Where to start, where to start?
I read it in five hours flat. I thought it was brilliant and more importantly, the only way it could really logically go.
Harry didn't have to soil his soul by killing Voldemort: themes of redemption and mercy and non-revenge were big in this book. Voldemort killed himself, basically.
Harry was the seventh Horcrux! We KNEW it!
But the body count! OMGWTF HEDWIG!!!! I cried more over Hedwig than I did over anybody else. Mad-Eye! Colin Creevey! Possibly Lavender Brown! DOBBY! FRED! REMUS! TONKS! SNAPE!!!
But she had to do it. What kind of war only claims the redshirts? Harry had to lose some people he cared about...though I would have preferred, since obviously a Weasley was for the chop, to see the much more expendable Charlie bite it. Even George. I liked Fred better...
And Remus I think had come to the end of his story. He didn't seem too happy about having a wife and kid, though perhaps "conflicted" is a better word. He wasn't used to having people around who cared, and I think he'd been too badly wounded by the werewolf thing. So okay.
But Tonks! That was just cruel. And orphaning their poor little turquoise-haired baby. I guess Ma Tonks, having lost her husband, daughter and son-in-law, will have to raise Baby Teddy. At least he's not a wolf cub...
And Dobby! I know lots of people thought he was the HP Jar Jar Binks, but I was very fond of him. Still, he went out in a blaze of glory. But what about Winky the little depressive alcoholic?
And Kreacher gets redeemed! That was very nice to see.
Interesting to see that D'dore wasn't the perfect person I for one believed he was. Had a sort of Nazi Youth past, really. A mild one, and he got better..
And of course I KNEW Snape was Dumbledore's man through and through. And he wanted to die looking into Lily Evans's eyes...made me cry.
Oh, and Harry and the Walk of Death, with his parents and Sirius and Lupin. Made me weep buckets, and of course Harry and Dumbledore in heaven...just beautiful.
JKR got a bit too friendly in some spots with the Exposition Fairy, though I was glad to learn all that wandlore. But I did keep yelling at the pages "HEY!!! Life and death apocalyptic battle going on here! Get back to it thank you very much!"
Apparently JKR had gotten some flak for all her fat characters being evil or at least problematic (Umbridge, Slughorn, Dudders), so I was pleased to see she fixed at least some of them.
And we get to see religious ritual for the first time: Dobby's burial, Harry says "Thank God!", the church and Christmas Eve services, the churchyard with Wizarding families buried there with Muggle families. This pleased me VERY much. We've been aware that some students, judging by the names, were of other faiths (Patils, Hindu; Delacour, French Catholic; some Jewish and Muslim-sounding names; the English kids probably C of E), so it was nice to see that brought in overtly at last.
And Harry and Tom Riddle were indeed related. At least that's the clear implication: crazy old Marvolo Gaunt, Riddle's grandfather, claims to be descended from the Peverells, and D'dore, in "King's Cross", tells Harry that he, Harry, is the last living descendant of Ignotus Peverell (which is why he has the Cloak), born in Godric's Hollow just as Ignotus was.
Well, last descendant until young James, Albus Severus and Lily come along.
Oh, goodness, sooooooo much...