THINGS I DIDN'T LIKE
The epilogue. Good God, the epilogue. It literally read like fanfic. It didn't even tell us anything interesting about the characters, apart from the fact that they all get married at an early age to their teenage sweethearts. Which is really more depressing than interesting. I did find myself getting surprisingly moved when it was revealed that Harry (middle)named mini-Albus after Snape and telling the kid that he was named after the bravest man Harry ever knew. But everything else was preposterous.
The fact that my long-cherished theory (well, cherished ever since Dumbledore revealed that Neville was born at the same time as Harry) that Neville would turn out to be the real hero, Voldemort's real nemesis, turned out not to be true. Presumably the only point of that revelation was to say that prophecies only mean what we decide they mean blah blah blah. But it seems like an unfair red herring.
Tonks and Lupin getting married, both continuing their annoying moping from the previous book, Lupin being a bit of a wanker, both of them getting killed. Everything to do with the pair of them, basically. Although their baby sounded rather cute. Actually, as I said to daegaer last week, I was really expecting to discover that Lupin/Sirius was canon. Considering JKR is known to be pretty liberal, I'm surprised at how utterly conservative the gender/sexual politics of the books is.
The poor plotting. Seriously, all that Hallows/Horcrux stuff was totally unnecessarily convoluted. As was Dumbledore's slightly dodgy explanation of the Voldemort/Harry dynamic in that ridiculous heaven scene, which also sucked, by the way.
THINGS I DID LIKE/THINGS THAT REALLY DID MOVE ME
Neville! I've always loved Neville, the eternal underdog, and as I said above I really hoped he'd turn out to be the real hero. I remember reading the big Ministry battle scene at the end of Order of the Phoenix, in which the previously rather hapless Neville displays great bravery, and thinking "if you kill Neville, JK Rowling, I won't read another word". And he did come into his own in this book. I loved that he was leading the Hogwarts rebellion, that he was defiant right to the end, and I got all tearful when he produced the
The death of Hedwig! It totally took me by surprise and was really sad. Maybe it's just because Hedwig reminds me of Ju Ju, but the image of Hedwig lying "like a toy" on the bottom of her cage made me tear up.
Dudley's farewell to Harry. Also, the later revelation that Petunia wanted to go to Hogwarts too, which was rather sad.
The return of Percy, and his final scene with Fred.
The death of Dobby. Like, it seems, a lot of others, I was surprised by how moved I was by his death, because I always found him really annoying. But there you go. I cried. I also really liked the rehabilitation of Kreacher, also vaguely to my own surprise.
Draco not being able to bring himself to give away our heroes identities. He probably thought if he ever had Harry and Co at his mercy, he'd revel in it, but when it came down to it, he couldn't do it.
The Malfoy parents turning out to care more about their son than about power and evil.
The scenes in the Ministry. Genuinely thrilling.
The death of poor little Colin Creevey. Sniff.
Snape's memories. I knew he'd turn out to be good, but the revelations were quite well done, and I did feel awfully sorry for Snape. And his outrage at the realisation that Dumbledore (who really is a bit of a prick, isn't he? As is James Potter, but we've known that for a while) was using Harry was great. Poor old Snape.
The final battle - Rowling seems to have finally learned how to write action scenes, because the ones in this book, unlike the earlier ones, were genuinely exciting and skillfully done.
All in all, I would have liked it much more if it had ended before that godawful epilogue. And it was a bit messy. Perhaps I'm surprised that after all this, having been reading the books since the publication of Chamber of Secrets, I feel quite "oh well" about the whole saga drawing to a close. When Buffy ended I remember feeling genuinely quite bereft, realising that this was it (or so we thought at the time), now we know how it ends, and we'll never find out what happens next to the characters. But I feel much more apathetic about Harry and his chums.