From Sady Doyle, an alternate history of the Harry Potter series if Rowling would have written the books from the perspective of Hermione Granger.
So, before she goes away for good, let us sing the praises of Hermione. A generation could not have asked for a better role model. Looking back over the series -- from Hermione Granger and the Philosopher's Stone through to Hermione Granger and the Deathly Hallows -- the startling thing about it is how original it is. It's what inspires your respect for Rowling: She could only have written the Hermione Granger by refusing to take the easy way out.
For starters, she gave us a female lead. As difficult as it is to imagine, Rowling was pressured to revise her initial drafts to make the lead wizard male. "More universal," they said. "Nobody's going to follow a female character for 4,000 pages," they said. "Girls don't buy books," they said, "and boys won't buy books about them." But Rowling proved them wrong. She was even asked to hide her own gender, and to publish her books under a pen name, so that children wouldn't run screaming at the thought of reading something by a lady. But Joanne Rowling never bowed to the forces of crass commercialism. She will forever be "Joanne Rowling," and the Hermione Granger series will always be Hermione's show.