Distress, despair, death--novels have to have them. Maybe not all of them, character don't have to die (I suppose) but as as the grand orchestrator of your story you can't back off of punishing your characters.
A book with little to no conflict is the book that gets put down.
I have a confession to make. I can't believe I'm actually going to say this out loud but...
I loved the series as much as anyone but I think Harry Potter should have died at the end of DHs. (GASP!)
I think killing him and then bringing him back from the dead was a cop out. (Double GASP, GASP!)
There, I've said it.