Reading: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Spoilers)

Well I didn't rush in and gobble down the whole thing as soon as I bought it - as many did - but I decided instead to re-read Harry Potter 6 (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) first to put it all into context.

This required a certain amount of faith that I'd be able to avoid the spoilers that would inevitably come up as more and more people made their way to the end and found out who would live and who would die. (something I wasn't able to do with the last episode of The Sopranos)

I think it helped to do this - I probably could have muddled (muggled?) my way through and all would have made sense but reading 6 & 7 back to back also helped to immerse me in that world for a little while longer.

Overall I was pretty happy with the final book - there was a fair bit of loose end tying to get through after 6 preceding books (not everything was neatly tidied up but JK Rowling did a nice job all in all) and this meant that there were an awful lot of flashbacks and trips to the pensieve. It got to the point where Rowling seemed to be straining her brain - "Ok, I've done the tell-all bio, the dream sequence, the friendly chat, umm, what else can I use to explain this part now?"

This is by far the darkest book of the series and the deaths of established characters keep coming, particularly at the end in the great final battle.

Parts I liked: (Select text to read) Harry's triumph, Dumbledore's back story, the happy ending epilogue (though from what I've read online, there are many who hated this part), the snippets of non-main-trio naughtiness at Hogwarts during Harry/Ron/Hermoine's absence, the final battle, the raids on the Ministry and Gringotts, the general darkness of the wizarding world falling under the Death Eaters' control, the opening escape from the Dursleys' and Harry's sacrifice.

Parts I was a bit meh about:(Select text to read) Snape's motivation being Harry's mum (laid on a bit thick), Kreacher's change of attitude, long middle patches where the trio had no idea what they were doing and were regularly nudged on by lucky clues and help, humanising the Malfoys (still thinking about this - it seems mainly that because they were a bit crap at being evil, even though they wanted to, they are ok), the lack of quidditch and the plot holes. (How did Neville end up with the sword of Griffindor?)

All in all a satisfying conclusion - 80%