NO, REALLY, THIS IS YOUR LAST WARNING IF YOU HAVEN'T FINISHED READING IT
There are several plot points that lack conclusive resolution, and I feel very much betrayed by a specific aspect, even to the point of J.K. Rowling taunting us with it during the book. False hope is cruel, and the author gave us a lot of that with at least three characters.
- Umbridge: I'm sorry, but I wanted something more than her just getting knocked out at the Ministry. I can assume that Kingsley will clean house, but she deserves worse, and I found it very unsatisfying.
- The vial. We can theorize that Horace Slughorn used it to summon the spiders, but unless I missed a sentence or two, no idea, really, especially given that odd echo of Aragog with Aberforth. She clearly didn't forget about that plot point entirely, so what's the deal?
- I expect we're supposed to assume that Mad-Eye is dead with Harry burying the eye, but the fuss she made over nobody finding his body in the books engendered uncertainty.
- The stunted thing in the train station that's "beyond help." I guess we're meant to assume that it's a segment of Voldemort's soul since he passed out as well, but she never says per se.
- I am even more pissed off than I was before Book 7 about Dumbledore. I'm sorry, perhaps it's the combination of being an English major with being a huge Myers-Briggs J, but you do not throw in all that phoenix symbolism, even going so far as to name a bloody book as such, and then really kill off the character. There's red herrings, and then there's going way overboard to the point that breaking the rule doesn't make sense. One can argue that AD's immortality is his status as a teacher and little Albus and all that, but it's weak and we all know it. Frankly, this lessens her as a writer, in my opinion.
Permit me to be very clear: it's not so much that I mind Albus Dumbledore dying. It's natural for the torch to get passed from one generation to the other, mentor passing on and being more human than expected, yadda yadda. It's that she set up this huuuuuuuuuge cushion of expectation that he was coming back, and even had Ron saying "Maybe he's not really dead!" in this book after she'd done interviews saying AD was dead! That was taunting. I'm sorry, but it was Not Cool. Oh, and the whole thing with Sirius was just totally cheap: it's now very obvious that she was merely leaving herself wiggle room. Guess we know now why the Avada Kedavra was included in the movie. :(
- It seems like Moaning Myrtle should've made some sort of appearance, given her recurring role in previous books.
Doesn't it seem like the other schools should've been involved somehow against the Big Bad? She had the perfect opening for Krum to mention what Durmstrang was doing, and clearly Fleur's family knew what was going on. Also, Ron and Hermione sort of got tossed to the side near the end.
I'm sure she thought she was being all "full circle" with the Marauders being reunited in death and Harry being Teddy's godfather, but I found it a bit trite. Furthermore, it totally negated Harry's deliberate act of trying to avoid creating another orphan situation. I get that there's collateral damage when fighting an entity like Voldemort, but some of the deaths seemed downright gratuitous, especially Hedwig's.
I also thought Snape and Draco deserved more time for their respective resolutions, esp. Snape. He got killed by a snake: cliché much? At least I was right about him, although I was 99.9% sure that I would be. I've never thrown a book in my life, but I would've been mightily tempted had she made him evil.
I'm glad that Neville got some moments in the sun, but was killing Nagini the right moment? I liked Molly's moment, don't misunderstand me -- the Weasleys have given everything to helping Harry and Dumbledore -- but it somehow seemed as though Neville, Neville's grandmother, or at least Hermione, should've done it. Maybe Molly could've gotten Fenrir instead. If Bellatrix was going to get axed anyway, why not have it be Neville, given all the backstory there? I get that JK is clearly pretty anti-revenge and is all rah-rah on mother's love as protection, let's echo Lily again, doesn't want the main good guys deliberately killing people except via the noblest of intentions (even Voldy essentially threw himself on his sword) but ... enhh. Speaking of the Weasleys, I thought Ginny might've done a bit more. And were they running old Clint Eastwood movies on the television in the hotel where Rowling finished the novel? 'cause I think she should've resisted the desire to make what was essentially a Dirty Harry pun with Harry's "Do ya feel lucky, Voldy? Well, do ya?" speech near the end. :p
The first half of the book really drags in several parts, too. Not to mention that having the trio wear
All in all, this book could've been improved by more assertive editing.
Maybe I'll like it better after a second reading, but right now, I feel somewhat cheated.