I'm finally done with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
I was reading it while waiting for a movie (a low-key B-grade New Zealand film about blood-thirsty were-sheep. It wasn't as funny as I thought it might be.) It was embarrassing, as close to the last 100 pages or so, I started tearing in public.
[UPDATE] To prevent spoilers, my brief thoughts on The Deathly Hallows are below in INVISI-TEXT. (To read, just left-click, hold, and move your cursor over the blank space below.)
My favourite characters from the books are Luna Lovegood and Severus Snape. Luna held up pretty well, ending up as one of the three underground student leaders against Voldemort.
Neville Longbottom also has his day, which is beautiful. There is something about the heroics of the underdog that I love. The passage where Neville's Granny went on the run, not before she told him how proud she was of her grandson, telling him to keep up the fight against Voldemort ― I got a little emotional and teary.
But it's Snape's demise that saddens me. My suspicions that Snape was in love with Lily Potter was confirmed ― it all fits, and it's a bit of a downer that J.K. Rowling is a little predictable here.
I wish more could have been made of his heroism. It just seems with all the deaths, Snape's sacrifice was pushed to the side-line. His courage ― and how Dumbledore wondered if they sorted too quickly; with Snape's courage he should have been a Gryffindor instead ― can we do more with it? Why couldn't we have given him a grand hero's funeral? Or at least show me a portrait of Snape in the Hogwarts Headmaster's Office. That would have been fun. My Snape is dead.
It's a nice touch to kill off Hedwig and Dobby. People loved Hedwig and Dobby. Well, at least I do. It was nice because Dobby's death showed how much Harry actually cared for Dobby, and it also allowed Dobby to show his mettle. Hedwig, okay, she's collateral damage. The "reformation" of Kreacher was also a good touch. Perhaps it's Rowling's own (obvious but good-hearted) way of reminding us to be more compassionate to the down-trodden.
When Order of the Phoenix (the book) first came out, near the end, Dumbledore admits his love for Harry might have caused him some slips in judgement. A friend and I discussed this, and she was a little unhappy with this crack in Dumbledore's armour. But I disagreed with her then. I thought the fact that Dumbledore was capable of human weakness, because of love, is a good thing. It made him more human, I thought.
I guess my friend did not like her heroes quite so human. Perhaps that is why she was bothered by it.
But in The Deathly Hallows, we see a Dumbledore who is more complicated than he was in the previous books. He is a master manipulator here, ambitious, proud, ruthlesss ― especially the way he uses Snape's guilt and love for Lily Potter. Like Gandalf when he rejects the One Ring, Dumbledore recognises that he cannot be trusted with too much power, because he recognises the ambition within himself.
I find the more morally ambiguous Dumbledore a little disturbing. Perhaps now the table has been turned on me, and I did not like my heroes with their armour so tarnished. Even in books, our heroes are often less perfect than we would like them to be.
It's a great finale, especially the way Rowling manages to retrieve so many characters and minor details from the other 6 books and tie to the plot in a more significant manner. But the wand-lore bit was stretching it too much, I thought. Too much is made out of the "winning" of the wands, just to justify the plot necessity of Harry winning the Elder Wand.
No more Harry Potter, althought we will still have the films. No matter how much I enjoyed the books, I'm glad it's over. Please, no sequels. It ended well. Let it be.