First: this is so funny. (Not a spoiler.)
What a ride. I finished the last Harry Potter book in approximately 7 hours (not counting interruptions from small people and so forth). I picked it up at 1 am (I was already out for a scrapbooking crop), read for about two hours, then read more later that day (while sitting in the apartment’s laundry room, for example) till I was done. (I didn’t tell you that my husband had already read it. He wanted to see if the version floating around online was real or not, but then of course he was hooked. I told him: I understand you can’t stop NOW, but why did you start?? Of course, that meant he was able to wrangle the children while I read, so it all worked out for the best, perhaps. And never fear, we still bought two copies as we had planned, to complete each of our sets.)
I have some more analytical type things to say later, but for now I’m just going to talk a bit about my reactions, some things I jotted down soon after I finished. And, yes, there will be spoilers.
Wow. I am still so affected by it all, a little dazed. I just can’t believe how many theories were right. Harry was sort-of a Horcrux. Snape was good. Dumbledore dying WAS the plan. (Course, the cursed hand imminent-death thing does make all the difference.) I thought she made it work all just fine. I’m so relieved to have been wrong about Snape (I KNEW there was going to be more to it all, I was just apparently too caught up still in Dumbledore’s death and Harry’s point of view), so happy, yet heart-broken at the same time. Ah, the redemption I was craving.
In fact, I was moved to tears several times (also exclamations aloud, and laughter, of course). Brief tears, but tears all the same. Like page 215, after Harry tells off Lupin, then says, “Parents shouldn’t abandon their kids unless — unless they’ve got to.” When Ron saves Harry and destroys the locket (especially the bit about “I’ve been trying to tell you for years” — so funny). When Percy finally comes back, and then Fred dies. When Harry’s talking to his parents’ ghosts (or whatever they are). The whole Prince’s Tale chapter, so sad and touching, especially the Patronus. (I can’t help but wish for more Snape — to do the reveal, she had to keep him so out of the picture most of the time….)
But y’know what really killed me? In the epilogue, when Harry kneels down to talk to his son and calls him by his full name — Albus Severus. I just burst into tears, felt like my heart was broken. The whole book was rather like that — wrenching. Not in a bad way. (Okay, now I’m going to say something really dorky, and I’ll feel dumb, but — it gives me hope somehow. Been having some dark days lately, and yet somehow the image of Harry marching into the woods, the thought of how much relief Snape must have felt seeing Harry emerge from the trap door, even Neville (yay Neville!) — it’s all somehow hopeful. And helps a little. Even though, yes, I am well aware it is fictional.)
Definitely need to do some rereading. But in the meantime…. thanks, Jo.