I just finished reading the last Harry Potter book a few days ago, and I feel that sadness that one feels when a good friend has departed, the kind of feeling one always has after finishing up a good read. The Harry Potter books are like crack.
I thought the last book definitely dragged for a while, but that the ending made up for it. I felt quite satisfied by the ending, it seemed to sum up the series satisfactorily without excessive cheesiness. Harry Potter goes on to live out a normal existence (as normal as a wizarding existence can be, of course), to be a family man, sending off his tykes to Hogwarts in turn. And honestly, this felt just right for a lad like Harry Potter, because he never really was much of a messianic figure anyway—he was mostly just like any other wizard kid who just wants to play Quidditch and drink butterbeer and snog in hidden hallways—he just happened to get caught up in extenuating circumstances on a frequent basis, from which his good friends, guardian headmaster Dumbledore, and lady luck always rescued him.
What made Harry special was this personal struggle against the darker parts of his soul, represented externally by Voldemort. Harry’s triumph in the end is not over Tom Riddle, but rather over his own greed, his own ambition, his own desire. I have read criticism (such as in this article in the New York Times by a critic who admits that “I would give a lot to understand this phenomenon [the rampant popularity of the Potter books and movies] better.”) of the character of Voldemort, but I think what is missed in criticizing Voldemort is that he isn’t so much a distinct villainous murderer as he is a representative of the dark gravity of Potter’s own inner demons.
When Harry confront his own urges, and realizes what truly matters to him, he discovers his own true power. And that is a power that even muggle-borns could wield.