Some brief thoughts on it; there may be a longer post in due course.
Of course there are major spoilers behind the cut.
I went into it not expecting to enjoy it quite as much as the others, as, for me, part of the appeal of the whole Harry Potter series has been the school setting and the involvement of so many characters. Thus when I knew that Harry, Ron and Hermione were leaving the school to fulfil Dumbledore's last request, I had a few reservations about the final book.
And I have to be honest and say that for the first two-thirds/three-quarters of the book those reservations held. Yes, I enjoyed it, yes, I was caught up in the whole story and felt all the emotions and the story, but for me it dragged a little with the main focus just being Harry, Ron and Hermione.
However, the last third/quarter of the book, once they were back, at Hogwarts, with everyone involved, really picked up and certainly didn't drag.
- Snape died. Not quite as I expected, but (sorry my Snape/Harry friends) I had always expected him to die.
- Snape was not evil, but was always working for Dumbledore.
- Snape killed Dumbeldore under instructions from Dumbledore.
- Percy came back into the fold.
- Harry and Ginny married. (Sorry my friends).
- Ron and Hermione married. (Sorry my friends).
- Wormtail played a part in Harry being alive. I thought that he would be a redeemed character (not necessarily the one JKR hadn't expected to be redeemed, but he would do something 'good') and his very tiny moment of hesitation did save Harry's life.
- Petunia was, at some point in her life, interested in magic.
- Harry would be willing to die. (But I guess that's taken as read). Before I read the book my feelings were pretty much 50:50 as to whether he would die or not. However, as the series was primarily, originally, written for children, I did lean a little more towards him not dying, not even to save the world.
Those who died:
- Colin Creevy
What is interesting, to my mind, is that we knew that three major characters would die (and I'm assuming that here we're talking about Fred, Snape and Voldemort), but really, going by Sirius's death (when Sirius was classed as a 'major' character), all of those mentioned above would constitute 'major'.
I wonder who was the character whom JKR hadn't expected to redeem themselves? We have several contenders all of whom, in some way or other, redeemed themselves:
Who it is is probably out there somewhere, but I avoided all spoilers pre-the book and kept away from the web from the moment the book was in my hands yesterday until now, so I honestly have no idea. My guess would be Dudley, but . . .
The book did run the gauntlet of emotions, it was certainly dark as JKR had said it would be, and in many ways I found it the most exhausting read, but then I did read it more quickly than any of the others.
My personal feeling is that it isn't her best book. I felt the first part of it was a tad over-long.
And as for Harry Potter fandom? I've never been into the fandom, but I have many friends who are, and I know that they were simultaneously looking forward to and dreading this book. I suspect, if I had to guess, that the mixture of feelings will remain once they have read the book.
Off now to play catch-up on the last twenty-four hours.