After the first book I wondered what all the fuss was about but was sufficiently interested to carry on. After the third I went straight out and bought book number four, The Goblet of Fire, and have been hooked ever since. Why? is difficult to say, I think JKR just writes a stonking good story which is accessible to *all*. And some people don't like that do they? It's like they feel books should only be for intellectuals and not for the masses. One comment I read suggested that adults should be ashamed to be seen reading what were after all *children's* books. I can't get my head round that kind of arrogance, talk about closed-minded. Anyway, enough meanderings - The Deathly Hallows. I read it over the weekend but mostly on Monday, finishing at 1.15am. I won't say I stayed up because I am, more often than not, awake at that time anyway, I was just determined to finish it that night! A few thoughts under the cut, nothing too deep and meaningful - you can find those elsewhere on the net I'm sure!
The story itself is pretty straightforward. Following the last book Dumbledore is dead and it falls to Harry, helped by Ron and Hermione, to be the one to find the horcruxes and defeat Voldemort. Except that all is not straightforward of course. Harry has grown up and realised that things are never black and white and thus people are not all good or all bad. Dumbledore in particular has many secrets which are slowly revealed via Rita Skeeter's horrible book. The first half or even two thirds of the book are quite slow but necessary I feel to illustrate the insidious effect Voldemort's *reign* is having on the population as a whole. The book suddenly takes off when Harry returns to Hogwarts and then all hell is let loose. And yes, people die.
I loved it. During the first half of the book I did actually wonder if JKR had been an Enid Blyton fan in her childhood. There was quite a lot of camping in the woods. *g* I became a huge Hermione fan during those pages, though I've always liked her a lot. I also felt like kicking Ron but then that's not a new sensation for me. He's not my favourite character and one of the things that's inexplicable to me is what Hermione sees in him. But then that's real life isn't it? How many couples do you know where you haven't a clue what 'she' sees in 'him'... or vice versa?
What else? Oh yes, the deaths. I knew they were coming, partly because it was obvious and partly spoilers on LJ. Both lots turned out to be true though it didn't spoil the book for me. So I knew Snape was going to die but had guessed JKR might do that anyway. I was strangely not upset by it too, because somehow it felt *right*. And it was all for love of Lily... which I thought was perfect. I knew too that Burbage and Hedwig were for the off but all the rest were surprises. Dobby affected me the most. I cried as Harry buried him, I really did. Imo, this is the death chapter JKR cried over too. It was devastating. It was also a real shock when Fred went. I was *not* expecting that, and an even worse shock when both Lupin and Tonks were killed. JKR described the book on Jonathan Ross's show as a bloodbath and she wasn't exaggerating. It was.
People I cheered for in the book... Neville, Luna (the girl who plays her in the movie of OoP is brilliant), Hermione, McGonagall, Trelawney chucking things off the balcony at death eaters, Molly - "NOT my daughter!", Hermione - did I mention her? - Bill with his comments about Griphook the goblin, even Peter Pettigrew with that one moment of regret. And I never thought I'd hear myself say it, but The Malfoys. Rotten to the core really but their love for their son over-rode even their allegiance to Voldemort. I found that very touching.
Do I have complaints? Nothing serious, I was even quite content with the epilogue. I would maybe have liked to know what Harry and the others were doing now. I also would have liked an 'after the war' chapter - how people coped, the funerals, how Harry adjusted - did he redo his final year? But those are minor complaints. Overall, I thought it was fantastic and plan to read it and The Halfblood Prince again sometime soon.