I agree with something my friend Carol said - Rowling is taking the interesting tack of maturing the depth and exploration of her themes as her characters mature. Whether this is a happy coincidence of the realization that a large portion of her audience is composed of adults or deliberate planning from the outset, I definitely admire its execution. Harry hits the first pangs of adolescent angst in this story, and I was reminded at times of The Empire Strikes Back. It isn't always pleasant to realize your parents are flawed and human, whether they are alive or dead. Order of the Phoenix isn't To Kill A Mockingbird but it does take a fairly significant look at prejudice as well.
To refer to an early comment, I can see why the Inkling label was suggested for Ms. Rowling, if for no other reason than anything like Chapel is conspicuously absent among the meetings and such that students attend. I'm not sure why this only struck me now - probably because this time around I was paying attention, and when I read the first four books I was a little less engaged. Not particularly through any fault of the author's; I'm more than willing to admit that one of the reasons I picked the earlier ones up at all was a desire to know the cultural referent - I enjoy reading and read swiftly enough that I knew I wouldn't regret the time invested suchly the way I would if I, say, took up watching the Sopranos or Seinfeld. Even if I'd hated the books, I would still have enjoyed the process enough for it not to be a complete waste of my time; I really am a word junkie/print junkie.
So there's my take on the latest Harry Potter - FYI perple and faintheart I was planning on passing my copy on to Mom, unless she's already got one to read home on the plane.