In Book 4, it's implied that Moody has been in retirement for some time. In Book 5, it's stated that Tonks only qualified to be an Auror a year ago. Even allowing for the three years that Auror training takes, it doesn't seem like there's too much room for overlap there.

Yet in Book 7, it's stated that Tonks had been "close to Mad-Eye, Harry knew, his favorite and his protégé at the Ministry of Magic." So how does that work out? In particular, when exactly did Moody retire?

  • Order of the Phoenix? I mean it's not that clear from Harry's perspective what they are doing, but we can assume that they are much more active behind the scene. And that might be the reason why they got that close. Commented May 4, 2016 at 5:19
  • @bilbo_pingouin In Deathly Hallows it specifically said "at the Ministry of Magic," though... Commented May 4, 2016 at 5:35
  • I never had the impression that all members of the OotP were secrets. Yes their activity was, and some probably, but characters like Tonks or Moody were clearly part of it, at least from their friendships and relationships. Commented May 4, 2016 at 5:41
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    @BolteAltamont I would say it's at least implied somewhat that he didn't retire that early. In the memory of Karkaroff’s trial (which was after Voldemort’s downfall and during the cleanup), he hasn't got his glass eye yet, so he must have stayed on after that. The glass eye seems to be a well-enough-known feature on him that he likely continued to work as an Auror with it for some time. Charlie Weasley says he met him as an Auror at the Ministry once when his dad brought him to work, but that could be any time. Bill seems to know of him the best, but that's only circumstantial too. Commented May 4, 2016 at 6:22
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    @JanusBahsJacquet To be fair, Sirius could have found out about Moody retiring through an edition of the Daily Prophet. While it isn't front page news, I imagine being locked up in a prison cell is boring enough to make an inmate read any newspaper he/she finds from cover to cover. And we know Sirius does receive/borrow a copy of the Prophet every now and then (that's how he realized Pettigrew was alive). It's possible an article in one of those editions either mentioned Moody's retirement or mentions Moody in passing as an ex-Auror. Commented May 4, 2016 at 7:08

1 Answer 1


They probably weren't Aurors together

Tonks does say that she only qualified to be an Auror a year ago.

'Yeah,' said Tonks, looking proud. 'Kingsley is as well, he's a bit higher up than me, though. I only qualified a year ago. Nearly failed on Stealth and Tracking. I'm dead clumsy, did you hear me break that plate when we arrived downstairs?'

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

A year relative to what?

This when the Order of the Phoenix picks Harry up to take him to Grimmauld Place. This is probably on the 5th of August:

Otherwise, the Dursleys kept well clear of his bedroom. Harry couldn't see the point of forcing his company on them; another row would achieve nothing except perhaps make him so angry he'd perform more illegal magic. So it went on for three whole days.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix


That he did knowingly, deliberately and in full awareness of the illegality of his actions, having received a previous written warning from the Ministry of Magic on a similar charge, produce a Patronus Charm in a Muggle-inhabited area, in the presence of a Muggle, on the second of August at twenty-three minutes past nine, which constitutes an offence under Paragraph C of the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery, 1875, and also under Section 13 of the International Confederation of Warlocks' Statute of Secrecy.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

"A year ago" probably means roughly a year ago. If the Ministry Auror training program operates on approximately the same schedule as Hogwarts, Tonks probably qualified in June, or about 14 months prior. Regardless, Moody must have been retired by September 1 of the previous year, when the train left for Hogwarts, meaning that their tenure at the Auror office could only have overlapped by about two months, and that assumes that Tonks graduated somewhat over a year previously.

Moody probably mentored Tonks during her training

Two months seems insufficient for someone to be established as another's "protégé."

However, the period of Auror training is three years, meaning Moody could have mentored Tonks for nearly that period before retiring. Three years is more than enough time for her to be his protégé, especially if her recognized her talents early on. Moody could easily have retired during the summer before Harry's fourth year; there is little information to suggest otherwise.

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