OK. I know a lot of you haven't finished the final Harry Potter yet. I'm so sorry.
However, I have and I want to post some thoughts. I'll leave plenty of spoiler space for my lovely Google Reader readers...
I loved it. Loved it. I though JKR did an almost completely brilliant job with most of it. I loved that we got to see the Harry/Hermione/Ron trio for most of the book. I loved the action. I loved that people died. I didn't love that people died. I loved that actions had consequences and there was real evil out there.
What didn't I love? I didn't love the never-ending camping trip. That got pretty tiresome. I didn't love chasing clues all over the country seemingly only to get to the end of the year, as JKR likes to structure her books. I didn't like that breaking into the Ministry and into Gringotts felt very similar. I didn't like that we really never got an explanation about how the Sword of Gryffindor came out of the Sorting Hat. Again. I wonder what Griphook thought of that.
Ok, so specifics.
I loved how JKR basically deconstructed Dumbledore for the whole series. He started off as this almost perfect character, but by the end, we know that he was someone who had dabbled in the Dark Arts, and had desparately wanted to be famous. He also was arrogant to the point of putting others in life threatening danger. And yet, he was right and Harry loved him.
Snape. I loved how Snape was doing good things, but all for the wrong reasons. He was doing it out of guilt and if it hadn't been for Lilly, he would have unapologetically been a Death Eater. I loved that every time he looked at Harry, he saw the eyes of the woman he loved in the face of the man he hated. That part was simply, simply brilliant JKR's part. I did love how showing his memories cleared everything up and how that was written, particularly understanding that HE was the nasty boy Petunia had talked about in Order of the Phoenix.
I simply adored the Battle of Hogwarts and I really think it could be its own movie. All the people joining back up: Dumbledore's Army, the Order, the old Quidditch players. The whole final third of the book was just so tightly written and done so very well. I can't wait to read that part again.
Loved that Neville became just the ultimate Hogwarts Bad Ass. Killing Nagini and organizing the resistance. And his Gran taking out some Death Eaters. AND MOLLY WEASLEY! Kickin' it and taking names!
I loved how Kreacher really did come around because of being treated kindly, and even respecting Hermione.
Speaking of House Elves, I was really surprised that the death that actually brought tears to my eyes was Dobby's. Dobby! The Jar-Jar of Harry Potter! He had been so brave and so resourceful that I simply loved how he was brought into the story, and so shocked that he died in the way that he did.
I even loved the epilogue, 1) for its blatant cheesiness, and 2) that it threw back into the face of all the fans that were just begging for a Harry and Hermione hookup: the Harmonians (yes, that's what they call themselves).
I really really loved it and I think it's my favorite book right now. I need to read it again and a smidge closer this time. And then, next year probably, do a full seven book reread. That's going to be fun.