I’ve just spent the past day under a vow of silence even a Trappist would have found hard to take. But then they wouldn’t have to had to agree not to pull faces, whimper or twitch either.

Ah, the joys of reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when your other half doesn’t want any spoilers. I’ve been banished to the other half of the house and I’m surprised a tray of food wasn’t left outside the door for fear of contamination. Lucky the cats can’t speak or I’d have been starved for company. I was up at the crack of dawn (okay, a bit later but it didn’t feel like it), waiting not very patiently for the postman?who was very startled to be greeted by a hand instead of a letterbox?and I’ve been devouring it ever since.

You may gather from this that I’m not likely to reveal anything here that will prevent you from reading and enjoying your own copy. No plot points will be disclosed and there will be no hint of what happens at the end. Keeps you on your toes as a reviewer, I can tell you. Although I’m sure that by now, many of you will already have devoured it, too?let us know what you thought by commenting below, but do bear in mind the people who haven’t finished it in yet.

I have to confess that I did feel like Joey in Friends towards the close of the book. He put Little Women in the freezer just before Meg dies so that it didn’t happen. Knowing that, despite petitions to the contrary, this will be the last book and not wanting it to end – yet not being able to bear it not ending.

Fans will be reassured to know that it’s dramatic, moving, funny, exciting (I did have a pang of worry for the film producers who must have been thinking “How do we do that? And how much will it cost?”), complex and fulfilling. Silence is one thing, but the tears sliding down my cheeks on several occasions were eloquent enough.

My goodness, how much she’s crammed into it! Things we vaguely remembered from books long ago, characters we missed (and some we didn’t) and all wound tightly together. So much has changed for all our favourite characters and everyone has changed in very many ways. Be prepared to weep for some you may never have cared for and for many you have. And you won’t have seen any of it coming?devious woman that Jo Rowling…

I guess that brings me to the much-reported deaths. No, I won’t say who, but we knew they would happen. It’s war and there are casualties. I have for some time been rather angry about the casual manner of Sirius’ demise even though I know, as JKR has said, that sometimes people’s deaths are fairly meaningless and stupid. Happily, this isn’t a fate that befalls anyone in this book and we are given opportunity to grieve and to celebrate that they died fighting for something they believed in.

And it’s a war that extends to all corners of the magical world. All creatures must decide where they stand. Past deeds will always come back to get you. And the theme of racial superiority is raised once again?getting children to think about how stressing our differences only leads to hate and destruction may be one of the author’s most long-lasting but subtly done triumphs. Love is the answer and all you need. Love for your family, your friends and, most importantly and surprisingly, for your enemies.

There are many revelations about who did what and why – no one comes out of this squeaky clean. Perhaps especially the central trio, who must learn more about themselves and each other to survive. And I really don’t think it’s a spoiler for anyone that we finally have Harry say that he thinks about Hermione like a sister – foiling a strong section of fandom that’s baffled most of us for years! They’ve all really grown up and Harry finally learns to trust himself instead of relying on others.

When I’ve had more time to process it all, there will a be a very spoilery review and comments section, if you’d like to join us there when you’ve finished reading, packed away the tissues and put the chocolate back in the cupboard…