OK, think I'm recharged and ready to go again....
After rereading DH, I made a list of things I really wanted to discuss. The very first thing on the list was "family", so here we go.
There are so many bits about family in this book. From Harry's family (James, Lily, Sirius, and Lupin) returning to walk with him into the forest, to all the back-story about Dumbledore's family, to the Weasleys....
And I kind of wonder if a lot of people missed the importance of it. From what I've read, the part of the book that most people have had problems with is the epilogue--Why doesn't it have more detail? Why doesn't it tell what their jobs are? Why doesn't it tell more about the rest of the characters? But if you think back through the books, those things don't matter, not really.
From the first time he looked into the Mirror of Erised at age 11, all Harry has ever wanted was to have a family and a normal life. I could go back through and make tallies of how many times he longs for just that--not to be famous or special, but just to be a normal kid. So, after the end of it all, after all he went through, we learn that he got his deepest hearts desire--a normal life with a huge, sprawling, wonderful, loving family. And to top it off, that family was comprised of Ron and Hermione and Ginny, the people who had really become his family all along. That is, I think the best ending we could have gotten, and the only one I really needed. (Of course, if you're reading this J.K. Rowling I certainly won't say no to that tell-all encyclopedia in a few years!)
That's the big one. But there are so many other little bits.
Some of my favorites were the supposed "bad" families.
The Blacks who were full of pure-blood mania, but still loved each other despite their bigotry. Poor "brave Regulus" who turned against Voldey when Voldey was so cruel to Kreacher, and then made it seem as if he had died ignominiously--when really he was a hero--in order to protect his family.
The Malfoys. Yes, they've been a nasty bunch, but in the end--in contrast with Bellatrix who would sacrifice anything and anyone if it helped Voldey--they cared more about each other than having power or getting ahead. And in the end, that's what kept them all alive rather than being killed with the rest of the Death Eaters.
And while we're talking about getting ahead--Dumbledore's family. I don't want to go into this too much because "Dumbledore" is one of the next things on my list of things to discuss, but I think it took his sister dying to make him learn how important his family was to him. I think it's a common mistake we all make--taking the people we love for granted, putting our own individual goals above their happiness--and, as happens in the story we often learn where our "treasure" really is just a shade too late.
But then sometimes, just like Percy Weasley, we aren't too late. How wonderful was it that he finally made it back, and just in time too. Just a little later and it would have been too late for him and Fred.
And the rest of those Weasleys! Ron, who struggled between protecting his family on the one hand and Harry and Hermione (who might as well have been family) on the other. Molly, kicking ASS when her baby girl was threatened.
And Lupin--who thought he was leaving his family for their own good--but luckily got some sense knocked into him and got to be a dad for a little bit at least.
What am I forgetting?
Oh year, the greater, whole-Hogwarts family. The professors, the students, the ghosts, the creatures, the plants--all the parts that Harry loved and was willing to even die for that surrounded him and helped him at the last. I really almost missed it the first time I read the book--when all the families of all the students come in, led by Charlie Weasley and Slughorn, as reinforcements to come to the defense of Hogwarts and all the people inside. Wasn't that just a beautiful scene?
Because really discussing "family" is just another way of discussing "love"--and in the end it was the love of all of his friends--his adopted family--that leveled the playing field and enabled Harry to win.