach them. Certainly he would have agreed with Harry that with Voldemort's return, practical defensive skills were important.
"This is Alastor Moody, Harry."
It isn't until OotP that we meet the true Moody. He was only glimpsed at the end of GoF, and clearly not at his best- once lying in the hospital wing, and again seen at the staff table. However, in Order of the Phoenix, Moody, in his way, shines.
At first glance he is little different from the man Harry and his friends believe they met at the start of their fourth year at Hogwarts, but it is obvious he has changed. Some might attribute these differences of character to the fact that we are seeing the real Moody for the first time. However, I think that, again, Crouch Jr. would not have been able to fool anyone for as long as he did if he had not played his part very well. I think, then, that what we are seeing in OotP is the development of Moody's character following his experiences of the previous year.
OotP begins a month or so into Harry's summer break- Moody has been out of his trunk for a bit longer than this. He has very clearly been through a lot in the last year alone, and I am amazed that he has bounced back as well as he has. Amazed, but in a way not very surprised, because I view Moody as a survivor. He would have to be.
Overall I think Moody is a lonely person, and probably only more so after the events of GoF. His paranoia isolates him, because he does not trust many people, excepting perhaps a few old friends or colleagues, perhaps certain members of the Order of the Phoenix. He clearly lives alone, else Voldemort's plan for Crouch Jr. to capture and impersonate Moody would never have worked. He is most likely unmarried, has no children that we are aware of, and like most of the adults in Harry's world, is never mentioned to have any other family, though it is possible this does not mean very much. It is also doubtful, given his history and his quite probable distrust of most people, that he has a lover of any sort.
However, I also believe that if such a relationship did exist in Moody's life, or ever had, it would have to be a very deep and meaningful one. If he ever found an individual whom he could let his guard down with, that relationship would have a very firm foundation. Moody does not trust easily, but once his trust is given, I believe that is more or less the end of it so far as he is concerned.
Moody seems to me to be a very private person, and if he were involved in a relationship of any sort, Harry, our narrator, would probably be the very last to know it. I am certain that Moody guards very closely any and all details of his private life
"Says he heard an intruder in his yard. Says he was creeping towards the house, but was ambushed by his dustbins." Or, Moody in the Muggle World?
Like many wizards, Moody lives alongside Muggles. When the "false alarm" at his home is reported near the beginning of GoF, Amos Diggory tells Arthur Weasley that Moody's Muggle neighbors heard noises and called the police. (GoF 203) While Moody seems fairly adept at hiding one of his most conspicuous feature, his magical eye, from Muggles, it is interesting that he would choose to live alongside them, with neighbors close enough to hear noises in his yard and concerned enough about what they heard to call the police.
Perhaps Moody feels himself safer amongst Muggles than wizards. Many if not all of his enemies are witches and wizards, after all. One would think, though, that he would be paranoid about his Muggle neighbors discovering his magical nature, his identity as a wizard, but perhaps this is preferable to the risk of attack from Wizarding neighbors.
It strikes me, however, that living alone surrounded by Muggles must be a very lonely existence for someone like Moody. Even if he were inclined to, it is unlikely he would ever be able to be himself with the Muggles around him. He is of a different world, one they can have no knowledge of, and probably very little understanding of even if they knew it existed.
A Final Word On The Strange Attractiveness of Paranoid Aurors
There is clearly more to Moody than meets the eye, and much more to his story than what we have been told so far. What we have seen, however, demonstrates that he is a many-layered, multifaceted character. I look forward to watching the story of this unique man unfold. Alastor Moody will continue to intrigue me as a character becuase of his flaws, both physical and personal.