edit: damn, it got pretty long, sorry!
The first thing I loved is how JK Rowling's writing style has remained the same, right through the series. Even though it's been more than 10 years since she started writing it, and the series has catapaulted her into this intense fame, not to mention all the films & everything else that has come from her characters, the last book reads as though it could have been written at the same time as the first. To me that was so important; like the very essence of Harry Potter was still the same, despite the enormous popularity of it all.
It hit me when I was reading about the Dursley's leaving that this really was the last book; that it was all about to end. Not that I have ever liked the Dursley family, yet I felt sad as they walked about the door, saying goodbye (or not) to Harry for the very last time, because it signified the end. The first battle with the Death Eaters as the seven Harry's and the Order members flew away from Privet Drive made me realise that this book was going to be incredibly action-filled, especially after Mad-Eye's death (which shocked me), not to mention Hedwig's which made me quite sad. I had to keep rereading the part where Bill tells his father that Mad-Eyed had died over & over, because I just couldn't believe he could be killed.
The scenes at the Burrow have always been amongst my favourites in all the books; I love the cosy family atmosphere that they evoke. It was incredibly strange reading the book and realising that they weren't returning to Hogwarts, as in all the previous books, no matter what action has happened in the summer holidays, returning to Hogwarts remained a constant. I missed Neville, Luna, Hagrid, and all the others, but I loved that this book wasn't interrupted with lessons, homework and detentions. Hermione's Undetectable Extension Charm was fabulous (can I have one, please?), and I loved the subtleness of her & Ron's growing relationship (which we all knew would happen), and how it wasn't like an awkward triangle between the three of them (who could stand more OTP angst?)
"Just one more time Master Harry, for luck?" Oh, Kreacher; I found a soft spot for him, after hearing his sad tale (and his marked turnaround in attitude towards Harry & the others thereafter). Though I found it hard to imagine Narcissa and Bellatrix actually being "perfectly lovely" to Kreacher as suggested by Hermione, but it does explain Kreacher's eagerness to pass on information to them, without being actually horrible himself. Of course, the story behind the locket and the fake Horcrux, and the identity of R.A.B was no real surprise, but it was nice to have it confirmed.
I adored how there were so many connections from this book to previous ones; such as the Dumbledore leaving Harry the first Snitch he ever caught, the one he nearly swallowed in Book 1, and the foreign wandmaker who we are told made Krum's wand in Book 4. Little, seemingly meaningless details which come back to life and have a role of importance in the last book; to me, that is plot writing at it's finest. To be able to have the foresight to link all those little details back together, even after 10 years, is amazing to me.
"Three Hallows, which, if united, will make the possessor master of Death" I loved this story running alongside Harry's quest for the Horcuxes; it was unexpected, and it sent shivers down my spine. The Wand, the Stone, the Cloak. Just brilliant. And the unintentional way in which Harry became the Master of the Elder Wand! I loved the additional layers this subplot gave the book, and if I am to be honest, I found the idea of the Hallows much more fascinating than that of the Horcruxes.
"And then with a shudder, the little elf became quite still…" Out of all the death's in the book - Mad-Eye, Hedwig, Fred, Tonks, Lupin, Colin Creevy - it was Dobby's that struck me the hardest. I found myself with tears in my eyes as he whispered "Harry… Potter…"; he loyalty and willingness to always help Harry touched me, and I was devastated to see him die, especially after he saved Harry's (not to mention all the others in the basement of the Malfoy Manor) life. But perhaps Dobby wouldn't have wanted it any other way; he was rescuing his hero, and he died a free elf.
"You were named for two headmasters of Hogwarts. One of them was a Slytherin, and he was probably the bravest man I ever knew" I was rather relieved that my belief that Snape was acting on Dumbledore's orders when he klilled him were correct. Not that I have ever had any real soft spot for Snape (I must admit that I've never been a Snape fangirl), but I refused to believe, after the HBP that Dumbledore's trust in someone could be so mislaid. I had believed the whole time that Dumbledore knew what he was doing, and that he would not be so wrong about anyone; that his trust would not turn out to be his downfall. So I am pleased that this was not the case at all, and that not only was Snape following Dumbledore's instructions ("a quick painless exit [especially] if Greyback is involved"), but that Dumbledore's life was close to ending already anyway.
I really liked the memories in the Pensieve; Snape's eternal love for Lily Evans (and his subsequent dislike for the son who had her eyes, but his father's - Snape's enemy's - attitude); Petunia's longing to go to Hogwarts and then her defensive atttitude against those who could (those "freaks"); Snape's turn to the Dark Arts and his remorse when it cost him the woman he loved; his return back to the "good" side and the risks he was taking acting as a spy for Dumbledore. Like I said, I have never been a huge fan of Snape, but in his death, I found myself having so much more respect for him than I ever had before. RIP Severus.
Happiness seemed to radiate from Dumbledore like light, like fire. Harry had never seen the man so utterly, so palpably content. I was thrilled that Dumbledore made a return, in some form; that all the questions raised about his past and the things we did not know or suspect were answered. I did not want to believe that Dumbledore had dabbled in the Dark Arts when he was younger; that he would allow his sister to die by neglecting her needs. But even though Dumbledore had died, he seemed to be more real than ever in this part of the book; more human than ever before.
The Battle at Hogwarts: oh, the images of this gave me shivers. The final battle, good versus evil… of course, we always knew that it would have to come back to Hogwarts. This scene better be bloody amazing when they make the seventh movie ;) Just… wow.
I am rambling on terribly now, and need to wrap this up; over all, I just fucking loved this book. I felt like all my questions throughout the series have been answered; JK Rowling has done a remarkable job of wrapping up this amazing series, of tying all the loose ends together. I did wish that the Epilogue had been longer, but all in all, an incredible final book to a series that really did change the literary world. I am so sad that it has ended, but at least it was an amazing ending.
PS: So where do I find a copy of Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump? ;)