Re: Long, part deux
I suspect I'll never get beyond the occasional random fit of railing at the way the HP series ended. Because it didn't need to be that way. Even if JKR realized that she'd left it all too late and that she had too many last-minute gimmicks cluttering up her plotline, she could have done away with them and still had plenty of drama to work with, simply by tying up the character arcs. Of course, it would have been a challenge to figure out on short notice how Harry could possibly keep his innocence and still bring down the Dark Lord, considering she'd harped so much on that thematic point. But (and this is just one stray possibility among many) if, for example, he'd crossed into death and been required to sacrifice that innocence for the greater good before being allowed to return to life, it might have had greater dramatic impact. If nothing else, it would have forced Harry to make a choice in the afterlife rather than stand around listening to Dumbledore rattle on. It would have meant he lost something, gave it up, which is far closer to the truth of these kinds of victories, I think.
I'll stop there, because it's surprisingly easy to start ranting about this. So much wasted potential. Not to mention, if the series wasn't about worthiness and redemption - two motifs that belong together - then what was the point?
Yes, the saintliness that descends on Lily in canon is awkward. Partly because, as you say, it erases her as a character/human being and puts an icon in her place. How boring! Partly because she wasn't the only mother (or character) to make a sacrifice of that magnitude, and the special status awarded her death, along with the automatic assumption of Harry's worthiness, rubs me the wrong way.
Okay, this reply got interrupted and now it's 1:15 in the morning and I need to go to bed. There will be more forthcoming, but alas (or fortunately!) it will have to wait.