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I must be mad...I finished it just 4 and a half hours ago and am awake again. Actually, it's just that I can't sleep -  I really want to get these thoughts out of my head before I look though a few other LJs and then, perhaps, try to get more sleep.

Firstly, I'll admit that this book didn't surprise me much, at least not in the important plot points. For about half a year after HBP, I frequented the daily_snitch (and hogwarts_today , but that's completely about fanfiction...), and let's just say that there were a lot of people who managed to think like JKR. Let's start with the obvious ones.

We knew it would bite the 5th film's makers a bit...even his middle name was predicted correctly: R.A.B. = Regulus Arcturus Black, although the details are  a bit off in the fanfics I've read (from exactly how Regulus dies to who planted the original Horcrux in the cave). With hindsight, of course only Voldermort himself would have placed the locket there, and Kreacher being the one offered. I'm only upset that we don't get enough to really construct his character - his early life, his relationship with Sirius etc. I wish we could have met Regulus, even if only in someone's memory - Dumbledore was right about the treatment of house-elves, but it also makes me wonder at exactly what happened to Sirius in his early years that put so much distance between Kreacher and himself. Kreacher's change really stunned me, but it actually fits with what we know of house-elves so far - they are loyal to a fault.

With regards to Snape being "Dumbledore's man through-and-through", again, much of it was already guessed, very accurately too (such as Snape killing Dumbledore on the latter's orders, and Lily and Snape's relationship - I can even name a fic that has them as friends, although the author was very very imaginative as to the reason they finally went their separate ways). But JKR really let too much of the cat out of the bag whenever she mentioned Lily. Without that clue, it is likely that only a few may have pieced together the fact that Lily was the reason Dumbledore was convinced of Snape's loyalty. The doe Patronus: I thought "Lily" almost at once (as a link to a particular someone, not that she could have cast it them), and two chapters later..."it can't be him, can it?", though Snape was the only one that made sense. And he did have access to Gryffindor's sword... Poor Severus, having to maintain his cover whilst protecting the students at Hogwarts. I'm actually feeling sorry that he doesn't seem to have a portrait at Hogwarts - although, after all he went through, I'm sure he just wants some peace. Nice touch for Harry (and Ginny) to remember him though.

The Horcruxes were, I felt, pretty well thought out too. In the end, their destruction turned out to be quite simple (Dumbledore's injury being due to, in his own words, him being "such a fool"), dependent on something that can destroy it beyond magical repair. Admittedly, it was a little unbelievable that they managed to break into the Lestranges' Gringott's vault AND get out (was the dragon planted there right from the start just for this purpose?). And the debacle in the Room of Requirement?

That is probably the hardest part to take - how everything worked out so perfectly. "The little flaw in the plan" isn't the only issue. Why did Voldermort give Harry an hour so that he could conveniently take a look at Snape's memories?

As for the little things that annoy(ed) me:
  • few really important deaths on Harry's side (well, the loss of two side characters in particular has me crying buckets inside)...
  • losing touch with everyone not in the trio - though I guess that was unavoidable...
  • how in the world did Aberforth get the other half of the mirror that Sirius was meant to be carrying on himself at all times?
  • The last chapter and line were really really short...and I don't know, after such a long book, "All was well" just felt so...anti-climatic.
The more minor things that kept me awake...

I probably should have made a 'what I expect' post, because there were a few things I thought would happen that did happen...
  • The Weasleys to be targeted. With 9 of them, at least one was definitely going to kick the bucket. If JUST one, it would never have been Arthur or Molly (Harry's not going to lose more parent figures - and no, a certain someone else doesn't count); Ginny's fate was connected to Harry's and JK worded the prophecy quite specifically; Bill had already had his face savaged; Charlie is not prominent enough to make an impact on readers; Percy needed to be redeemed; that left...Ron and the twins. I never thought that both Ron and Hermione would be gone, and the loss of one would just have devastated the other...so, it was Fred and George. And after George lost his ear...
  • Neville would be professor...ever since JK said that it wasn't who we expected, I assumed it would be him.
  • Certain deaths: Voldermort, Bellatrix, Snape and Wormtail were obvious.
I have no idea who was spared - it could have been anyone from Percy (even with what I said above) to Hagrid to most of the teachers, but...the two people that JKR decided to sacrifice whom she had decided not to kill before were most probably...Lupin and Tonks. Not enough people that we were close to in the Order had died, and given that Bill was to survive, there was only one other couple whose sacrifice would have meant something. I should have seen the warning signs...the pregnancy was a big clue, really, but they were the one pair I really hadn't wanted to die.

Gtg out to lunch soon, so more nitpicks I haven't quite put in words yet and LJ browsing will have to wait...