Mandragora officinarum, also known as mandrake, is a real, medicinal plant native to the Mediterranean. There’s nothing magical about it, strictly speaking. But its leaves are poisonous as well as hallucinogenic, and its roots look like little dirt babies, so the plant does make excellent nightmare fuel. The mandrake has long been a staple of superstition and mythology, so it’s only fitting that the plant should find its way into the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, particularly in Chamber Of Secrets. In the Potterverse, the roots of the mandrake look exactly like human infants, and they emit a cry that can be fatal, necessitating ear protection for all who approach them. Sounds adorable, right? Proud parents Jesse and Katherine Oldfield must have thought so, because they dressed their newborn son Theodore like a mandrake plant and their other son, Sebastian, like a resident of Gryffindor for an elaborate photo shoot recently. Buzzfeed reports that the Oldfields are “huge Harry Potter fans.” Yeah, no shit.
One has to admire the attention to detail in this series of photos. The older child is sensibly wearing a pair of earmuffs to shield his tympanic membrane, while his younger sibling emerges from a clay pot bearing this dire warning, taken directly from Rowling:
MANDRAGORA OFFICINARIUM MANDRAKE [IMMATURE]. CAUTION: Approach only with adequate ear protection! Scream is not yet lethal, but may cause extended periods of unconsciousness.
Meanwhile, the photo that shows both Oldfield children together captures the low-level antipathy that an older sibling might feel toward a younger one. The youngest Oldfield, meanwhile, is more than doing his part. Obviously, for this photo shoot to work thematically, the tiny child had to be yowling with great intensity. Fortunately, as soon as his father attempted to lift him from the pot, the infant let out a wail that was worthy of a Rowling-style mandrake.
[via The Daily Dot]