Frenchy, Wikipedia has an overview of all the books and Sparks Notes (sort of today's version of Cole's Notes) has a chapter by chapter synopsis and you do not have to read the entire book if you do not have time.
I am not a fan of Snape either but somehow, I think there may be some deal between him and Dumbledore but who knows! I do not like him for all the mean and nasty things he has done or said to harry, Ron, Hermoine and Neville etal.
I asked one of my patients who this morning complained of being bored- she just had a bone marrow transplant so cannot go anywhere, ie not even leave her room just yet - to think up a Harry Potter quiz and maybe we could post it online. Kids have some great ideas - tho they see it in a much more innocent way than we do. I do too much analysis for my own good, lol I really think Rowling is a good satirist in the way she regards society and there is a meaning behind much of her work. Like Hermoine's campaign for the elves (reminds me of slavery - and I have seen the slave trade in women and young girls alive and well in some countries; one woman I know who works to free young women from a life in a brothel "paid off" one fellow only to discover when she returned there a yr later, the girl (maybe 13-14) had returned because it was what she knew and she was addicted to various drugs, sigh!!. The last time, it was her parents who sold her. Eeeeeek!!! For any teacher, it is a great way to discuss slavery in our own past history. And how Dudley and the Dursley's treat Harry is a way to talk about bullying. There are many themes in these books.
I was astounded a few summers ago when a former babysitter of mine came to visit and while I really like her - and she'd had a bit of a tough life herself until she was adopted by friends of my parents - they were her foster parents when she was 15 but they adopted her the next year - she and her new husband have become involved in a fundamentalist religion and she talked of Harry Potter as teaching children about the devil.
I do not agree with that at all but these are her values and I did not want the short visit I had with her to be a debate so I changed the subject. It's sad to see that though - knowing her own children won't have the chance to read the books, unless they sneak around to do it. (Actually, she may be encouraging them to read them all the more!) I have had a few patients who come from that milieu as well so I am just cautious what I say in that instance. But I think the HP books teach valuable lessons to kids and are not that much different that our watching Star Trek and Bewitched or going to magic shows and Halloween - though some of those religions also do not participate in that either. Prob a little darker than Bewitched for sure but you know what I mean!