Oh, and thanks for Harry Potter, too.
All the things I think (as coherently as I can put 'em together, anyway):
Overall: Very good, thrilling, tale. Lots of action. Pieced together pretty well. I missed a lot of things, although I understand why we parted from the "formula" of the previous books. No school, of course. It would have been silly for Harry to drop everything and go back to school after the events of Half-Blood Prince. But I'll come back to that.
Everything actually served a single point - even things that seemed extraneous were all interconnected. Overhearing the wizards and goblins who were on the run; Remus's cold feet about being a husband and father; Harry becoming a real Master to Kreacher. The past was connected, too. There were times when I had to go all the way back to Sorcerer's Stone to look something up, and there it was. (In this particular case, Dumbledore's Chocolate Frog card.) No, we hadn't been introduced to Dumbledore's family before (although it does explain why he spent so much time at the Hog's Head, eh?), but there have always been new things introduced from book to book, and there was certainly no reason before why much of this WOULD have come up (although Aberforth HAD been mentioned more than once). Dumbledore rarely confided in anyone, and, as we saw more than once, even more rarely in Harry - and, as Harry realizes early on in the book, young boys never think about their teachers ever having been young men themselves.
I saw somewhere that Rowling wrote that epilogue some time ago. She should have updated it at the actual close. It was a lovely, if overly sentimental wrapup, but it didn't tell me a lot of what I wanted to know. We got miles and miles of wonderful backstory in this book - but I still don't know something that's been bothering me since the beginning. Who was James Potter? Who were HIS parents? Why was he so popular, so rich, so well-loved, so important? Why did Lily come to love him after all? Other than, of course, being a descendant of Ignotus Peverell, who WAS he?
But the epilogue. We saw the young Potters and the young Weasleys delivering their children to the Hogwarts Express, just as they had been done, but how's everyone else doing now? How did George get on without Fred? Did he continue with the business? Make it big in his brother's name? I'd rather think so - I'd hate to think he lost heart after the death of his brother. Obviously Ted Lupin grew up well, but did he do so with Godfather Harry? Can we assume, with the rest of Harry & Ginny's brood calling him "Our Ted"? And what does Harry do now? Did he get to finish his final year of school, achieve his N.E.W.T.s, and go on to be an Auror? Become a World-Cup-Winning Seeker? What? How about Ginny, who was shaping up to be a mighty powerful witch? I used to have an epilogue in my head, set many many years later, where Professor Potter, long-time Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher (obviously, the one to break the curse on the job), becomes Headmaster of Hogwarts. But that could be many years down the road. What's he doing now? Living on his family's gold?
How about Ron and Hermione? What are they doing? Hermione might be a great mother, but she was no housewife - something freely admitted right from the start. Her power didn't lay in homemaking spells. So what are they up to, in all these nineteen years? I assume Hermione brought her folks back from Australia and gave them their memories back, at least... But what do they DO? What's everyday life like for the Weasleys and the Potters? And of course, we have to assume from the context of the epilogue that the school was repaired and things got back to normal - most of the teachers survived although one has to also assume that many are now no longer with us simply due to age (such as Minerva).
The deaths of Hedwig, Fred, and Mad-Eye hit me the hardest. I was deeply saddened by losing Remus and Tonks, but she didn't give us enough of them together to really deliver the tragedy that should have been. At least they went together, and Harry got to be the godfather to Teddy that Sirius never could be to him (we hope). Poor little Colin Creevey was sad, too. But I cheered good ol' Neville - did not Neville finally live up to his father's legacy? And I wept with joy at his grandmother's pride in him. That was why Professor Longbottom was a true Gryffindor! Did we ever find out what happened to Hagrid after he disappeared under the spiders? (rahirah is reading our copy now and I can't re-read the final chapter(s) just yet.)
The horcruxes were destroyed by Harry (the diary), Dumbledore (the ring), Ron (the locket), Hermione (the cup), Crabbe (the diadem), Neville (the snake), and, fittingly enough, Voldemort himself (Harry).
And oh, Snape. Snape, Snape, Snape. I've stood by him as "Friend" all along, although I never thought he was a NICE man, just a TRUSTWORTHY one. His ignominious death was terrible, but at least Harry saw his worth in the end. It's a shame Snape always saw him as "Potter's son" rather than "Lily's son," because that's what built the hatred between them right from the start - of course, that helped keep up the deception. sillymagpie twigged onto Snape being in love with Lily Evans Potter back around Prisoner of Azkaban, I think; she's been putting forth that theory ever since. She was right. But again... that Potter boy. How did he win Lily? Certainly after Snape fell in with his Death Eater friends Lily didn't want anything more to do with him, but what changed about James? What did he DO to win her?
Of course, there's little doubt Rowling told Alan Rickman all this right from the start, considering his performance of the man - a performance that helped everyone see him as a good guy ('cause that sure didn't shine out of the pages); and gives those who never read 'em, but only watched 'em, an ENTIRELY different view of him!
More of the Dark Side proved more multi-sided in the end; Draco, likewise, not a nice kid - but in the end, he did all right. So did his parents, good on them. Go, Narcissa.
And certainly, it IS a cliche when "the hero was willing to give his own life, so he gets to live because he made that choice," but it's still a good cliche. I've always been fond of it, anyway.
No, it's not great literature. Yes, there are great whopping problems in some of the books, and yes, she's not the world's greatest writer. But she created a nifty universe, some great characters, and told a truly entertaining tale in the end, and that's really all I ever look for in a book. I ENJOY this story - I love these characters. I care about 'em. Great writing? Nah. But great storytelling? That I'll give her. The movies may fade away, but I'm willing to bet generations of kids will be loving these books, just as they still love the books I grew up with.
In the end, I feel the same happy-and-sad emotions I did WAY WAY back when I was a little girl and finished The Last Battle for the first time. I guess in many ways I'm still that little girl, all these years later, always moved far more by emotions than anything else. As long as it makes me FEEL, who cares about anything else?
ETA: Ah, yes. And a salute to Dobby, the brave elf who gave his all to save our heroes - and who's been with us, helping Harry, since Book Two (although he's been cut out of all the movies).