This summer, I needed some MP3 audiobooks from my library, and saw that HP was available, so I thought, well, I need to listen to something and it might as well be that. The second book was sort of eh, but I still hadn't found anything better and I did like the reader (Jim Dale) a lot, so I kept going.
I ended listening to the entire series and liked it. Dale is a really terrific reader, who brought so much to the dialogue, and I think he is the reason why I like the books. (Heavens knows it's not Rowling's writing; her prose is sort of repetitive, I didn't like her typographical quirks when I glanced at a paper copy in a bookstore, and her characterization is a little flat.) And as a whole--as a series--the books are quite strong. You can tell that Rowling plotted the entire series after the first book, and that she knows where she's going and what she wants each book to contribute to the overall storyline. George R. R. Martin, take note!
It may be the most brutal coming-of-age story I've ever read. Rowling systematically dismantles every single support in Harry's life. Not sure what the meta message is there: don't count on adults? The only people you can rely on are your friends?
Anyway, I came across this fanfiction--an interpretation of the story from the standpoint of a Harry with a little more critical thinking skills. I liked it--some very funny bits. "Are you PC or NPC?" I laughed out loud. I'm only about 10 chapters in but I recommend it!