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I had always assumed that it was a struggle to capture Mad-Eye Moody, one of the most powerful and paranoid ex-Aurors in the history of the Ministry.

Following on from this answer it seems like Mad-Eye was overwhelmed quickly and quietly:

Wormtail and I did it. We had prepared the Polyjuice Potion beforehand. We journeyed to his house. Moody put up a struggle. There was a commotion.... I was ready to face Arthur Weasley when he arrived to sort out the Muggles who had heard a disturbance. I made the dustbins move around the yard.

To my knowledge, the dustbins moving were the only thing that alerted Arthur, or anyone else, to the commotion. Unless I'm misunderstanding, Wormtail and Crouch Jr incapacitated Moody without any noise, and then set off the bins... But this doesn't make sense.

What am I missing?

9

I believe you've actually answered your question in the question itself.

Wormtail and Crouch Jr did not capture Moody without any noise. You write:

We journeyed to his house. Moody put up a struggle. There was a commotion.... I was ready to face Arthur Weasley when he arrived to sort out the Muggles who had heard a disturbance.

This quite clearly indicates to me that the Muggles were indeed alerted by the noise and commotion of Wormtail and Crouch Jr overpowering Moody. Here's the full text in question, though:

‘Wormtail and I did it. We had 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. Took some of his hair and added it to the Potion. I drank it, I became Moody’s double. I took his leg and his eye. I was ready to face Arthur Weasley when he arrived to sort out the Muggles who had heard a disturbance. I made the dustbins move around the yard. I told Arthur Weasley I had heard intruders in my yard, who had set the dustbins off.

Goblet of Fire - page 598 - UK Hardcover - chapter 35, Veritaserum

The dustbins were a secondary disturbance and a distraction, as I read it. My interpretation of the passage would have Crouch Jr setting off the dustbins to cover up the disturbance caused by Moody's abduction, so that when Arthur Weasley (Misuse of Muggle Artifacts employee) came around, Arthur would chalk up the commotion to the dustbins and Moody's propensity for paranoia and CONSTANT VIGILANCE (!). Crouch Jr hoped Arthur would not investigate the matter thoroughly. Sidenote: it is actually Amos Diggory who later first questions the events of the night of Moody's capture.

I don't think you're missing anything, to be honest.

  • Thanks for clearing that up. I'd have though Moody would have put up more of a struggle though... – AncientSwordRage Apr 29 '12 at 10:37
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    @Pureferret - But Moody did put up a struggle: Moody put up a struggle. There was a commotion. We managed to subdue him just in time. It sounds like Wormtail and Crouch Jr were barely able to get him under control before Arthur Weasley et al arrived on scene. The details of the actual struggle are probably irrelevant to the overall picture, so JKR didn't write the scene out in full. That's my guess anyway. :) – Slytherincess Apr 29 '12 at 10:44
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    Fair Enough, I'd have put Moody to win in that fight though... – AncientSwordRage Apr 29 '12 at 10:47
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    @Pureferret Two (mad Death Eaters) on one (Retired and un-prepared wizard). Barty Crouch Jr was a very powerful wizard as well. – Möoz May 26 '14 at 21:45
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From what I could tell they must've had to know the layout of Moody's house to bypass any security alarms/booby traps since this is the best Ex Auror (Wizard Police) to date and doesn't leave any stone unturned. If they didn't then that is a big plot hole.

This is JK Rowling we are talking about. That's why fanfiction is made as many have noticed a LOT of plot holes like this question in her works.

  • 1
    I've removed the political rant from your answer. If you want to complain about liberals, this site isn't the place to do it. – Rand al'Thor Dec 19 '17 at 0:45

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