It's done. I haven't weeded my flower bed in months, but Saturday morning I attacked it with a new fever at 10:30am. Not because I cared a whole lot about the weeds, but because I knew I wouldn't hear the mail carrier from inside, and I had to distract myself with some mundane outside task while waiting on the very last ever Harry Potter book to arrive at my house. And it did. And I just finished it about half an hour ago. It took longer than expected due to some new married-life type interruptions, but in all honesty, even that was good. I usually barrel through them so fast that by the time I'm done I can't remember half the details. Having to stop for several hours at a time forced me to slow down and contemplate where I was in the story, what had happened in the most recent chunk I'd read, and where I thought the story was going. It was good to be forced to take breaks, strange as that sounds.
Now, how was it? Well, I'll try not to give out too many spoilers, just in case somebody out there is in a cave with really good internet access. Melanie asked me if I loved it. I told her I thought "love" was a strong word. It was satisfying. It was well finished. It broke my heart at times, but didn't make me laugh as much as any of the other six. But I suppose it wasn't supposed to. I cried at the first (important) death [the one where the motorcycle side car was dislodged and the passenger died] in the first chapter. It helped to harden me to the rest of it, though. I was numb by the time the last 3 good guys were reported dead. It certainly started with a blast, and ended [the main story anyway] with one.
The main reason I fell short of "loving" it was the fact that I have a hard time loving any 759 page book. Inevitably, it's going to drag in some places. In this installment, it was the nomads. Seriously, I kept waiting for somebody to call Harry "Frodo" by mistake and expected them to apparate into Mordor. But, in it's defense, that part did end abruptly and they tried to keep the action going throughout.
One of my interruptions today came at a crucial point, right as Harry and the gang were in the tunnel underneath the Shrieking Shack listening to *&*&*&* tell so and so about the wand and that he was about to blah blah blah. That was a very important scene, and right before the action happened there was a knock on my door and it was about 4 hours before I could sneak a peak at the next few pages, and a couple of hours after that before I could settle back in to get the full story afterwards. Talk about suspense, I've been waiting 7 books for that explanation! But as I said, the suspense was good for me, made the book that much more enjoyable.
The biggest accomplishment, I think, was the filling out of so many characters, although it was a bit much to take in all in one book. I had already suspected where they were going with Snape, although that memory was one of my favorite parts, and wasn't really shocked at the secrets revealed about Dumbledore. The best character background was Kreatcher. That one made me think, then made me laugh afterwards. Well done. Some of the primary Death Eaters surprised me as well, although I would like to know more about what happened with Draco immediately following the last battle, since he was used as a bit of a tie in at the end.
Finally, the last chapter. I didn't like it. Yes, it's a nice bow on the box, but it was way to fluffy for such a serious book. It was like jumping back to book one or two and felt out of place. If it had been given in a different view it might have sat better, but I was too numb for that by the time I got there. It didn't fit.
Now for the one thing I don't get - the crying baby-thing a the railway station near the end. What was that all about ? Had a few thoughts on it but none of them really tied in. Me and my English degree are baffled. I'm sure it's symbolic of something, but the brain is too fuzzy to figure it out! Perhaps tomorrow it will make more sense, after I've slept on it. And maybe I can post 5 Things I really really liked in the book. I could do it now, but I'm sure it wouldn't make very much sense!