Photo Credit: Wallpaper Cave
Missing Downton Abbey? I understand. And so, it’s time to dip back in and talk about all-time favorite moments from the series. Believe me, this list was SO HARD to compile. Honestly, I could probably write an individual post for each character’s best scenes. But as that would take forever, I’ve done my best here and hope you’ll add your own! I just tried to go with the ones that came to mind quickly as I considered each season. 

Season 1 

Sybil encourages Gwen 
Sybil’s relentless efforts to help housemaid Gwen find a secretary job solidified her as one of the sweetest and most genuine characters of Downton. I’m thinking particularly of the exchange in which Gwen expresses discouragement over a canceled interview. True to form, Sybil offers nothing but smiles and gentle words of support, assuring Gwen that they mustn’t give up. She encourages, “No one hits the bull’s eye with the first arrow,” reminding both Gwen and viewers that perseverance is key. 

Anna tells Mr. Bates she loves him 
Photo Credit: Anna May Bates Tumblr
Oh, how we love these two. And Anna’s not much for ceremony, is she? Her declaration of love for Mr. Bates is one of her first moments of vulnerability with him, but if he won’t say it, then by golly, she will! Their feelings are in the open after this scene, and we also have an early glimpse of Mr. Bates’s troubled past. From this moment, I was all about this couple. I just love them and love the dialogue:
Anna: I love you, Mr. Bates. I know it’s not ladylike to say it, but I’m not a lady and I don’t pretend to be. 
Bates: You are a lady to me. And I never knew a finer one. 
Sigh. 

Season 2 

Mary wishes Matthew luck at the train station 
This scene in which Mary bids Matthew “such good luck” and gives him her lucky charm as he goes off to war has become one of the most iconic moments in the entire show. I’ve heard it consistently brought up in interviews both with the actors and creators of the show, and with good reason. It’s a wonderfully constructed sequence, from the costumes to the dialogue to the beautifully swelling music. But the tension and unspoken emotions are what give this scene such power. Both want to admit love for the other, but they hold back and talk about surface level concerns instead. Both know Matthew could very well be going to his death, but the topic is firmly avoided. You ache for them but also want to tell them to say what they’re longing to say while there’s time.

Matthew and Mary’s snowy engagement 
I mean, what do we even need to say about this part? It’s probably the most romantic moment in any season of Downton. We’d been waiting so long for it and it exceeded all expectations. Matthew and Mary are finally free, they’d just shared a lovely dance, and then the last barrier between them disappears in the clouds of beautiful, falling snow. And then season 2 closes on their happy laughter. What more could you ask for? I never get tired of this scene. 

Season 3 

Tom and Sybil’s reunion at Downton 
As much as I like Tom Branson, his leaving pregnant Sybil behind while he fled the police frustrated me, even if they did agree to it previously. But when they’re reunited at Downton, his sobs of relief cut to the quick. They embrace and kiss rather fiercely and it gives quite a lot of feels. I think it’s an important and clearly moving moment for them, not to mention the beginning of a transition in Tom’s feelings toward Downton Abbey and his new family there.

Season 4 

Carson comforts Mary 
The friendship between Mr. Carson and Lady Mary has always been one of my favorites to watch. In many ways, he’s a better father to her than Robert, and this scene demonstrates that amazingly well. Mary rarely becomes vulnerable in front of Robert, but here, she completely breaks down in Carson’s arms and he is unfazed by it. I appreciated that Carson was one of the primary people to bring her out of her heavy grief after Matthew’s loss. For all of Carson’s stern dignity, we know a big, tender heart beats beneath it all, and his steadfast devotion to Mary is sweet to watch. Without fail, this scene turns me into a sobbing child every time I see it. 

Mary discusses Rose with Jack Ross 
I find this scene fun because it so excellently demonstrates both the changing times and how much Mary has grown. It brings together two characters that are so unlikely to interact, and they both show respect for each other. An earl’s daughter and a black jazz singer having tea together? It’s definitely the 1920s, folks! I found Jack a dynamic, cool character who certainly brought a new energy to the ensemble. Plus, in season 1, Mary scoffed at Matthew for being a lawyer, and now in season 4, she’s holding a civil conversation with a band singer. On top of which, she compliments him and shows faith in his character. There’s class and respect on all sides, and it’s an incredibly enjoyable exchange. 

Season 5 

Rose covers for Lord Sinderby 
I thought Lady Rose’s marriage to Atticus Aldridge and the tensions accompanying it were some of the most interesting aspects of season 5. Their religious differences sparked immediate conflict, the strongest objections coming from Atticus’s father, Lord Sinderby. But a few months after the wedding, he receives proper humbling when his former mistress and illegitimate child arrive unannounced at a huge family gathering. Hardly missing a beat, Rose saves his skin by running up to the woman and greeting her as an old friend. Her resourcefulness and quick thinking do her credit, and I think the scene also shows how much she’s grown up since we met her. Her prim flightiness has been replaced with a womanly dignity that cares deeply for others. And it’s a moment of reckoning for Lord Sinderby, for his prejudices have been challenged and Rose’s generous spirit has forced him to self-examination. 
Photo Credit: Downton Abbey Wikia

Season 6 

Violet’s first good one-liner of the season 
I’m speaking, of course, of when Violet dryly quips to Isobel, “Does it ever get cold on the moral high ground?” This might hit the top five of my favorite Dowager quotes ever. So perfectly and quintessentially Violet-like. And what’s more, the scene in which she says it is a pretty enjoyable exchange between her and Isobel, and it’s also the moment when Violet rightfully punishes Denker with fear of dismissal. How I miss that lovely, witty Dowager Countess! 

Violet tells Mary to make peace 
With Edith and with herself, to be precise. I’ve discussed at length how much I love Mary’s development in season 6, and this scene with Violet and her visit to Matthew’s grave afterwards are amazing turning points in it. Violet and Mary are quite similar – sharp, clever, fierce, and hiding soft hearts beneath a load of tradition and societal expectations – so it’s ultimately Violet who can help Mary face her bad behavior toward Edith and her fear of loving again. Their conversation here and Mary’s subsequent moment at Matthew’s grave show Mary at her most vulnerable, which we don’t often see, so they’re incredibly moving moments. The cemetery scene makes me cry buckets every time.


Edith and Mary’s reconciliation 
This is another scene that makes me tearful. Mary and Edith have never seen eye-to-eye and have both been downright cruel to each other. But for all their differences and petty bickering, they’re sisters, as this scene so beautifully reminds us. It’s a poignant moment where they both seemingly choose to look beyond their feuding and remember the bigger picture. Many fans express frustration over their inability to get along, but honestly, I think they’re a good representation of real-life siblings who don’t naturally get along. And this scene shows that there’s hope for those too! Edith’s words are truly stirring: 
“Because in the end, you’re my sister. And one day, only we will remember Sybil. Or Mama or Papa, or Matthew or Michael, or Granny or Carson, or any of the others who have peopled our youth. Until at last, our shared memories will mean more than our mutual dislike.” 

New Year’s 1926 
It had to be quite a challenge to figure out how to close a show like Downton Abbey, but I couldn’t have been happier with the result. As everyone laughed and toasted and kissed each other Happy New Year to the beautiful tune of “Auld Lang Syne,” I was feeling every happy emotion possible. They were all reflecting on times gone by and looking forward in hope to the future, and I was bursting in love for all of them as I wished them well even though the cameras were moving away from their lives. How I love those Crawleys and their entourage!
What are your favorite moments of Downton Abbey? What seasons were your favorites? I'd love to hear and discuss more!


*Unless otherwise noted, the photos in this post are DVD screen captures. I do not own the rights to the photos with Internet source credits. No copyright infringement intended*
For the first time in a while, I have a big personal update to share. This southern girl is moving a few states north!! Yes, in a few short months, I’ll be packing up and moving to Washington D.C. to intern with the Family Research Council for the fall semester. I applied for this internship on a whim last fall, and now, through a series of unlikely events, I’ve been offered it and I’ve taken a leap and accepted. The Family Research Council operates under Focus on the Family and works to advance family-oriented causes in public policy. They take a new class of interns every semester, and those interns are placed throughout the organization’s various departments based on aptitudes and interests. Interns also live together in apartment housing provided by the program, so hopefully we’ll all like each other quickly! 
Since accepting this internship, many people have asked if I’m excited. The short answer is yes, but it’s also complicated. I applied in an attempt to give myself a wide array of options, and I’m now looking forward to having the chance to do something that’s so outside the box for me. As much as I love Birmingham, I did grow up here and didn’t travel far for college. I’ve felt kind of stuck over the last several months. It’ll be very good for me to go somewhere that’s so different and interact with completely new people. But at the same time, it’s unnerving to think of being thrown into the unfamiliar, of having to learn my way around a city like D.C., and of not knowing anyone. In many ways, it’d be nice to just be settled for a while and not pick up and move. But on the whole, it’s a new adventure and there wasn’t a good reason for me to pass it by. Yes, the metro system will be daunting, I’ll probably hate the crowds, and it’s a pretty horrifying and embarrassing time in American politics. But I’m also hopeful of new friendships, excited for the nearness to so many historical sites, and definitely want to make it up to New York for a Broadway show or two. And despite the sad state of the country, I’m grateful for the chance to have a small part in defending the truth publicly through this organization. 

So, who’s been to D.C. in the last few years? What famous historical things there aren’t free but worth seeing? What restaurants do I need to look out for? What’s the best route to New York from D.C.? I am all ears.
When I began thinking about everything I wanted to discuss from the Harry Potter books, I quickly realized I’d need more than one post! So, now that I’ve shared initial thoughts and answers to some big questions, here are some other “favorites” of mine from the series. You know that everyone gets envious when reading about all those nifty magical tools, so I’m starting with that, and then on to some favorite scenes! Both are of course difficult questions, but doing my best here. 

Favorite Magical Things that I’d Want 

Invisibility Cloak
Cliché? Maybe. But that probably means there’s a good reason a lot of people mention it! And seriously, who wouldn’t want one of these?! It serves Harry and his friends quite well on countless occasions, and there would be so many practical uses for it in the real world too. I’d probably start with some simple people-watching at a weird place.

Time Turner 
As we hear quite forcefully from Hermione in Prisoner of Azkaban, the Time Turner must be used responsibly, so care would be required with this one. But I’ve been thinking that for starters, it’d just be an excellent way to simply sleep late more often. Sleep in, then go back a few hours and get things done. Productive AND well rested every day, so a total win-win.

Undetectable Extension Charm
This was by far one of my favorite magical things from Deathly Hallows. It was a true lifesaver for Harry, Ron, and Hermione on their extensive camping trip in the first part of the book. All they needed for weeks was readily available in a tiny bag that Hermione could stuff in her sock! Pretty sure every woman could use this one these days. Packing and traveling made so simple.

Favorite Scenes

Obstacles to the Sorcerer’s Stone 
This climactic sequence in the first book sticks out to me because it sort of brings together our three main players in a way that hasn’t been seen before. They’ve worked together plenty, but this is one of the first instances when they’re all in legitimate danger, there’s no quick escape route, and they only have each other. And I really enjoy how each obstacle to the Stone plays to their various strengths – Hermione’s brains and memory, Ron’s chess skills, Harry’s broomstick flying, etc. And it’s one of the earliest moments in which they all realize how much they care about each other. Ron’s sacrifice of himself in the chess game really gave me some feels, let me tell ya. 

Escape in the Flying Car 
Take that Dursleys! Harry’s worst birthday turned to the best one in a flash. I loved the grand getaway and how this scene put to rest his doubts about Ron and Hermione’s friendship with him. Fred and George’s antics made it that much better too.

Harry, Hermione, and the Time Turner
I really love this part! And I must say, I think the film captures it so well! This is one of the scenes that makes me step back and marvel at J.K. Rowling’s imagination. It’s such a creative plot twist that kind of makes your head hurt and keeps you in suspense, all the while making you laugh at the right moments. I also think it’s a great, enjoyable turning point for Harry and Hermione’s friendship.
Hermione and Harry during the Time Turner sequence in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Photo Credit: Fanpop
Hermione Tries to Explain Women to Harry  
The great thing about Harry is that even though he’s an incredibly likable hero and easy to relate to, he has many flaws. A glaring one is that he’s absolutely hopeless with women. His disastrous Valentine’s Day date with Cho Chang in Goblet of Fire had me rolling with laughter, and Hermione’s kind attempt to enlighten him afterwards made it even more amusing. She’s frequently a few steps ahead of Harry and Ron, but she’s got light-years on them in the romance-and-feelings category, and it’s shown fabulously here. J.K. Rowling gets into their teenage minds brilliantly well, and I was inwardly applauding Hermione’s explanation. She says exactly what I’d been wanting to say to Harry for several pages, and his cluelessness is flat-out hilarious. 

Umbridge Gets Undermined  
“Anyway…we’ve decided we don’t care about getting in trouble anymore.” (Fred Weasley, Order of the Phoenix Chapter 27)

Fist pump! Once Dolores Umbridge had her nasty claws in practically every corner of Hogwarts, I couldn’t WAIT to see the Weasley twins make some well-deserved chaos for her. Their fabulous, rule-breaking fireworks show inside the school was an excellent start, and I loved seeing the students and teachers fight back along with them in various ways, sometimes quiet and sometimes obvious. McGonagall and Flitwick are especially enjoyable in their rebellion. And of course, the twins’ exodus is just as epic as it’s memorable and hysterical. I may have cheered out loud as I read it:

“We won't be seeing you,” Fred told Professor Umbridge, swinging his leg over his broomstick.
“Yeah, don't bother to keep in touch,” said George, mounting his own. 
Fred looked around at the assembled students, and at the silent, watchful crowd. “If anyone fancies buying a Portable Swamp, as demonstrated upstairs, come to number ninety-three, Diagon Alley – Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes,” he said in a loud voice, “Our new premises!” 
“Special discounts to Hogwarts students who swear they’re going to use our products to get rid of this old bat,” added George, pointing at Professor Umbridge. 
“STOP THEM!” shrieked Umbridge, but it was too late. As the Inquisitorial Squad closed in, Fred and George kicked off from the floor, shooting fifteen feet into the air… Fred looked across the hall at the poltergeist bobbing on his level above the crowd. 
“Give her hell from us, Peeves.” 
And Peeves, who Harry had never seen take an order from a student before, swept his belled hat from his head and sprang to a salute as Fred and George wheeled about to tumultuous applause from the students below and sped out of the open front doors into the glorious sunset. (Order of the Phoenix Chapter 29) 

YES YES YES AND HIGH FIVES ALL AROUND!!!

Photo Credit: Wallpaper Cave
Malfoy Manor 
I think I might have been legitimately shaking as I read this sequence. It’s a huge turning point in Deathly Hallows and is incredibly charged with so many different emotions – suspense, panic, surprise, empathy, relief, shock, horror, grief, and a lot of other things in between. The tension between all those different feelings is masterfully written. I was afraid for Harry and Ron and Hermione, sat in wretched suspense when the Sword of Gryffindor was noticed, and felt the boys’ pain as they had to hear Hermione scream. Draco Malfoy’s position is also an interesting one. I actually feel a small twinge of sympathy for him here, even though he is a vicious bully. You get the sense that even though he’s always resented and mistreated Harry, this is still his schoolmate and he doesn’t want to turn him over to Voldemort. But he’s trapped by his parents and many other expectations and can’t see a way out. At the same time, we’re more than happy when Harry disarms him in the escape scuffle. Dobby’s arrival brings very palpable relief and hope, and the skirmish with the Malfoys, Bellatrix, and their accomplices is thrillingly action-packed. Then there’s another immediate tension between relief and sadness after their escape. They’ve made it out, but at the cost of Dobby. Sob. I think Harry’s overwhelming grief makes this death one of the saddest. 

The Final Showdown 
Everything’s been building to this moment of final face-off between Voldemort and Harry for so long, and J.K. Rowling outdid herself. I could picture everything so vividly as I read it and could almost hear everyone crying and shouting when it was all over. And let’s just take a second to admire how well Rowling describes wand dueling. Like its completely made up...how does she do it?! The two major duels at the end – Mrs. Weasley vs. Bellatrix and Voldemort vs. McGonagall, Kingsley, and Slughorn – could not have been more epic. CHEERS FOR MOLLY WEASLEY, AM I RIGHT?! What a woman! And I love how Harry stays under the Invisibility Cloak until the perfect moment, but still fights and protects others from beneath it as he waits. The images of him pulling it off to everyone’s astonishment and then of him and Voldemort circling each other like lions about to pounce are truly spine-tingling. Harry’s ensuing revelation of the truth about Snape, the Elder Wand, and so much more heightens the excitement. There’s a weighty sense that he now has a distinctive upper hand on Voldemort, and the final defeat brings so many waves of exhausted relief and emotion. I love Harry’s later moment with Ron and Hermione. It’s moving to see these three conclude the biggest sequence of the story in the same way that they’ve come through so many other obstacles – together. I just hope they found some good wizard counseling after things calmed down a bit. As Harry said, they’ve frankly had enough trouble for a lifetime.
Photo Credit: Moviebreak
What magical things from the Harry Potter books would YOU like to have in real life? What are YOUR favorite scenes throughout the series? Dont hold back! I’d love to hear!
My friends and I went to a wedding recently, hence the dresses in that picture. It's been a beautiful spring and early summer in Birmingham so far! As for your Eloquent Finds, I have several fun tidbits from some famous British faces for you today. As mentioned, it can be beneficial to look behind the scenes occasionally, so here’s a bit of help :) Additionally, check out a new vacation idea and a creative Mothers’ Day article. And of course, quotes! Enjoy and let me know what you think! 

Links to Check Out

BAFTA’s 60-Second Challenge with Eleanor Tomlinson 
Take a minute and listen to this lovely lady behind Poldark’s fiery Demelza answer a lightning round of questions! She’s charming and witty and just delightful. Here’s hoping Poldark snags a BAFTA award this Sunday. She and Aidan Turner, Ross Poldark himself, will be Poldark reppin’ at the ceremony and I can’t WAIT to see pictures of them in style! 

Downton Abbey, Season 6: What’s Next for the Cast? 
Missing Downton Abbey? Yeah, me too. Check in here with the stars of the show and see where they’re headed next. Some of them are going in a decidedly un-Downton-like direction! Anna, a murderer?! Never would have pegged that one. 

How to Take a Reading Vacation 
Anyone fancy it? Pick me please. 

A Conversation with Daniel Radcliffe and J.K. Rowling 
Because I’m a nerd, I read behind-the-scenes articles and watch interviews when I read a new book or see a new movie. So, since Harry Potter has taken over my life in recent weeks, I’ve watched quite a few interviews with the film stars. This is one of my favorites. I found it moving to see J.K. Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe – the primary faces of the Harry Potter phenomena – chatting it up and happily reminiscing on how the stories began and all that happened from there. I kind of want to be friends with them both.

My Favorite Fictional Mothers 
I loved this Mothers’ Day weekend post on Modern Mrs. Darcy! There are certainly many wonderful fictional mothers out there. Who are your favorites? I’d probably add Marmee from Little Women, Maria von Trapp from The Sound of Music, and of course Downton Abbey’s fabulous Dowager Countess if I’d made the list! 

Cool Quotes 

Nothing makes a man more reverent than a library. –Winston Churchill 

Nowhere else outside the New Testament have I found terror and comfort so intertwined. –C.S. Lewis 

It does not do to dwell on dreams, Harry, and forget to live. –Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001 film) 

An education forced is no education at all. –Professor Nuttham, Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber 

God is not in love with some future version of you. –Matt Chandler 

If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden. –The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett 

It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. –Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Have a great weekend! 
If you’ve kept up with me recently on here or on Instagram, you know that last month, I read the Harry Potter series for the first time ever. I was never bitten by the Potter bug as a child or adolescent as it simply isn’t my go-to genre, and I honestly found the wide obsession a bit off-putting. I began considering them in college, and they became the “I’d like to read it eventually” pick on my mental list. I soon randomly watched the first four movies in the franchise and enjoyed them okay, but still knew I needed to read the books to appreciate everything. So when I finally picked them up, it was basically a first go-round. What followed were the most whirlwind, suspenseful, packed-with-feels 3.5 weeks of my reading life! I’ve come up with four big questions I’ve been asked often since finishing them that I’ll unpack here, as well as an overall big idea that impressed itself on me as I read the books and as I’ve been thinking about them since. So… 

Big Question #1: Which Book Was My Favorite? 
An impossible question. Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets are charmingly funny and have important moments of self-discovery and new friendship. Prisoner of Azkaban amps up the intensity a notch and begins introducing amazing new characters. Goblet of Fire noticeably changes the direction of the series and brings in the darker themes. This is also where teenage struggles begin to appear, and they continue into Order of the Phoenix. These two were probably my least favorites, partly because they felt too drawn out in some places and partly because I was so mad at Harry for a lot of them, especially Phoenix. But after that, Deathly Hallows was incredible. The last few chapters made me feel so many emotions I hardly knew what to do with myself. But I also really enjoyed the first three books because, while very different from the final ones, their themes of innocence and learning magic are just so pleasant to read. The first three also flow together seamlessly in my mind, so it’s somewhat hard to separate them. So that’s my best attempt at that question, unsatisfying as the answer may be. 

Big Question #2: Who Were My Favorite Characters? 
Again, it’s hard to rank these definitively. J.K. Rowling astounded me with her ability to sketch out characters that each had a significant role and a distinct personality that leaped off the page. I could picture every person vividly in my head as soon as I “met” him or her, and Rowling was never afraid to make you angry at various people. I became incredibly frustrated with many characters, but at the same time, I appreciated that Rowling had made them lifelike enough to have that power over me as I read. It made them realistic and made me remember that I’ve probably behaved like that too. So anyway, here’s my best attempt at picking favorites, albeit a feeble one. 

The Big Three: Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger
Though Harry is the official protagonist, it’s difficult (at least for me) to separate him from Ron and Hermione for long. These three are squad goals and enviable partners in crime if anyone is, and they are truly a delight both individually and as a trio. I loved watching them grow and stick together for so long, rough spots and all. Honestly, these three leading characters probably frustrated me the most, but I never stopped rooting for them. Hats off to Ms. Rowling for so masterfully accomplishing that tension. Each of them has individual glaring faults, but they also have endearing quirks and resolute love for each other. I appreciate how strongly they represent deep and abiding friendship. They get annoyed with each other and argue all the time, but at the end of the day, there’s nothing they wouldn’t do for one another. Loyalty, faithfulness, and fearless love are brought to vivid life through their example, and it was entertaining, joyous, and touching to read.
Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint's first screen test together in 2000 as Harry, Hermione, and Ron
Screen Capture Source: YouTube

Fred and George Weasley
These two are my heroes. They had me rolling with laughter and wanting to be at Hogwarts more than anyone else, I’d say. Their epic, rule-breaking fireworks show and eventual defiance of Umbridge were probably my favorite moments in Order of the Phoenix. They remain optimistic in hardship and bring laughter when the others need it. They may seem like mere comic relief in the beginning, but their loyalty and courage become more apparent as the series progresses. When in a pickle, I’d want these guys on my team without a doubt. 

Professor Minerva McGonagall
“A tall, black-haired witch in emerald-green robes stood there. She had a very stern face and Harry’s first thought was that this was not someone to cross.” (Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapter 7) 
How about that for a legit character introduction? Minerva McGonagall is such a boss. Indeed, woe to the one who crosses her. And let’s go ahead and point out that Maggie Smith’s portrayal of her in the movies is literal perfection. That might be one reason I like her so much, but there’s no denying that McGonagall’s a fabulous character. She’s tough, strict, loyal, focused, talented, sharp, and witty all at once, and beneath her stern disciplinarian demeanor, she’s rather a softie. The way she takes charge and teams up with Harry at the end of Deathly Hallows had me cheering on the inside. 

Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks
What a power couple, am I right?! I liked Lupin from the moment he arrived in Prisoner of Azkaban. He’s courageous, a competent teacher, and meets his students on their level. He takes Harry seriously, gains Harry’s trust quickly, and remains calm in overwhelming situations. The pairing of him and Tonks at the end of Half-Blood Prince surprised me, but I was immediately a fan. Tonks is so strong and gets down to business like no other. I found her determined love for Lupin really moving, and she was a valuable member of the Order. Her rescue of Harry after Malfoy’s vicious trick on the Hogwarts Express was a particularly enjoyable moment to read. I’ve already seen how fondly this couple is remembered among Potter fans, and with good reason. Their loss at the end of Deathly Hallows is deeply felt, but I did appreciate seeing in the epilogue that the Potters and the Weasleys kept their son so close in the years following. 

Big Question #3: When Did I Cry and Which Deaths Were the Worst? 
Deathly Hallows brought all the deaths that upset me most, though I will put in an honorable mention for Sirius’s death at the end of Order of the Phoenix. That was a surprising one for me and I hated it primarily for Harry’s sake. But here are the casualties that were most upsetting for me personally. 

Dobby
This was certainly the death that got the most tears out of me. It wasn’t only the death in itself, but also Harry’s deep grief and careful burial of Dobby that finished me. Dobby had become a very special character because of how he chose to use his freedom – loyally serving his rescuer, even though it became dangerous and eventually cost him his life. Dobby’s peace at his end and Harry’s raw pain over losing him made it one of the most gut-wrenching sequences for me. Lots of blinking became necessary, especially when Harry carved his epitaph – Here Lies Dobby, A Free Elf. Oh my heart. 

Fred Weasley
My thoughts while reading this one: “Nooooooooooooo!!!!!” Fred and George were the inseparable peas in a pod, cut from the same cloth, and duplicity personified! How could we go on without one of them? It’s just not right, I tell you! And one of the saddest aspects of his death scene was that since it was in the middle of the battle, there was hardly any time for the others to grieve or process it. And to pile on the feels, even with his last breath, Fred was laughing – 
“And Percy was shaking his brother, and Ron was kneeling beside them, and Fred’s eyes stared without seeing, the ghost of his last laugh still etched upon his face.” (Deathly Hallows, Chapter 31) 
Sob. 

Hedwig
Why why why why why. That’s all I could think when Harry lost Hedwig. She was his companion, his constant, his comfort, his calming presence…WHY?!?? At that point, he’d lost his parents, his godfather, his headmaster, and is about to lose many friends. Did you HAVE to kill his owl too?! Really, Rowling?? This is the death that I can’t reconcile with, if you couldn’t already tell. 

Otherwise for this question, I also cried during Harry’s encounter with Dumbledore in the odd, spiritual, in-between place that Harry says reminds him of King’s Cross Station. I was glad we got to see more of Dumbledore and hear his story, and the connection between these two characters reaches a moving climax here. Dumbledore is such a fount of wisdom, and I love that this quality in him was born out of huge mistakes in his own life, as we find out. And my eyes also misted up at the very end – the relief and joy after Voldemort’s defeat are palpable, and the epilogue shows a blessed, touching return to normalcy that all the characters had been longing for during previous books. 
Photo Credit: Wallpaper Cave
Big Question #4: What Did I Think of Snape by the End? 
Admittedly, I knew upfront that there were mitigating factors for Snape’s behavior that would come to light. I’d read of many fans who name him as their favorite character, so I was curious to see whether I’d be able to excuse his faults. In short, I didn’t think it was enough to completely forgive him, but he was still a mixed bag for me. Snape is an undeniably complex and interesting character, even if not entirely likable. It’s clear that he was mistreated, awkward, and unhealthily obsessed both with Lily Potter and with the Dark Arts in his younger years, and all of that combined to make an extremely conflicted man. His cruelty to Harry stemmed from serious wounds, and though I can’t excuse it, I did sympathize with him more by the end. And though it was misguided, Snape’s love for Lily revealed an unexpected vulnerability in him that I appreciated. I was surprised to see how strongly it drove everything he did, and that was moving. I still don’t think it made up for his utter jerkishness to Harry the whole time, even if he was protecting him behind it all, but it did make him more understandable. 

The Big Main Idea That I Just Can’t Get Over: J.K. Rowling’s Imagination
This is what it all comes down to, right? I am truly forever in awe of this woman’s mind. A witchcraft and wizardry world? Who would have thought it? And on top of that, the painstaking detail that clearly went into Rowling’s creation of it blew me away. As I read the early books, I found myself really wanting to go shopping for the kids’ school books and a pet owl. The very textbook titles, building names, and types of injuries listed at the wizard hospital were all obviously considered with care and implemented purposefully. The underlying logic in every name, spell, tool, game, food, battle, and school subject was just as mind-boggling as it was entertaining, delightful, and fascinating to read. I think those small details to which Rowling clearly paid such excellent attention are what added up to make the stories seem so real and relatable. It’s no small wonder that there’s now a theme park dedicated to Hogwarts and Diagon Alley. I know I want to visit both and now count myself among many fans who cannot thank her enough for the gift of her books.
Because they're adorable
Screen Capture Source: YouTube
Screen Capture Source: YouTube
 
Are you a Harry Potter fan? How do you react to my thoughts on the books? How would you answer these big questions? When did you first read them? I'd love to hear!