now that Harry Potter mania is receding, I I'm weighing in (late!) with a few thoughts.
could never get into the books. I tried, twice with the first book (HP&tPS) and once with the second (HP&tCoS). I got to page 35 on the first book and to page 20 on the second. the writing was so plodding it was a chore to get that far.
I can't accept the excuse that "well they are children's books". some of the best books ever written were/are children's books and they manage to have language which is creative, thoughtful, emotional, and lyrical. The Chronicles of Narnia come to mind, so does The Earthsea cycle, H.C. Andersen's Fairy Tales, and many many others.
I understand that the writing lightened and the pace quickened for the later books in the series; but having been already disappointed and with many other books fighting for attention, I decided to pass.
I don't even get Rowling's big selling point: that Harry Potter is so *imaginative* and that she created *such an amazing world*. I find Harry to be adequate, but not particularly different than the many other "heroes" and "seekers" in literature who have found themselves to be the ONE (i.e. "the boy who lived") and aided with a motley crew of loyal helpers and supporters have banished the EVIL one. as to the "magical wizardly world" is mostly gimmicks, and movie gimmicks (i.e. visual) at that: the 9 3/4 train platform, the mail owls, Diagon Alley, quidditch… is all really dress up of the mundane: getting your school supplies, preparing for the trip, traveling there, school sports, etc.
ditto the first two movies: boring, plodding, glacial pace. the kids were cute especially Ron Weasley/Rupert Grint, but his role was the time-honored best bud/2nd banana.
one particular sore point I have with the Harry Potter movies doesn't even have anything to do with the movies at all: it is the apparent drive to have every living British/Irish thespian appear in a role. I have no idea if they have made this a requirement to get you actor's license, but c'mon… and yes, I realize is each actor's choice to accept an offered role, but a small part of me dies upon finding out that Michael Gambon, so sublime in Dennis Potter's The Singing Detective is playing Dumbledore. or that Robbie Coltrane is Hagrid. or that Helena Bonham-Carter is L'Estrange… makes me think that Helen Mirren casting in HP6 or HP7 is imminent. ;(