WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD! DON'T SAY I DIDN'T WARN YOU!
I'm kind of sad. I finished the 7th Harry Potter book last night, and now the ride is over. There are no more stories of Hogwarts to look forward to, no more tales of magic deeds, tragic deaths, and no more Weasley shenanigans. So goodbye, Harry Potter, it was nice knowing you.
The ending? I thought it was pretty good. I was actually afraid Harry might die, but thankfully he gets to live on in our imaginations. Sadly, we did say farewell to many of our favorite characters, including one of my personal favorites, Fred Weasley. I'm also a bit disappointed that the Malfoys didn't get what was coming to them, that Bellatrix wasn't defeated by Nevill, and that Snape did not ever seem to find peace except in death.
As a series taken overall, I applaud Rowling for making her characters some of the most realistic I have ever read about. They're not two dimensional, stereotypical good guys and bad guys, they're more like real people. James Potter was a good wizard, and a decent man, but he could be a real prick at times. Severus Snape was driven by his love for a dead woman, and his hatred of her husband, but in the end he turned out to have been loyal to Dumbledore, even despite his loathing of Harry Potter. Harry himself showed a growing maturity, and a complex personality. He was ultimately good, but he could be selfish, insensitive, and even mean at times. These were characters that seemed to live beyond the pages of the book, who were driven not by their designation as heroes and villains, but by their desires and personalities. Even Dumbledore, the character once accused of being a clone of Tolkien's Gandalf, turned out to be a highly flawed individual, responsible for the death of his own sister.
I look forward to reading whatever JK Rowling writes in the future, but it's hard to believe she will ever again be able to match the Harry Potter phenomenon.
Of course, there's always hope. Maybe someday Rowling will relent and beguile us again with another tale from beyond the muggle-realm.