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The Advance Guard

- Chapter 3

"Better wizards than you have lost buttocks, you know!"
-- Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody (OP3)

OP3: The Advance Guard

Harry is rescued from number four Privet Drive, Remus Lupin and Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody are reintroduced, and Harry meets Nymphadora Tonks for the first time.

Calendar and Dates

The chapter picks up later on the same night as the previous chapter, so it begins on 2 August (see OP1 for why the day of the week is given as a Monday). Since the Advance Guard arrives on the fourth night after that, their arrival occurred on 6 August. The bulk of the action of the chapter takes place after their arrival, and the chapter ends that same night.c

Interesting facts and notes

Our introduction to the members of the Order of the Phoenix.

On the fourth night after Hedwig's departure...

Since Hedwig left on the same night as the Dementor attack, and since the disciplinary hearing gives the date of that attack as 2 August, the night of the Advance Guard's arrival at Number Four is 6 August.

Remus Lupin stood nearest to him. Though still quite young, Lupin looked tired and rather ill...

This is apparently an effect of Lupin's lycanthropy, since it is consistent with descriptions of him throughout Harry's third year.

...his robes were patched and shabbier than ever.

As Sirius Black will tell Harry about a month from now, Dolores Umbridge drafted some anti-werewolf legislation around the time that Remus Lupin lost his teaching post at Hogwarts that made it almost impossible for Lupin to get another job (OP14).

She looked the youngest there; she had a pale heart-shaped face, dark twinkling eyes, and short spiky hair that was a violent shade of violet. "Wotcher, Harry!"

In fact, Tonks may not be many years older than Harry, as she says about her Auror training that "I only qualified a year ago".

...a bald black wizard standing furthest back - he had a deep slow voice and wore a single gold hoop in his ear - "he looks exactly like James."

From this remark, Kingsley Shacklebolt may have known James Potter personally, especially as they were both members of the Order of the Phoenix.

"Except the eyes," said a wheezy-voiced, silver-haired wizard at the back. "Lily's eyes."

From this remark, Elphias Doge may have known both James and Lily Potter - again, they are all members of the Order. We find out later that he had started school in the same year as Albus Dumbledore (DH2).

"Unless anyone brought any Veritaserum?"

Why didn't Moody think of this before he left Grimmauld Place? What happened to "Constant Vigilance"?

"Harry, what form does your Patronus take?"

A number of people have observed that this was an odd choice of "something only the real Potter would know," because he cast the Patronus Charm in front of the whole school during Gryffindor's second Quidditch match of his third year (PA13). However, Albus Dumbledore did the same thing during the first match of that school year, and a few hours later even Hermione couldn't describe Dumbledore's Patronus as more than "silver stuff" (PA9).

...stowing his wand in the back pocket of his jeans as he came.
"Don't put your wand there, boy!" roared Moody. "What if it ignited? Better wizards than you have lost buttocks, you know!"

In essence, then, the rule seems to be to treat a wand as though it were a loaded firearm.

"Who d'you know who's lost a buttock?"

It may be worth mentioning that Mad-Eye Moody himself is missing a leg.

"Elementary wand-safety, nobody bothers about it anymore."

The real Moody might be quite a good teacher if he typically focuses on the basics like this.

"Lucky, ha!" said the violet-haired woman. "It was me who lured them out of the way. Set a letter by Muggle post telling them they'd been short-listed for the All-England Best-Kept Suburban Lawn Competition. They're heading off to the prize-giving right now...or they think they are."

Tonks is a remarkably shrewd judge of character to have thought up a cover story like this, as well as unusually familiar with Muggles. Presumably her father gets along much better with his Muggle family than Harry does with his.

...motioning Harry towards the kitchen; the little knot of wizards followed, all still eyeing Harry curiously.

The other wizards on the Advance Guard are Hestia Jones, Emmeline Vance, Sturgis Podmore and Dedalus Diggle. They had all volunteered to come and fetch Harry.

Exceptional character moments

Mad-Eye Moody's it's-not-paranoia-if-they-really-are-out-to-get-you precautions about verifying Harry's identity.

Mad-Eye Moody's remarks on elementary wand-safety. It's a pity he'd had about enough of Hogwarts after the previous year, and didn't feel like taking the Defence Against the Dark Arts post for real this year.

Memorable lines

"Take these straight to Sirius, Ron and Hermione and don't come back here without good long replies. Keep pecking them till they've written decent-length answers if you've got to. Understand?"

"Don't put your wand there, boy!" roared Moody. "What if it ignited? Better wizards than you have lost buttocks, you know!"
"Who d'you know who's lost a buttock?" the violet-haired woman asked Mad-Eye interestedly.

Harry had a fleeting vision of Uncle Vernon’s face when he realised there was no All-England Best Kept Suburban Lawn Competition.

"A surprising number of people volunteered to come and get you...."

And with a nasty squelching sound much like a plunger being pulled from a sink, he popped out his eye.
"Mad-Eye, you do know that's disgusting, don't you?" said Tonks conversationally.

"And I saw that," he added irritably, as the woman rolled her eyes towards the ceiling.

Words and phrases

Characters Introduced

OP 3 — The Advance Guard
Abbreviation OP3: The Advance Guard
Canonicity Primary Canon


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The Harry Potter Canon