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The story starts off with eleven year old Ophelia. Ophelia is the daughter of the king of the Underworld, but not in a bad way. She is lost in the mortal world, and forgets who she really is. Basically, she’s curious about what above ground looks like, and comes up, only to be “blinded by the sun.” Her life isn’t exactly happy above ground, either. She finds herself the daughter of a leading general in the Spanish Civil war, and the story starts off with a scene of her and her mother, who is pregnant, on a train, going to their new house, Captain Vidal’s estate. Ophelia has a strange obsession with fairies, and when later exploring the estate, she finds a stick bug and thinks it a fairy. Later that day, the rebels attack and captain Vidal and his men have to fight them.
While they’re busy, Ofelia the trees the stick bug again, and follows it to the entrance of a crumbling stone labyrinth. She meets the housekeeper Mercedes on her way back from the well, who tells her to stay away from the maze. A lot happens on the first night. For one, Ofelia sees that Mercedes and Ferreiro, the Doctor, are helping the rebels. For another, the insect becomes much more fairy-like (and less hideous) and leads her to the labyrinth in the middle of the night. She goes down some stairs and is greeted by a very creepy faun (tthik Narnia, but scarier) who tells her she’s the “princess of legend” and must complete three tasks before the full moon if she wants to return to her real home. And what do you know — the tasks were pretty messed up. The first is to feed three magic stones to the giant toad living inside a fig tree.
Ofelia feeds the toad the magic stones… he rolls over and dies. fun. Unfortunately, back in the ‘real’ world, things aren’t much less nasty. Carmen’s pregnancy is getting a lot worse. She’s bleeding and feverous 24/7. Luckily, the Faun’s there to give Ophelia a mandrake root to help her mother. now it’s time for the second task, and this one makes the whole toad thing look like a walk on the beach. She enters a room with a freaky-looking man who has long nails and no eyes in his face. This is the Pale Man — and, like his name suggests, he’s the color of raw bread dough. She retrieves the item she was instructed to (a dagger), but can’t resist the food she was told not to eat. When she eats a grape, the monster awakens, placing his eyes in the palms of his hand, and then almost catching Ofelia as she escapes. (it’s kind-of hard to explain)
Meanwhile, in the mortal realm, we find out Mercedes’ brother is a rebel. She and the Doc are goingback and forth visiting the rebels, bringing them food. Vidal finds out and let me just say nothing good happens. The Faun is mad about Ofelia eating the grapes, and yells at her, before leaving her. The next morning, when Ofelia is checking on the mandrake in her mother’s room, Vidal catches her and is weirded out by the mandrake root. Carmen wakes and says she’ll deal with it. She throws the mandrake in the fireplace and immediatly she begins to go into labor…which costs her her life. Luckily, her baby boy is fine. Vidal’s obsessed with the boy (but mostly with having an heir to carry his name).
But things don’t really start to get better. Vidal’s realizing Mercedes’ scheme to help the rebels, so she tries to bolt, coexing Ofelia to go with her. Vidal catches up to them and brings Mercedes back to punish her, but Vidal’s the one who ends up getting hurt. Mercedes is able to make a break for the woods, and catches up with the rebels. Ofelia, acting on the orders of the Faun (who gives her a second chance), steals her brother and runs away from Vidal, who chases after her with his gun.
In the meantime, the rebels are assaulting the estate. Ofelia runs into the labyrinth and meets the Faun. But the Faun wants to cut her brother with the knife, and gather the blood to open the portal (dark, i know). Ophelia, being a good sister, refuses. But its too late, as Vidal finds her, takes the baby, and shoots Ofelia. Vidal makes his way out of the maze, only to find the rebels waiting for him. They take his baby son and kill him. Inside the labyrinth they later find the dying Ofelia, whose blood drips into the pool, opening her passage to the underworld. She awakes perfectly fine in a golden colored room, her real parents seated on two thrones and a third one empty, just for her. The Faun is there with all the fairies and they bow to her. Ofelia smiles; She’s finally home.
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