I have read through the seven Harry Potter books and seen most of the movies (did not read the mini books Monster Book of Monsters, Quidditch through the Ages, or The Tales of Beedle the Bard). I read them mainly because of the hype and because a family member bought them. While I did like some parts of the story; I don’t think that they are deserving of the amount of hype that they received. I found the first four books to be fairly entertaining but the fifth book was not as good and I simply do not like the last two books. The last few books are darker than the earlier books and contain romance but those are not the reasons I dislike them. I have read and enjoyed things far darker than those books and while romance is not a genre I generally seek out I have liked a number of romance stories.
There are some things in the last few books I enjoyed but overall I didn't like them. Personally I feel that the main three characters were dumber, nerfed in some ways, and less interesting/believable in those last few books. There is a lot I would have changed. I feel they should have prepared more to battle Voldemort especially after knowing why Voldemort is going after him (things to learn and practice: delaying tactics, distracting Voldemort, escape plans, DODGING, etc.). Hermione should have figured out Prince was related to Snape quicker, she also should still have cared about S.P.E.W, she shouldn't have hexed a student to keep Ron on the team and definitely shouldn't have been a hypocrite and chastised Harry for tricking Ron into believing that he gave Ron the Felix Felicis potion after what she had hexed someone to get Ron on the team. Harry's relationships should have changed more drastically and/or more realistically as he became more of a teenager. He should have been less trusting of Dumbledore and more upset with him (Harry really has quite a few reasons to be upset with Dumbledore and personally I found Harry to trust him more than an upset teenager believably would have). The Ginny/Harry relationship could have been done better. Change the death eater tactics since what was shown was overly complex relying on too many factors but that is true for even earlier books; I mean getting Harry for the ritual in the Goblet of Fire was overly complex and relying on way to many factors happening least of which being that Dumbledore not notice that his old friend has been replaced by a polyjuiced doppelganger. Harry had a much better showing in times of danger in earlier books than the later books (shouldn't have froze up like he did because of the Zombies since in other similarly dangerous situations he didn't and should have had a somewhat better showing against the death eaters based on previous battles with the death eaters - it pisses me off that he forgot the flame hex when the zombies attacked particularly since he was reminded shortly before and in other situations say with the dementors he didn't freeze up and I really don't see how zombies are in any way worse than dementors). Hermione should not have ended up with Ron -I hate that pairing. That's enough for now. Suffice it to say I believe the books would have been better if quite a few things had been changed. There are many other things I believe should have been or could have been changed to improve those last books while still keeping the important parts of the story but these are just my opinions and I'm sure that not everyone would agree with the changes I can think of.
I have not seen all of the movies. I probably will eventually since a family member has purchased all of them that were released and is likely to purchase the others when they come out. In most cases I enjoy the source material (books in this case) more than derivative work (movies in this case). In this particular instance I found myself enjoying the movies more than the books few reasons but the main one is probably because Hermione is my favorite character and the screen writers seemed to have liked her a lot as well.
As for the fan fiction; there is an obscene amount of it, most of which is terrible. Searching through the massive amount of it to find the well written, thought provoking, and/or funny fics is like searching through a pile of hay for a needle with no tools. As mentioned in an earlier post I have read quite a bit more than I like to admit to and prefer other fandoms to this one but have enjoyed some of the fics in this series suggested to me by others. The pairings and genre in/of the fan fics do not really matter to me so long as they are done well and believable; though I do actively avoid some pairings/genres. Some recurring themes in the fandom annoy me where as others have the potential to be interesting but most of the time are not.
Some authors like to give their fans additional information not included in the actual stories they created. This is an okay practice but one I find very annoying. I prefer that if the author feels it important enough it should have been in the work itself. Some authors re-release there work with annotations which I find to be interesting whereas others release a book containing additional information, others do it different ways. J K Rowling created a website and fairly often gave additional information via interviews. I don't put much stock in authorial intent viewing what is in the actual work as all you really need to know but give it more credence than fanon. In fairly recent correspondences via email with someone the phrase (or similar enough to not matter) "J K Rowling said so in an interview/on her website" came up far too often. Prior to the emails I had not read/ seen any of the interviews or been to her website. For the most part I didn't and don't care at all for what she said in those interviews and I didn't really have an inclination to look up all the various interviews she had given. Some of the stuff said like Dumbledore is gay really doesn't matter for the story at all so I don't see why anyone cares, other things said either contradicted a part of the story or another interview so I go by what was in the actual story unless the way she clarified it makes more sense, and some of it simply didn't make any sense to me at all (for example how she explained pensives work) in which I ignore what was said in the interviews entirely. Though her giving contradicting information didn't surprise me since in my opinion she seemed to like changing things to suit the book she was writing at the time ignoring things that she wrote before on occasion in the actual books.