Better impression of the book now, now that I've moved away from the reading and am on to the processing of what the book told us.
I think the plot is overall satisfying as a conclusion. This doesn't mean that I found the reading itself fabulous, because the exposition was thick and bogged the pace down, and the escapades had a foolish air to them that sapped my sense of real danger --for almost every death, I thought, "No, really? Huh. How about that." But as far as the plot of it goes, here are the major points with which this book deals that do make it a clever conclusion, if not executed as well as I would like.
-Dumbledore and Snape's true natures are revealed at last and their motives are utterly the opposite of what we'd been shown in books 1-5. Dumbledore was a power-seeking manipulator who was just managing to walk the line of "for the greater good," and Snape was emotion-filled, driven by sacrifice, caring about the needs of the one far more than Dumbledore ever had. How about that. Moreover, Harry discovered the truth, and learned whom he should forgive and whom he should love, and that they were also quite the opposite of what he expected.
-Voldemort truly showed himself capable of infiltrating and taking over the Wizarding World to create a totalitarian state. At-freaking-last, Voldemort was someone to be frightened of, someone with power, someone upon whose side it appeared wise to be on if you wanted to survive. And yet those who had the least bit of true wisdom demonstrated that they were acting out of fear, knew how fragile it was to serve this madman (the lesson of the Malfoys being reduced to a family unit who shared one fate).
-Harry, Ron, and Hermione as a trio did the part they had to in the war, the part they had to because it couldn't be done by force but by stealth, and they formed the head/hand/heart unit that Dumbledore knew could perform that role. The trio, formed so early in the books and so much the center of the story, needed to do that for this tale to be complete.
-Hogwarts, though abandoned for the majority of this book, plays such an important role in the books that the final battleground is shown to take place there. Another "end as you begin" factor, a large one.
-Sacrifices were made in the name of war. Hardship of the body, changes from safe familiar settings, and of course deaths. Sad, regretful deaths.
-Harry recognized the need for his own sacrifice, accepted it and submitted to it. That he was spared, however, is not a cheat, but has been set up since the end of GoF, when Dumbledore recognized that Voldemort's blood ritual suddenly meant Harry would likely be saved (even though, it appears, he could not tell this to Harry since it would have been unfair to reassure Harry on an uncertainty--and possibly obstructed Harry's ability to go into sacrifice unconditionally? Because of the nature of ritual and magic? I'm thinking that's also part of it?). I've been waiting for that to be explained and, hooray, it was every bit as big and as satifying as it hinted it was. YAY for that, one thousand times yay. For that alone I kiss JKR deeply.
-Generations move on and people are still much as they were once great evil is gone from the world, though there remains a sense that evil always returns (Nineteen years, and all is well--so far) but that good will be there to rise to it. Especially in the form of that next generation.
But I still don't like Harry using unforgivables.
As I continue to process what actually happened, I find myself moving past the coldness and into, "Wow. Cool ending for Harry and for the story." This makes me happy. I'd have liked to have felt it during the reading, I admit, but I can live with that. Far far better that things should have happened appropriately. Perhaps another reading of the book will improve on that further--I do plan to pop in the audiobook in a few days, when I get home.
(I've kept my "Whither fanfiction?" thoughts out of this post because the book deserves to be analysed without that baggage. But I'll present fanfiction thoughts later. Hell, I'll present fanfiction later. ^_^ )