Jul 5 2011 6:11pm

Why “The Boy Who Lived” Lived

Why The Boy Who Lived LivedHere’s a question for all of you Potter fans out there: Was the final book ever going to live up to the hype?

Ten years after the publication of the Philosopher’s Stone, the end of the Harry Potter saga was upon us. Once everyone had finished reading Deathly Hallows, the online maelstrom began, and it seemed very clear that readers were divided into two solid camps—those who thought the finale worked and those who didn’t. It is the Great Fandom Gap, in a way, much worse than any fight you’ll see between Battlestar Galatica fans or even Star Wars fans (since finding a fan who will defend the prequels is like finding a white Bengal tiger in the Sahara Desert). And the fight rages on. There are still people who are disappointed by the end that Harry met (or rather, didn’t meet) at the hands of Voldemort, and the epilogue that followed.

It probably comes as no surprise that I’m in the camp of satisfied fans, but it’s not because I have a deep, nostalgic love for the material. In fact, I think if Harry had died, it would have gone against the most important points of Rowling’s narrative, starting with the first essential action of the series:

Lily Potter sacrificed her life to save her son.

It is the defining moment of the story, the point that marks Harry forever as the chosen one. But it’s far more than that: how can this action carry the same weight if Lily saves her son only to have him die anyway, at the hands of the very villain she was desperate to save him from? Lily Potter did not save her son so he could save the world. She saved him so that he could grow up and have a wonderful life with or without her. Belittling that choice by making Harry a martyr would have been an insult to her and to the choice she made in having a child when her world was at war.

Even without considering Lily, there is another element in the “Harry should have died” argument that concerns me: this is ultimately a children’s series. Now I know full well that plenty of children’s stories are dark and terrifying and full of death. But Harry Potter is not a folk tale or a fable, it is a set of books clearly designed to teach life lessons. Lessons about love and friendship and how to do the right thing, even when you are faced with teasing, or being ostracized, or life-threatening danger. If Harry dies, the lesson becomes “do the right thing and people will remember you did it.” Of course, adults are aware that sometimes there is no reward for doing the right thing, but as a child, I needed to believe the opposite. I think most children do. Having Harry bite the bullet to be realistic, or to make the sacrifice carry more weight smacks of trying to be gritty just because you can.

I know it’s easy to forget with the current trends in fiction, but some stories are meant to have happy endings.

Which brings me to the epilogue, probably the most controversial piece in all seven books. Draco and Harry still don’t get along, everyone has kids and they’re all seeing them off on the Hogwarts Express.

What, exactly, is wrong with that picture? Did the gang not deserve to have a relatively nice and normal (by wizard standards) life after the hell that they went through in their childhoods? They’re all still doing good things day to day as Aurors and wizard lawyers. And yes, they did decide to have kids because family is the most important theme in the entire work. This should not be a surprise or an upset.

I know, Draco Malfoy and Harry aren’t buddies in their middle age. Considering the terrible things they did to each other, that wasn’t likely to happen. There are ways that they can grow past the previous generation — they are not as openly hostile to each other as Snape and Sirius Black were — but there are still too many wounds there to shake hands on and have done with. And frankly, Draco was never destined to be a great, likeable guy — some people just aren’t. He was raised to believe he was superior, and some part of him will always think that’s the truth.

And then there’s the chance at redemption; upon hearing his fears that he might be Sorted into Slytherin, Harry tells his son Albus that it’s okay — he can be whatever he wants to be. The thought that a Potter might end up in Slytherin House is the real hope at the end of this book. The journey begins again. Maybe not as epic this time around, but that’s life for you. One generation fights wars and the next changes the social landscape. It’s all about baby steps.

The Boy Who Lived still lives. He has boys of his own, and a girl, and a wonderful wife, and they live together in a house with broomsticks that fly and owls that deliver mail. For the lad who spent his first years living in a cupboard under the stairs, that is the greatest miracle of all.

All artwork © Mary GrandPre

Emily Asher-Perrin hopes that Scorpius Malfoy and Albus Potter became best friends and gave their fathers terror-induced heart attacks. You can bug her on Twitter and read more of her work here and elsewhere.

This article is part of Potterpalooza on Tor.com: ‹ previous | index | next ›
Arthur Harrow
1. Dr_Thanatos
I remember all the crazy theories buzzing around the bookstore as midnight approached: "Harry marries Luna," "Ron travels back in time and becomes Mundungus," "Draco grabs the Ring and falls in the volcano," and what did we get? Happily ever after. What's wrong with that?

Other than I would have killed to see my dream ships work out: Larry, Snoldemort, and Mrs. Norbottom...
rob mcCathy
2. roblewmac
yeah it was kind of cheesey HOW Harry survied but frankly I was glad he did I was half expacting "Valdamort killed Harry the good Wizards gave up and muggles replaced ground beef."
Joel Cunningham
3. jec81
is there really a controversy over the ending of these books? i have had tons of conversations debating the endings of lost and battlestar but never heard one peep about harry potter. everyone i know, online or off, is fine with the conclusion, even if the epilogue was a little clumsy.
Agnes Kormendi
4. tapsi
"Emily Asher-Perrin hopes that Scorpius Malfoy and Albus Potter became best friends and gave their fathers terror-induced heart attacks."

Oh, me too... I don't really understand why some people hate happy endings. Isn't that what we all hope for in our own lives?
5. Foxed
Just popping in to defend the epilogue haters.

It was way too cheesy. It was unnecessary. I could have done without it. The names for the children were terrible. Everyone landed their dream job and their dream spouse and I'm sure they all lived in their dream houses and everything's just so amazing in the future.

I just didn't need to read it. The audience would have been better served leaving it up to the imagination.
6. sofrina
the ending works because it finishes the story as a proper hero's journey. harry descends into the land of death, defeats his enemy and returns with a boon to share with the community. he sacrifices himself willingly and in so doing casts the same blood magic his mother cast on him thereby shielding his comrades in arms from voldemort.

harry's history as a lonely, abused child forged him into the hero worthy of this singular task. he paid upfront for his sacrifice. so he deserves to live out a full, ordinary life as his just reward.
Jordan Hamessley
7. Jordache
My issue with the epilogue is that the kids all married each other. I get they went through some epic stuff together, but the idea that they all marry their high school sweetheart rubs me the wrong way. But it's a common trope in many movies and books. I don't like the message it sends to the intended audience.

I know. I'm a meanie.
8. s.g
I'm someone for whom the ending didn't work, and I'm given to understand that the epilogue is particularly controversial in fanfic-land, where it closes off stories that people want to tell, if they accept it as canon. From my perspective, as a non-fanfic writer:

First, I've never cared for the "Lily saved Harry's life through her love" explanation. What that implies is that Neville's parents didn't love each other as much as Lily loved Harry, and no other parent loved their child (or child loved their parent) as much as Lily loved Harry. Even for a children's book, I find that twee and victim-blamy. I realize that this is the official explanation, so I'm not saying JK's wrong about her own series or anything, but it never worked for me so that may be influencing me.

Second, I think having Harry come back to life cheapens his sacrifice. Yes, it's a kid's book, but what it says is: if you're called on to make the ultimate sacrifice, don't expect any personal consequences. I also find it excessively Jesus-esque, but there's a lot of Christian symbolism buried in the series, and it seems to work out well for JK. You could look at it as "what happens to Bilbo in the Hobbit" versus "what happens to Bilbo and Frodo in LOTR", and make a point about it being a children's book, but my point is - if you don't want your protagonist to die, don't kill them off. Killing off a protagonist and bringing them back is tricky to pull off, and it didn't work for me here.

Third, my main problem with the epilogue was the same as Jordache's - it seemed to close off the world to what we'd already seen and what they'd experienced in high school. If we're talking about sending messages to kids, should we be telling them that their first real relationship is the lasting one?
lodewijk jadwigo
9. jadwigo
no.. but the first real relationship might be the lasting one.. not a bad message, that's what happily ever after is all about
Tim Lewis
10. RaPToRFunK
Absolutely, Emily! He needed to live, for all of the reasons you gave.

The one thought I liked about this:
One generation fights wars and the next changes the social landscape.
Generations are cyclical and each one inherits the problems and spoils of those before them. Some build up and some tear down, leaving it for the next to build up again. I think the subtlety of greatness happens in between the two, when the opportunity is there to build and the possibility of greatness is hinted at. Sometimes, however, distinguishing the difference between tearing down and building up can be confusing, just as sometimes fighting wars and changing social landscape can be confused with each other.
11. jerec84
I didn't start reading the series until Deathly Hallows was already released so the hype was never an issue for me. Personally I thought the books got better as they went along. Goblet of Fire was when I first really started to love the books, and Deathly Hallows felt like a great conclusion. I'm probably in the minority though, especially since Half Blood Prince was my favourite book in the series.
Cori Hull
12. yarnandtea
I am in agreement that the finale of this book worked. Generally I am also one of those people against characters marrying their high school sweethearts, but not in this situation. The wizarding community is so isolated and insular that unless a witch or wizard gets a job traveling abroad, they are likely to be around the same people in their adult lives that they were around in their childhoods. JKR established it fairly early in the series that the majority of the couples who were around the same age as each other dated or at least met while at school, so this actually never bugged me.

My thought is that Harry had such a miserable childhood and went through so much hell, and all he ever wanted was to be normal, so it is quite lovely that after all he went through he was rewarded with just that. Maybe it was unnecessary or cheesy, but it was also wonderful and magical, which is no less than I would expect from this series. For those of us who wanted to know that Harry came out of the aftermath of the battle of Hogwarts emotionally intact, well, this was what we needed. It also demonstrates to the younger readers that Harry learned more than just how to fight dark wizards as a child. He also learned how to be a good person. I think that's worth reading.

For those who prefer the fade to black after the battle...well, there is that nice lovely divider page in between the final chapter and the epilogue. Makes a wonderful stopping point if one does not wish to read further.

As far as Lily's protection meaning she loved Harry more than any other parent, etc. I can't agree with that. I don't think JKR is saying that at all. She is, in my opinion, stating that few parents are ever put in that position that Lily was put in to make the concious decision to sacrifice her life to save that of her child. Dumbledore likely would never have thought that the explanation if it was completely uknown. Harry's case was just so much more known, because no one had ever heard of anyone surviving Avada Kedavra before, and that was a mystery. Likely most witches and wizards killed by that curse were never given the opportunity to choose to do so, as Lily was, they just got wham-bam-thank-you-m'am-ed. Had Voldemort not gone all monologuey on Lily and just killed her to get her out of the way, Harry probably would have quickly followed.

(I also secretly wish that Albus and Scorpius became best friends, I think that would lead to all kinds of amazing hijinks for the next generation!)
Arthur Harrow
13. Dr_Thanatos
Jordache@7: But everyone in these books marries their school sweetheart; just because that's not commonly seen in America doesn't mean that in the time and place this book is set that this is odd.

s.g.@8: What happened with the Longbottoms is very different from what happened to Lily Potter. She threw herself on the bomb to save her kid; they were caught and tortured. Very different scenario.
14. marchon2884
@s.g. I see where you're coming from on the possibility of his "coming back to life" cheapening his death.

However, I never saw coming back to life as a reward. Dumbledore explicitly frames it as a choice. He can choose to pass on, after all his hard work, and join his parents, Sirius, Dumbledore and many other loved ones who have died. Or he can choose to go back and fight, and endure a long life where he still misses his parents and he has to live for decades with the deaths of all those who fought for and with him. This wasn't a reward. This was yet another sacrifice. And Dumbledore left that up to his choosing.

The reward was not coming back to life. As some other have said here, the real reward was to live some semblance of a normal life. But that normal life could only happen by coming back to life and defeating Voldemort. In what I think is a beautiful parallel, the final nail in Voldemort's coffin isn't Harry's death, but, yet again, his life.

And I say that that's a good message. The way to win is not ultimately death, but living. Now, you may have a different philosophy than me and may take different things from the book. But I hope that this is a message that all people who read these books here: the ultimate victory is not dying, but living. When it seems most easy to just give up, even at the point of dying, the hardest thing, but the best thing, to do is to live.
Melissa Shumake
15. cherie_2137
i think that in the real world, high school relationships, even if they were real relationships and not puppy love, aren't put through such a large test as harry/ginny or ron/hermione. yes, they are young, but they went through a heck of a lot more than muggles their own age only rarely experience.
rob mcCathy
16. roblewmac
Not sure marrying the high school sweetheart is the worst message in Potter-verse i'm a WEe bit more upset with "If you go to the right school it's ok to be an evil wizard.
17. Jaquandor
I'd just like to chime in and note that I am that rare-as-the-Bengal-tiger-in-the-Sahara creature: A Star Wars fan who defends the prequels!

I love the epilogue, myself, although (as I noted on another Potter thread a few minutes ago) I do think that Rowling missed an opportunity to have Dudley there as well, with his own muggle-born wizard kid heading off to school.
18. AndrewB
My only problem with the ending was that we (the readers) only learned the names of 4 of the "good guys" who died during the last battle. JKR said that Tonks, Lupin, Fred and Colin died along with 50 others in the effort to defend Hogwarts.

I am the type of reader who wants know those loose ends. This is why I hope against hope that JKR will come out with a Harry Potter "encyclopedia" which would explain the fate of the charaacters who took part in the Final Battle.

It is inconceivable that Fred and Colin were the only contemporaries of Harry to die in the battle and that Tonks and Lupin were the only "adults" to die.

(I know that Fred was an adult in the wizaed world. However, for most of the series he was a student -- thus I will call him a contemporary of Harry's. While Tonks is less than 10 years older than Harry, I do not view her as a contemporary of Harry's for purpose of the series.)
19. Teka Lynn
The epilogue was unpopular enough with some fanfic writers that it spun off its own subgenre: EWE.

"Epilogue? What Epilogue?"
Nathan Rice
20. quazar87
I have no problem with the epilogue or with Harry surviving. My main beef with DH was the wandlore that suddenly became the most important thing ever. The climactic battle with Voldy worked as a conclusion to the book, but it definitely doesn't as a conclusion to the series. Perhaps I was always hoping for more from the final confrontation. To be honest, it feels like a girl's way to end it.
21. laurene135
I didn't have much of a problem with the epilogue and felt it was fitting to the series. The series launched off (in a way) with boarding the Hogwarts Express and it ended that way. Bookends.
However, I was strongly disappointed with the ending. I don't believe Harry should have died--the story wasn't properly set up to kill of the main character--but the way he came back to life and the whole "Hey Voldy, let's chit-chat before we try to kill eachother" was silly to me. Voldemort is a cold blooded killer, I don't think he would care to talk to Harry about whether or not he feels remorse. Secondly, HELLO Harry just came back from the dead. If I killed my motal enemy, and they came back from the dead to fight me, I wouldn't stand around to chat. I'd be kind of freaked out and shooting them with all I've got.
All this aside, my biggest gripe is the whole elder wand shinanagins poping out of the mostly blue. Something so integral to the story should have been alluded to more
22. tnv
@Quazar87: "To be honest, it feels like a girl's way to end it."

I'd like to believe you now regret how misogynist that sounded.

I happen to agree with those who are disappointed in the Epilogue because it still, even after this, slots wizards into the "right Houses" and "right schools" for evil and good. I would have much preferred that the battle of Hogwarts had made the wizarding world realize that they best stick together rather than segregate themselves by that archaic system.
23. Edgewalker
The ending is trite because of:

"All was well."

Worst last lines ever.
Fredrik Coulter
24. fcoulter
Two things.

First, the Star Wars prequel movies were neccessary because they demonstrated that the Jedi Knights were actually kick ass. (Sorry, but Luke was a wimp and Obi Wan was an old man.) The scenes were a few Jedi stopped an army justified all the crap in the original movies about how the Jedi's maintained order. (Alright, maybe this doesn't make the movies necessary, but it does provide a little justification for them.)

As for the Harry Potter ending. I didn't like it because my "happily every after" was different than J. K. Rowling's. In mine, Harry ended up the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, and eventually Headmaster of Hogwarts. I'm not sure it's better, but I liked it better.
James Whitehead
25. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
I actually liked the ending and the epilogue. Life is good for those that have survived; or at least those that we see. It isn't implied that it is perfect or 'happily ever after." I also don't have an issue with the marriages of 'high school sweathearts.'

I agree with cherie_2137 that Harry & company have gone through much more than the typical person has. Also, the last two years at Hogwarts seem much more like university years in Britain than high school years in the US. There is no wizard college for the crew to apply to. Once you're done with year 7 you're out in the 'real' world so to speak.

I do not feel that Harry's going back cheapens the sacrifice he made as he had no idea that there was an 'out' clause when he made his choice. Harry figured he was dead and that this was what was going to do in Voldemort. The harder choice was to go back to pain & uncertainty to help his friends. Not to leave them to the less than tender mercies of the death eaters.

I don't think the book, or even the series implies, that it is OK to be evil as long as you are the right sort of wizard/witch. Rowling continually shows the folly of believing in purebloods only and old families and the old school tie network. After the two great wars of the 20th century, some institutions changed but others stayed the same. It is not unreasonable, therefore, that Hogwarts & the other schools continue on as before. We can only hope that the 4 houses at Hogwarts become more like what the founders originally wanted.


PS - Never a fan of the prequels really. I saw the first three as they were released in theatres. My boys like them, however, and they're watchable. I guess what upsets some people is that they could've, and should've, been so much more. Lucas just didn't have anyone working with him who could truly say, "George, that's dumb. Let's try this instead."
Emily Asher-Perrin
26. EmilyAP
Some really fascinating and insightful commentary going on! Here are some responses and thoughts:

@ Jordache - There are several reasons why I'm okay with the kids marrying each other. First off, as you pointed out, they went through some serious stuff together, and that's going to alter your perception on relationships period. Second, as AtlantisDragonGirl pointed out, the wizarding community is not that large, which leaves a pretty limited number of people to date. And then, there's also the fact that we know that many of these relationships still took years to develop. There is a pretty plain indication (the timeline that has been figured out puts those kids on the Hogwarts Express in 2017) that they took their time getting married and having kids, particularly Ron and Hermione and Harry and Ginny. They had all been out of Hogwarts for 8-10 years before their children were born. So nobody rushed into anything, which I think is a fine message, even if everyone is marrying their high school sweetheart. (And then there's the fact that I'd really rather that other mediums that use this trope so poorly let up on it instead - like the romantic comedy genre for example - so that it doesn't cause an eyeroll when people are reading Harry Potter.)

@ s.g. - I have to go with AtlantisDragonGirl and Dr_Thanatos on this one. Not only is Lily situation very different from the Longbottoms and any other parent, but the indication is that she made the decision to make that sacrifice. And this is partly because she had the time to consciously make that choice, and also partly because she is--as everyone constantly makes a point of--an exceptionally talented witch. In regard to Harry's sacrifice, I always thought that the important part of it was that Harry doesn't know he is going to make it. So the message of sacrifice still comes through because he is willing to go through with it and die. The choice is the point, not the sacrifice. And then, as marchon2884 said, coming back does not necessarily have to be interpreted as a reward. It can be viewed as a choice as well.

@ jadwigo - Here, here! :)

@ RaPToRFunK - Absolutely. And I think that the knowledge of what happens generation to generation is something that Rowling was particularly cognizant of; you see it clearly in the parallels that she draws between Harry generation and the generation before him - Harry/James, Sirius/Ron, Hermione/Remus, Neville/Peter, Draco/Snape, Ginny/Lily - while the previous crew were wonderful (in fact, I'm a little partial toward them since my favorite characters are Remus and Sirius) it's very clear that Harry's generation make better choices than the one before them. They are building up, and hopefully their children will continue the trend.
Emily Asher-Perrin
27. EmilyAP
@ Jaquandor - Wow, I have this image of Dudley's child in wizard robes now. Well done, you. :) (Also, I defend the prequels most of the time, too. We are rare creatures of myth.)

@ AndrewB - You bring up a good point, and it would be nice to have a fuller idea of who went down in the final battle. There are so many characters who we care about who might have been lost.

@ Teka Lynn - I remember that subgenre! :) The fanfic argument is one I've never understood (and I admit, I love me some fanfic and have written my fair share of it) because of one all-important fact: all of fanfic is ultimately a "what if?" scenario. Because it will never be canon, I never saw the problem with actual canon going against something a fanfic writer may have wanted to write. Because everything that you write exists in that "what if?" universe, ultimately.

@ quazar87 - I was unaware that there was a genetically predisposed "girl's way" to end something. Huh. Color me surprised.

@ Foxed and Edgewalker - I think cheesy or trite is one of those things: different people have different thresholds for it. The epilogue never seemed all that cheesy to me, but I know that it did to others. I'm glad that it's there, and I figured it wasn't that big of a deal because it's easily ignored if it's not to your taste. In regard to those final lines, it struck me as a very classic way to end a saga like that. Something that isn't all that epic or life-altering, very much like Sam's closing line in Lord of the Rings.

@ fcoulter - I share your feelings on watching Jedi kick behind, for sure. :)
28. sellonc
The only thing that I would argue is that the third book is far and away the best one of the series :). I didn't particularly like the epilogue but I get that Mrs. Rowling wanted complete closure to her characters so they couldn't really be used again.
Pamela Adams
29. PamAdams
I gotta admit, I enjoyed the epilogue, and the little bits- my favorite being Ron's learning to drive, but still needing to use a little wizardry to pass the test.
Emily Asher-Perrin
30. EmilyAP
@ sellonc - The third book is my favorite as well, by a long shot. :)

@ Pam Adams - You can just imagine the argument that had him taking that test in the first place, too: "Remember how you drove a car into the Whomping Willow? Remember that?"
31. KathyhR
Very well said, and I totally felt the same as I closed the big volume of "The Deathly Hallows". Harry's story saved his author's life and made a new future for her, why should not Harry's character get a chance at a future with family and new futures as well.
How life ends, matters little if at all, IF you have lived & loved and spread joy well during your life.
Joseph Blaidd
32. SteelBlaidd
It's always seemed to me that the whole point of the epilouge is to get the line "Albus Severus, You were named for two head masters of Hogwarts. One of them was a Slytheren and probably the bravest man I ever knew."(emphasis mine) Everything else is padding around that decleration of forgiveness. Just as important is that the whole trial at the begining of OotP is because Harry protected Duddly, not Ron, not Hermionnie, Duddly.
John Adams
33. JohnArkansawyer
Count me with those who feel the ending was rushed, that many characters deserved to die on stage rather than in a brief moment of dialogue, and that the epilogue was largely unnecessary, but who were not displeased by Harry's failure to die.

And I'll throw this out--the even-numbered books are better than the odd-numbered books, with the exception of number seven.
34. SmackDaddies
With apologies to Edgewalker - the ending is perfect because of:

"All was well."

Best last line ever.

As an adult who learned the stories by reading them to his children, I found the ending perfect for the series. It provided a perfect coda - Rowling did it in such a way that completely wrapped up the series in just a few short pages. Harry spent his life searching for meaning - and in the end, found it in very Ecclesiastes way.
35. bluemeanies
I was less upset that JK Rowling failed to kill Harry, but more that she set up a situation where he had to die and then failed to kill him.

Also, after having many things that were well foreshadowed popping up throughout the first six, the Hallows seemed tacked on to me, the elder wand especially.

And then Snape's story ending with a pensieve info dump interupting the flow of the final battle was what really threw me. First, Snape was already my favorite character so maybe I wasn't all that well disposed to him dying. Second, was there not a better way to reveal that 1) Snape and Lily were friends (you know maybe through Petunia or Lupin) 2) That Snape killed Dumbledore on Dumbledore's orders (not sure how, though I already believed that) and 3) Harry was a Horcrux than with this chapter. Or even found a way to have this revealed before the climax and first half of the battle? The Prince's Tale was the chapter that made me roll my eyes and not want to re-read this book while I love all the rest of the series. It just felt like it was tacked on 'oh yeah I have to explain this now' to me.

And then since my second favorite character was Hogwarts the fact that the bulk of the book was 'Harry goes camping' made me very whistful for the whimsy of the earlier books.

Compared to all that the epilogue was actually one of the things I liked (though it wasn't neccessary)
36. Virginia
I loved the epilogue. I thought the way it reverted to a simpler style of storytelling was brilliant. I loved Harry saying that Snape was "probably the bravest man I ever knew" and I loved the last line, "All was well."

The only thing I'm not crazy about is Hermione winding up married to Ron. I never got that relationship. But it's OK: In my personal fanon, Harry and Hermione are having a torrid affair while Ginny travels for work and Ron stays home drinking butterbeer and watching Muggle TV. As many of the commenters here pointed out, no one ever promised Harry that life would be the easy choice.
37. SatinWorship
I agree with most of what bluemeanies wrote above. It's not that it's awful, just that there are all these little things that add up to an overall inferior experience.
The only problem I have with the book that gets me shouting-discussion angry is the gap between the end of the battle of Hogwarts and the epilogue. As someone who grew up with Harry and Co., many of these characters seem like old friends, even close as family, and to have "Oh, so and so dies, but everyone grows up happy, the end!" left me feeling like something was missing. I wanted to see how the wizarding world and families re-build after losing so much, and so many, who were valuable. It's not that I mind the epilogue, I just wish there had been another chapter or two before it.
38. Mouette
My disappointment with the last book had *nothing* to do with the ending. I thought it was appropriate and just and, for the most part, what should have happened - at least in Harry's case.

It's how she got to the ending that swung on a pendulum from boring me to tears to making me roll my eyes in disgust. The first third to the first half of the book... snickering snorklacks, where do I *start*. The endless wandering in the woods, with hardly a point to it? The sudden reduction from a cast of interesting, beloved characters to the original three mains on the run?

Riding out of Gringotts on A FREAKING DRAGON?


And then there's Snape's end. Possibly the most unjust and wrong character death I can easily recall. Snape has spent years spying for Dumbledore, fighting for The Cause at great personal expense and personal risk, doing things he *hated*, giving up all but everything for the memory of the one person who ever was kind to him... and in the end Voldemort shoots him in the back.


Lily Potter's love for Harry saved him; her... feelings, whatever they were, for Severus Snape *killed* him.
39. Mouette
@32 - Yes, yes yes. It's subtle, but that line makes up for a lot of flaws.
Michael Ikeda
40. mikeda

Although it does occur to me that there is an element of setting unreachable expectations in giving someone the name Albus Severus.
41. Snapdragon
@8 I know other people have addressed this, but I wanted to get my own two cents re: Lily's saving Harry out there.

It is not that no other parents loved their children enough to be able to save them; rather, in all of those other cases, the parents and children were all going to be killed. James's death didn't save his wife and child, because Voldemort was always going to kill James; he was planning to kill James and Harry before he even entered the house.

Lily, however, had a choice. Snape asked Voldemort not to kill her, and he was planning to honor that request. She could have lived and chose to die. When she said, "Kill me, not Harry," she wasn't asking Voldemort to only kill her and not Harry: she was asking him to kill her instead of Harry. That is why her sacrifice worked: because it WAS a sacrifice, a genuine substitution of herself for her son. Other parents loved their children, too, but they weren't in the position to make that sacrifice because they weren't given the choice to live.
42. Farai K
i personally think the ending was a good one.yes the epilogue might have been a bit cheesy but they all deserved what they got in the end. what they fought against was something powerful and evil and surely they deserved a happy ending,marrying their dream love. however, to s.g who said something about first relationships,these were't the first relationships for the kids,they'd been involved in at least one relationship before.

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