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Readers rave about ‘Deathly Hallows’

The final book in the “Harry Potter” series has been released and MSNBC.com readers are pouring through their copies.

Below is a collection of some of their reactions to “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” and the frenzy surrounding the release. Beware — spoilers lurk.

I thought that the book was wonderful. It tied up all of the loose ends and was incredibly entertaining along the way. Everyone knew that Snape was good and I'm so glad that J.K. Rowling made him into a hero, he always deserved to be one. I do wish that Sirius would have made more of a return than he did, but in the case of Dumbledore's history, Rowling made up for his loss entirely. I'm so happy that Harry was in turn a horcrux, I thought that that might be the road that she would take and it really made it that much more great when Harry overtook Voldemort. This book was just so incredibly creative! It took me all of my Saturday (almost the true 24 hours) to finish and to really soak everything in, and it was well worth the wait for such a spectacular ending. It really lives up to the hype, plus some.Anastacia, Pinellas Park, Fla.

I guess you could call me the Simon Cowell of Harry Potter books, but I actually did not enjoy the last book. I feel it lacked true, deep composition and it lacked valuable literary devices which can be used to illuminate the reader's imagination. Further more, I felt like Rowling led us on to believe Harry was going to die and then gave the finale an unsatisfying ending. I feel the epilogue was too sugary & sweet and not well thought-out by Rowling. So yes, I do criticize Harry Potter #7. I apologize to all the MSNBC readers who disagree with me!— TJ Volcheck, Bakers Mill, NY

It was terribly sad that the series had to end. In fact when Harry thought he was dead I almost threw up. It was awful to see all thoughts people die. I did love the ending! It was exactly how I thought it would end. I had a hunch that Ron and Hermione would get married and Harry and Ginny too. They are perfect for each other. The part I was really amazed by is that Harry and Ginny had 3 kids (which I thought was going to happen!) And I thought they were going to name one of them Lily and another James, which was kind of creepy to have a hunch that actually came true because that never happens to me. Anyways I cried after I finished because I didn't want the series to end. I hope the magic will live forever. J.K. Rowling has changed the world and made my life worth living. I feel so close to Harry Potter, and I love the series and character and the ending it was wonderful!— Virginia Ellis

The book, in my opinion, wasn't so great, up until about page 350. It was a little bit boring, but that might just be due to my disappointment about them not returning to Hogwarts. However, the ending was absolutely fantastic, and although I had part of the twist figured out already, Rowling threw in a few other things that totally threw me off guard. Snape's memories were, by far, the best part of the book. So much was uncovered in this book. However, the "Nineteen Years Later" part was a bit sugary and unrealistic...I was hoping it would end with another conflict that would keep you guessing after you put the book down. However, Rowling never fails at writing an amazingly intriguing book, especially not this time. Thanks.— Hailey, Olympia, Wash.

I thought the ending was weak for a Harry Potter book and especially for the end of the series. There really was only a few ways it could have ended conclusively and even Rowling was too predictable in how she intended to end it any how. That and it ended abruptly with no recourse or explanation of the previous 19 years in the epilogue was disappointing. Draco's animosity toward Harry Potter seems to have abated quite a bit. Whoop-de-doo. He was never that important of a character compared to the others that readers have come to know and love — i.e., the Weasleys, the Order of the Phoenix, Harry himself, etc. I mean, had it not seemed as if Rowling just wanted to end the series I would've been fine, but the lack of history and following up on what happened to her characters was pretty inconsistent. Harry obviously got married and knocked up Ginny. Whatever happened to Severus? Was he finally exonerated in the wizarding world? What about Voldemort's body? These really aren't unreasonable complaints. The book is already closing in 800 pages by itself, I really don't think another 25-40 dedicated to a better epilogue would have killed Rowling.— Sean, Princeton, Ind.

I liked the book in whole. Rowling pieced a lot together nicely. I didn't like the fact that Harry, in the end, didn't kill Voldemort! Voldemort killed himself with his own curse that was intended for Harry. The ending ("19 years later") left a lot of open questions for me as far as their lives on a personal level. What are Ron, Hermione and Harry doing for a living now? Who is running Hogwarts? She pleased a lot of fan with having Ron and Hermione marry as well as Harry and Ginny but ... I would have liked to know more about their lives other than the fact that they all have kids who are off to Hogwarts now. I felt that a lot more of the past 19 years could have been explained better.— Jenny, Wentzville, Mo.

I very much love the way J.K. Rowling ended this series. It was a great book. I actually prefer books that leave a bit of room at the end for imagination. I was a bit disappointed about the whole Dudley/Aunt Petunia thing, though. In books 5 and 6, she hinted that there was much, much more to Dudley than we had previously been shown. And Aunt Petunia seemed to know a lot about a world she usually pretended to ignore. Rowling gave us yet more of the Dudley/Aunt Petunia twist in this last one. We now know why Aunt Petunia hated her sister. But as this was supposed to be the last book in the series, she should have done more with it, let us know what Dumbledore meant when he said Petunia had done things to Dudley. Maybe we will see an off-shoot of this series focusing on Harry's family, either past, present, or future? I hope so.— Rebecca, Denver

If it sold millions of copies, who really cares if it lived up to the hype? She has the money in her account, and I don't think the dissatisfied are going to get much of a refund. I wouldn't pay a nickel for the book myself, but what do I know?— Ron Yageman, Wyandotte, Mich.

I enjoyed the book immensely and thought it closed the series well. I read it in one day, slept on it, and went back to read the last few chapters — especially "King's Cross" again to truly understand it. I am impressed by the complexity of the level of magic that Rowling delved into and the bravery and selflessness Harry showed when facing Voldemort. Like the others, I also feel that the "19 years later" bit was disappointing. Something like 5 years in the future such as dropping in at the wedding of Harry and Ginny and given us an update on the Weasleys, Teddy Tonks, and everyone else and what they were doing would have been much more satisfactory than what was presented. But perhaps Ms. Rowling intends for us to use our imaginations. All in all, it was well done. Thank you for the wonderful ride Ms. Rowling, it has been magical.— Elissa Blabac, Phoenix

I read it quickly because I wanted to know whether or not Harry survives, but I wasn't about to read the end first! Now, I am reading it again — more slowly, to savor the details. But while I am pleased with the way it ended, I do have a few bones to pick. First, I found I really missed the folks at Hogwarts — especially Neville, whose voice (once we heard it) sounded so much more confident and mature than the last time we saw him. Obviously a LOT went on at Hogwarts while Harry, Ron and Hermione were in hiding, and I'd have liked for Rowling to "check in" with the Hogwarts kids from time to time to see their evolution into a committed fighting force. I wonder if she remembers that we fans love more characters than just the Big Three. Also, the epilogue raised more questions than it answered — we knew who would end up with whom, the question is what are they DOING? Where do they work? How's Luna, how's Neville, how are the rest of the Weasleys? I really would like to know what a wizarding world looks like 19 years after the fall of Voldemort, and the epilogue just didn't do it.— Valerie Lynn, Nashville, Tenn.

Given that J.K. Rowling borrowed concepts from several sources (e.g. character development - Star Wars, settings — JRR Tolkin, etc.) it would not have surprised me if she ended the saga with both Harry and Voldemort both dying (or at least having Harry appear to die) in a pitched, all-out final battle, a la Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's ending of Sherlock Holmes. I suspect that was her original intent, but capitulated to the commercial interests and brought Harry back. However, she did succeed in achieving her goal of ending Harry by tacking on an epilogue projecting him into adulthood, thus eliminating the ability of future young readers to identify with him. However, by also projecting the "three musketeers" Luke, Han and Leia, er, I mean Harry, Ron and Hermione, as now having children, the franchise can continue through the children of Harry, et. al. — clever device.— LR, Middletown, N.J.

No matter what, people are going to complain. In the years that I've spent reading, this is by far one of the best series that I've ever had the pleasure of following, and Ms Rowling ended it perfectly. I can't remember the last time I was so involved in a book that I let my emotions get the best of me. The talk between Harry and Dumbledore was extremely emotionally packed, and the fact that Harry still walked to Voldemort after knowing that he had to die to give anyone a chance at stopping Voldemort brought tears to my eyes. I can't wait for my son to be old enough to read and comprehend the series.— JW, Omaha, Neb.

After a grueling, but extremely satisfying, ten hours of intense reading, I have finally finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I, along with my trusty companions, attended a Barnes and Noble midnight book party, and I received my book at about 12:50am on July 21. I didn't dare open it up in the car on the way home, first of all - I wanted to time myself, and second of all - I was way too excited. When I got home, I sat down in the chair in the living room, and read. Non-stop. From exactly one am to 8:15 a.m. Then, I slept for two hours, woke up, and finished the book at precisely 1:18 p.m. As I finished the book, I felt both a twinge of sadness, and a tear-jerking sense of joy. This phenomenal book took so many twists and turns, it left my stomach in a knot. While I am extremely happy to find that good triumphed over evil and Harry was able to move on, the world already seems a little less bright, knowing that characters' lives, ones we had grown to love, were cut short. In spite of those dark events, I believe that J.K Rowling truly shone with this book, she definitely strut her stuff. Her writing craft painted vivid pictures in my mind, and etched a place deep into my heart. I will read these books to my children and my children's children. This series is, by far, the best I've ever read. I hope that J.K Rowling continues to write, writing words of pure gold down onto paper, which will soon find its way into everyone's heart.— Nicole-Marie Koszarek, New York

I may still argue that the best Harry Potter book is No. 4 — Goblet of Fire — because it was so expansive, so epic, and the first death in the series hits you like a ton of bricks, but this is a quite suitable end to the series. I know it may be confusing for some, but I think we have to remember that WE have matured as Harry, Ron, and Hermione have matured, so what might be confusing for some can be welcome complexity for others. I was most impressed that Rowling quoted from Scripture — "where your treasure is, there will your heart be also". God knows that Rowling's books have taught a whole generation of readers more about love, forgiveness, and sacrifice than any pseudo-religious, Potter-banning group will do in a lifetime. Thanks for one of the best reads of a lifetime. Seven wonderful books.— Jeremy F., Forest City, Iowa

I am thoroughly drained. I read the book in a marathon reading session today where I felt like I simply could not put the book down because the story line never let up. When I finished the book, I was happy to see that the three main characters had the happy ending they deserved but I felt a heavy sadness as I knew that the story that I had grown to love these last seven years (I got started a bit late) had finally come to a conclusion. I had never been to a costumed midnight release party for a book in my life before Harry Potter and I expect that I may never again. Thank you, J.K. Rowling. You have created something that crosses the generations and creates bonds between young and old alike. Your work is a gift to humanity. For the memories you have given me, I will always be thankful.— Dave, Phoenix

I thought this was the worst book of the series, and I am disappointed. There was a good bit of forcing in the plot to try and close all the story lines, so that when a significant event happened, like the death of a main character, there was hardly anytime time for "feel" the loss.— Jessica

Every sentence in the last book was exciting to read. It was like watching the final climatic scene in a action/thriller movie for 12 hours! I cried, cheered, laughed and cried some more. Thank you, Thank you J.K., you created a masterpiece!— Joanne K., Clare, Mich.

You know ... after almost 10 years of Harry Potter stories, it must've been pretty stressful to write the final installment. Knowing that there are MILLIONS of people hoping and praying you don't screw it up. Is this book perfect? No. Is it all wrapped up with a pretty bow at the end? Pretty much. (Except for a few characters.) Is it a nice sending off for a great group of "people"? Absolutely. The book has its highlights and lowlights — as do most of Ms. Rowling's HP stories -- but I think she did her readers justice. I laughed. I cried. (and cried, and cried again) And even though we're lacking the details of 19 years, she gave us enough to infer that love prevails and our favorite characters end up happy and just where they're supposed to be. Not sure we can ask for too much more than that.— Kate K., Farmington, NY

I thought most of the book was good. Not the best in the series, but not the worst either. I cried when Dobby died, she wrote that brilliantly. She also wrote the graveyard scene in Godric's Hollow beautifully. The relationship between Ron and Hermione seemed to be written well for a teenage romance, but Harry and Ginny came off rather forced and the epilogue was very cliched and too sugary.— Mindy, Tustin, Calif.

The ending was surprising, but then again not. I hated that so many died and who died (won't give it away), but I also know that makes it more realistic. Life isn't all happy endings. I was surprised at Snape's true feelings, but was also glad of it. I would like to see some more of the 19 year lapse, but can use my imagination if there is no further explanation. I think J. K. Rowling has more than met the expectations of her readers with this last book. Though in my 50s, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the book and read it. My enthusiasm has even created interest in friends and family to read the books. I will sorely miss Harry Potter and his adventures. Thank you for a wonderful series, Ms. Rowling.— Faye, Bowling Green, Ky.

"Some books are to be tasted, others swallowed, and few to be chewed on and digested" This book was certainly meant to be savored all the way! J.K. Rowling certainly did not disappoint. Like all die-hard potter fans, I had been dying to get my hands on the last book of the series. I picked up the book early morning on Saturday and devoted the next 10 hours devouring the book. There were a few things that I felt could have been handled better. Moody's death and recovering his body could have been explained. The story seemed to drag a bit when they were hiding in the forests etc . Apart from helping Ron reunite with Harry and Hermione, I did not quite understand the significance of the "Deluminator". Snape was finally exonerated and it proved that Dumbledore had always been right about him. It was sad to see Lupin and Tonks die leaving their son behind. The final twist was very well written where Harry comes back having conquered death, for his final battle. Neville's transformation from a clumsy boy into a confident, fearless Gryffindor was very admirable. It was touching to see that Albus Severus was the only child of Harry's to have Lily's eyes. Finally like Dumbledore always said, it was love that triumphed- the love that Lily had for Harry and the love that Snape had for Lily.— AJS, Boston

I think it is the best of the series...hands down. There is more action and so much going on I had trouble putting it down even to take a brief break. It will be the best of the movies, too.— Gil Lybrooke, Decatur, Texas

The book is an incredible read. It places Harry Potter in literatures collection of true heroes, following in the footsteps of countless heroes before him. The hype, however, damaged a few moments of the book. The anticipation of a major, cathartic death in the last few chapters led to a build up of emotion - but not explosion. However, going back and re-reading the last 50 pages, I realized it was never about an earth shattering death. Instead, it was about Harry taking charge of his destiny. And that, in the end, is what every book was about.— Matthew, Sacramento

I, like most readers, read this book in two sittings. Not because I was afraid of catching a spoiler, but because I've waiting a long time to finally know the ending. I found the "nineteen years later" part to be a little to neat and easy, although the rest of the book kept me up for hours each night. I will definitely read this book, as I did the others, over and over again. What enjoyable reading!!— Gina, Morton, Ill.

I agree with JJ that the ending was sugary and dissatisfying, but "20 years later and everything is perfect"?! How about, "20 years later and all the characters are so stuck in the past, they must name all their children after dead characters and allow old house rivalries to remain even after they presumably grew up partly by discovering the good in those they despised"? I wonder what J.K. means by showing us a world where, if nothing is worse than when Voldemort was alive, absolutely nothing is better than before he reappeared on the scene? Or did she really mean for the the last bit to be just cutesy schmaltz after all the drama?— Faye

Rowling is clear to point out in the book that Harry needs to know every little detail of the events surrounding himself and his past. She might also want to note that her readers have the same desire, and while the story and writing were brilliant - by far my favorite of the series - I'd have liked a few more details in the epilogue, particularly regarding Harry's profession. It's sad to think we'll never see Harry again, because I would think there could be any number of books written on the years following Voldemort's demise. Still, Rowling gets a standing ovation from me.— Tom, Millerburg, Penn.

I think the Harry Potter series will join others as reflecting the great myths of our time. What I particularly liked is that evil was overcome by those who were honest, had personal integrity and morals. The omission of religion, adherence to a certain dogma and being "saved" yet being able to stand against the most  dark figure of evil was fantastic. Who would know such truths could be found in a children's book? (Wink!)  My daughter was 11 when the first book came out. How wonderful for a generation of those children soon to turn 21 for their process of growing up emotionally to be captured by the series. I will always be a fan. I love the way the ending leaves room for more. What other phenomena of our time has united so many people in such a positive way. My generation had Kennedy and King. This one has Harry...— Connie, Manchester, Md.

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