I already said it would not take long before I would start doing things again. I do have to admit that it took me considerably longer to finish this Harry Potter book than any of its predecessors. The book is almost double the size of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban so it is not a surprise it would actually take me longer to get through.
The book itself has definitely improved compared to the first two books. The narrator no longer floats around Harry’s head. Instead, the reader gets a full insight into Harry’s thoughts and feelings. I found a review the other day and the writer claimed that book 4 and 5 are so much thicker due to Harry’s characterisation. During book 4 and 5, Harry would be in the middle of his puberty and therefore be more confused and have more thoughts than in any of the other books. I feel that this is part of the reason why book 4 and 5 contain significantly more pages. The other reason is that I feel Rowling simply had a clearer view of the plot and therefore could focus more on the characterisation.
The plot itself mainly follows the same timeline as the other books. There was not much of a surprise that Harry had to fight Voldemort in the end. Throughout the whole book, it is very obvious that Voldemort is regaining strength and will end up facing Harry. The only plot twist can be found in the character of Mad-eye Moody, who simply ends up not being Moody after all.
I think the book can be easily be used to study characterisation in year 8 or 9, depending on the maturity of your students. Most students will know the story of Harry Potter, but will not have studied the books in detail. Compared to the first three books, the fourth one really contains an obvious character development for Harry. Students can even discuss how the point of view contributes to that development, as the narrator no longer floats around Harry, but actually goes inside Harry’s mind and exploits his thoughts and feelings.