We didn't get the book until very late on Saturday and while I read the first three chapters out loud of my family I after our daughter went to bed I settled in for a a couple of hours good reading before bed. I was slightly annoyed with myself when I closed the book and noticed the sun up coming up and my alarm clock going off as I stood up.
We are reunited with many old friends and revisit just about everywhere we've been before, before ending up back at the beginning.
A good strong opening with Harry equipping himself of the hunt. Like the heros girding themselves for battle Harry is readying himself for what he expects to be coming, but he knows that he doesn't have all the knowledge that is wishes he had, not being able to heal a small cut is the key image here. The goodbye with the Dursleys was not what I expected and Dudley seeming dimmer then usual. A harrowing battle as the protection breaks and Harry is taken to safety. It was a good plan and it mostly worked.
This is followed by a wonderful interlude at the Burrow, Hermione tells Harry just how much she trusts him and how important what he has to do is to her. That blew me away. The wedding is broken up by the fall of the Ministry.
Then we are off on the Quests. There is more then one. They are pretty smart together and very courageous, but they are still just three kids. Harry has so much to overcome within himself that the story seems slow in the middle, but that is only because we expect fast, easy resolutions to conflict in our sit-com world. Harry has to make serious choices and he actually spends time working them out and not just going with whatever pops into his head. He has learned from the mistakes he's made in the past and that is really important. He knows people are on his side and fighting for his cause, but he has to focus on winning the war instead of turning the tide on any particular battle. He shows great maturity. He also learns of the ultimate choice he has to make. He shows just how powerful love is.
There are some great scenes in this book that I am sure the special effects artists reading now are beginning to sweat over. The Battle for Hogwarts may not beat the Battle of Pelinor Fields but it may come close. They better get to work now.
Molly is not just a quiet little homemaker, she never really was since she had been in the original Order of the Phoenix but we finally see her at full power and she is something else. They better not leave that out of the movie!
Voldemort has his weakness but he is smart enough to learn from his encounters with Harry. He never does take a stupid pill, but his weakness sends him down wrong paths. And that is just fine for a well written villain.
There are few books out there that have enticed me to stay up all night reading them. This was worth it. The obvious comparison is Lord of the Rings. Do I think that Harry Potter will be celebrated in 100 years? Yes, I do.