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Rowling wasn't consistant in her portrayal of Harry, either he was neglected and downtroden. Being a boy who did't try in school, clung to his first friend even when he turned out to be a lazy bully. Or he was a pure hearted avenger who would risk his life and charge in to protech the school and the world. He was very observant at Private Drive, but completely oblivious at Hogwarts.
Point of divergence: Chapter 32, HPGOF.
Oops, HP and the contaminated potion.
'Wormtail was speaking. His voice shook; he seemed frightened beyond his wits. He raised his wand, closed his eyes, and spoke to the night.
"Bone of the father, unknowingly given, you will renew your son!"
The surface of the grave at Harry's feet cracked. Horrified, Harry watched as a fine trickle of dust rose into the air at Wormtail's command and fell softly into the Cauldron. The diamond surface of the water broke and hissed; it sent sparks in all directions and turned a vivid, poisonous-looking blue.
And now Wormtail was whimpering. He pulled a long, think, shining silver dagger from inside his cloak. His voice broke into petrified sobs.
"Flesh – of the servant - w-willing given – you will- revive – your master."
He stretched his right hand out in front of him – the hand with the missing finger. He gripped the dagger very tightly in his left hand and swung it upward.
Harry realize what Wormtail was about to do a second before it happened – he closed his eyes as tightly as he could, but he could not block the scream that pierced the night, that went through Harry as though he had been stabbed with the dagger too. He heard something fall to the ground, heard Wormtail's anguished panting, then a sickening splash, as something was dropped into the cauldron. Harry couldn't stand to look. . . but the potion had turned a burning red; the light of it shone through Harry's closed eyelids. . .
Wormtail was gasping and moaning with agony. Hot until Harry felt Wormtails's anguished breath on his face did he realize that Wormtail was right in front of him.
"B-blood of the enemy . . . forcibly taken . . . you will . . . resurrect your foe."
Harry could do nothing to prevent it, he was tied to tightly. . . . Squinting down, struggling hopelessly at the ropes binding him, he saw the shining silver dagger shaking in Wormtail's remaining hand. He felt it pint penetrate the crook of his right arm and blood seeping down the sleeve of his torn robes. Wormtail, still panting with pain, fumbled in his pocket for a glass vial and held it in Harry's cut, so that a dribble of blood fell into it.'
~ P. 641-642 HPGOF, American paperback edition.
As Harry watched the snake faced thing rise out of the cauldron, he couldn't help but shake his head. Harry sucked at potions. He could only blame 40% of his failures on the Slytherins. Sometimes he was distracted, by Ron, or Neville blowing up a cauldron, or Snape's looming harassment. But potions were very finicky. The smallest contamination would through the whole thing off. And apparently Wormtail wasn't any better at potions than Harry.
"It's no ussse shaking your head in denial. I have arisssssen and now you will die," spoke the man-thing . . . Voldemort.
"I'm not denying your presence; I'm pitying you on the quality of your helpers. If I hadn't had ample proof over the last four years of the stupidity wizards in Britton, I'd wonder how you had achieved so much with so little in the last war." Harry continued to shake his head slowly.
"Wormtail has bested you before, and he has served his purpose today."
At this Harry had to snort. "He completely bollixed up the ritual and contaminated your potion. You might want to retrieved your potion master soon and see if anything can be done to neutralize the contamination and minimize the side-effects."
"What are you babbling on about? I stand here in my own body, with my own magic." At this statement he cast the crucio on Harry proving that he had his magic.
Harry managed not to scream, it hurt, but not as much as dying via basilisk venom. When the spell cut off, he took a deep breath and ignoring the minor tremors said, "I'm talking about the fact that he was supposed to add "flesh of the servant" but he cut off his entire hand consisting of blood, bone and flesh. And instead of cutting it off over the cauldron, he dropped in on the ground first then picked it up and added it to the mix. So there was definitely dirt on it, possibly grass and other animal droppings."
At one point in his life Tom Riddle was a brilliant student. He never sought a mastery in potions, but he knew enough to understand the potential complications.
He stalked over to Wormtail who was kneeling on the ground after cauterizing his own wrist. "Issss thissss true?"
"Sorry Master, sorry, sorry." Wormtail stuttered. "I shouldn't have dropped it in the dirt, so sorry master."
" Oh! In my second year when Lucius tried to dispose of your diary, I was bitten while killing the basilisk and healed by phoenix tears. They may still be in my blood stream. Since you did use my blood, you should have that analyzed also."
Voldemort screamed in rage. Yes, his followers were truly incompetent, but Wizarding Britton was populated with sheeple, he could still win this.