No time to post the rest of this yesterday. But without further ado, I present the end of my conversation with bestest pal Beth G. about Deathly Hallows:
J: Well, Beth, when I asked you what questions you might have for the mighty JKR, you didn't have much to say. So we'll gloss over that one and move on. Any favorite characters in Book 7? My personal ones - besides my already discussed admiration for the moral ambiguities of my dear Snape - happen to be Ron and Neville. Ron for all the obvious reasons - not the least of which is that the sidekick gets to play a rather central role here. And his love for Hermione is so touching. And he grows up to be a rather wonderful (and still Ron-like) adult in the epilogue. As for Neville, I simply have to say he grabbed my heart and held it tight. (metaphorically speaking, of course. Otherwise, ick) He kept up the good fight. He came out bloodied but not bowed. He told Harry he'd kill the snake and he simply did it. And I tear up just thinking about him. The bedraggled nerd who is so much more than his enemies ever gave him credit for. Bravo, Neville. Bravo.
So how about Beth?
B: My favorite characters in Book 7 - that's tough. I'm an equal-opportunity gusher about how neat alll the characters are. I have always admired the women who are able to keep it all together without being helpless or needing rescuing like Mrs. Weasley and Hermione. I've always really like Lupin (and, as an aside - I'm quite ambivalent about the whole 'married to Tonks' storyline. Wasn't being a werewolf code for being gay? Why wouldn't it have been okay to go down that road?) But, in the end, I am in total agreement with you - Ron and Neville were the awesome-ist in Book 7. Geeky boys who can save the day do it for me very time.
J: Let's pause here while Beth and I collect ourselves. Ah, the mutual love for the geeky guys. Nerd solidarity, anyone else?
J: Okay, pause over. Now the last question. So, how did you feel about how it all turned out? Meet your expectations? Any surprises? Were your predictions correct? Are you satisfied with the outcome? How'd you feel about that 19 years later epilogue? Personally, I love it. Just knowing that Harry and Ginny named a son Albus Severus made me cry yet again.
B: I'm relieved that my dire predictions regarding Harry's demise were not correct. All in all, The Deathly Hallows was very enjoyable and a wonderful way to tie together the series. Albus Severus Potter - what a heavy legacy for one little boy to carry to Hogwarts. The little conversatin between Harry and Albus at the end made me tear up, too. The overwhelming grace of that little moment, the redemption of Severus Snape, was really beautiful. The epilogue was a wonderful way to see that it all turned out the way it should have. We readers deserved to know there was, literally, light andjoy when the mists cleared out. There is something every satisfying in the knowledge that all these young people lived and were able to carry on and marry and have children of their own. They didn't grow up to be minister of magic or headmaster at Hogwarts or lords of the magical realm. Just normal people, living normal happy lives. The best revenge against fascists and tyrants of all stripes.
J: Wow! A fantabulous final answer, Elizabeth. You've said it all, so I'll put this to bed now. And just for the record, I just read Stephen King's review and he, too, loved Mrs. Weasley's "You b----". So we are in great and esteemed company.
Til next time...