Oi! Harry Potter makes me so happy!
My sons and I have been into the books ever since my book-buyer husband brought the second one home as a promo shortly before Potter-mania hit the States. My oldest son has, literally, grown up alongside Harry (he is 16 this year-Harry just turned 17). My middle son is growing up with Harry as a literary role-model and my youngest will take the books entirely for granted, having never lived in a Harry-free world.
I think the books are wonderful fun. J.K. Rowling either has an amazing breadth of knowledge or she steals ideas from people who do. I read about many rather specific and sometimes arcane subjects and come across words, names or ideas that she has lifted for this character or that creature in her books. I was reading the June issue of "Friends Journal" a couple of days ago and read a review of a book about a religious sect that began around the same time as the Religious Society of Friends (but never got to be more than a few hundred people but only died out completely in 1979) called "Muggletonians". While their beliefs don't really have anything to do with a disbelief in wizardry or witchcraft, the name is utterly whimsical.
The Quaker connection is that "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" begins with this quote by William Penn:
More Fruits of Solitude
Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas; they live in one another still.
For they must needs be present, that love and live in that which is omnipresent.
In this divine glass they see face to face; and their converse is free, as well as pure.
This is the comfort of friends, that though they may be said to die, yet their friendship and society are, in the best sense, ever present, because immortal.
Being only about a fourth of the way through the book and knowing it is the last one, I feel bittersweet. I'm delighted to know how many people all have had their noses in this book the last couple of days. I love that I'm connected to all these other people in a book that keeps us (pardon me) spellbound. But I'm really sad that this is the last one. Years ago, I read a quote by someone who said that ending a good book is like loosing a dear friend. Multiply that by 7 books and this is a long friendship which is ending. I completely understand why my oldest son did and my middle son is now reading all the books in the series over and over. The characters in the books have become such an intrinsic part of their lives; mine, too, in some contexts. The Harry Potter books will be a point of reference for me and my children for the rest of our lives. I'm glad I share this with my children and our friends.
And now I will go try to wrestle the book out of the hands of my middle son so as to read another chapter before I have to work. (Sharing one book between 3 avid readers is a lesson is patience, let me tell you!)