I loved that she started off right away with some very well-done action and suspense. As soon as she killed Hedwig, I knew it was going to get ugly. That was like a perfect warning shot across the bow. "See? I am not afraid to kill the bird. Grab your Kleenex, because Bad Shit is going to go down."
The scene at the Burrow when Harry and Hagrid and Molly are waiting for the rest of the decoys to get back was simply harrowing and very well done. RIP Mad-Eye, you will be sorely missed.
As soon as I stopped squeeing over Tonks being pregnant, I started to get scared for Remus. And then when he asked Harry to be godfather, I knew he and Tonks were totally toast. WOE.
One of the things that surprised me the most was how broken up I got over Dobby's death. I mean, I don't even like Dobby, but it was perfectly handled--emotionally understated but powerful.
And I know a lot of people were pissed about the off-hand way Remus and Tonks' deaths were handled, but on further reflection I'm kind of glad it happened like that. Given that there is so much death in this book, and that it's all kind of sad to begin with because we know it's the last one and we're saying goodbye as we read, I sort of appreciate that the death she lingers over the most is Dobby, a character most of us aren't particularly attached to. If she'd given Remus and Tonks a big dramatic death scene I think I would have seriously lost my shit. I mean, they're basically the two characters I love the most and I was frankly upset enough without dwelling on it any more.
The Battle of Hogwarts is made of win. I loved that almost all my favorite characters got a chance to pull out a case of whoop-ass. Poor, poor Fred, though.
A random list of things that moved me:
- Dudley actually being kind of sweet to Harry
- Hermione's revelation about sending her parents away and erasing their memories of her. That is, I think, one of the saddest and most impressive sacrifices in the whole book, and the way Hermione kind of breezes over it makes my heart ache even more.
- The picture on Luna's bedroom ceiling with "Friends Friends Friends" written all over it, and when they realized she had been taken.
- The sign at Godric's Hollow with the handwritten messages of support for Harry
- Harry pulling out the Unforgivable Curse because Carrow *spat* at McGonagall
- Percy finally reconciling with the Weasleys
- Snape wanting to look into Harry's (Lily's) eyes as he died
- Narcissa protecting Harry in exchange for word of Draco
- Every single moment of Neville (which were too few for my taste)
And although I thought the epilogue was incredibly uninspired and pointless (and only there so Rowling could name everyone's kids before the fanfic writers got a whack at it), when Harry tells Albus that he's named for two Hogwart's headmasters I got all choked up. Because I am a total Snape fangirl. Yes, Albus Severus is an unfortunate name for a kid, but I was too busy sobbing to care.
But the last paragraph was totally lame. LAME.