Finished Order of the Phoenix last night.
Things that irritated me: the weakly paced, overly drawn out plotting. The story that depends on characters not speaking to each other. And the fact that Rowling doesn’t know how to kill off characters well.
This last was a gripe for me in the last book as well as this one. Killing characters is necessary to make the war real, but I think Rowling thinks that’s as far as their deaths need to go. So both the characters she’s killed off merely die because they get in the line of fire when people are shooting. In Order of the Phoenix the character who dies does die fighting, until in Goblet of Fire, but still … he doesn’t die doing anything, he just dies because there’s a battle going on and he’s in it.
But characters can also die because they’re active trying to do something–to defend or protect someone, to accomplish some specific thing; or at least in some way that specifically reflects upon them and their character. They can die nobly or foolishly, but they need to die in specific ways, not just because “people die” and the book needs to show this.
I’m not sure I’m explaining this well. But as it is, the killing off of characters is done in a way that seems gratuitous rather than to purpose.