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Heroes Wiki

Welcome to my 8th PG proposal. Before we begin, a warning. This covers a dark and very sad R-rated film filled with the absolute worst aspects of humanity and TRUE evil, including cold blooded torture, sadism, fascism, and murder, including child murder. And the ending is VERY bittersweet. Viewer descretion is advised. This character may also be difficult to gauge due to the movies theme of obedience vs moral choice, so it may be wise to take that theme into account when casting your vote.

What is the work?

Innocence has a power that evil cannot comprehend.

Pan's Labyrinth is a 2006 Spanish language War/Dark Fantasy/adult Fairy Tale film from Guillmero del Toro, and is considered one of the darkest and most bittersweet movies ever made.

Who is she/What ha she done

Once upon a time, in a underground fantasy Kingdom where there were no lies or pain, there lived an immortal Princess who dreamed of seeing the surface world, to see blue skies, feel the wind, and the warmth of the sun. Then one day, she managed to escape to the surface. But upon her arrival, she lost her memory and immorality, and over time, succumbed to illness and died. But her mother and father knew that one day their daughter would return, reincarnated. And waited for that day.

Many years passed until one day, the Princess was finally reincarnated as Ofelia, a girl living in Spain shortly before the Spanish Civil War that would see the fall of country's liberal republic, and the rise of a fascist dictatorship under the rule of Francisco Franco Bahamonde. Ofelia's father died during the war, and her mothe rmarried Vidal, a cruel and sadistic officer who showed no care at all for his stepdaughter and only cares about his new wife giving him a son.

Ofelia adores fairy tales and during her initial time at the military compound where Videl lives and works to crush the resistance, she encounters a fairy, a number of times. When she is able to identify it as a fairy, the fey creature takes her to a mysterious labyrinth where she encounters a Faun. The Faun reveals to Ofelia whom she really is, and that in order to return to where she came from, she must complete three tasks. Initially, Ofelia does not trust the Faun, who replies with "Why would a poor little Faun like me, lie?"

The first task is to retrieve a key from the belly of a very large and monstrous toad that grows bigger with every bug it eats. She succeeds, but her mother's pregnancy worsens. To help, the Faun gives Ofelia a mandrake and instructs her to put in milk under her mother's bed, and apply blood to it everyday. The strange treatment surprisingly, seems to work. Next, Ofelia executes the second task, retrieve a dagger from the Pale Man, a child eating monster with no eyes on it's head, but on it's hands. Despite the Fauns warnings to not eat anything, out of sheer hunger due to food rationing and limited food due to the Fascists poor management of food, she eats one grape, which causes the Pale Man to awaken and even eat two of the Fairies helping Ofelia. Despite this horror, Ofelia and the remaining Fairies escape. But when the Faun finds out about what happened, he refuses to give Ofelia the third and final task, and angrily laments that she will die, her kingdom, and all magic will die with her.

After this, Ofelia learns of her Stepfather's cruelty as he hunts down the rebels and hunt for spies working for the rebels, and even kill a Doctor who was a rebel spy and refused to heal a prisoner to be tortured, choosing instead to give him a mercy death via euthanasia. Videl later catches Ophelia tending to the Mandrake, and calls her delusional. Ophelia's mother agrees and the Mandrake is destroyed, causing her mother to die giving birth to a son. After the funeral, another rebel spy, Mercedes, offers to help Ophelia escape, but the plan is thwarted when Vidal catches them. Vidal mistakes Ophelia as the spy and imprisons her in her room.=The Faun then reappears, having changed his mind either out of pity, desperation, or prodding by the King and Queen(or maybe all three) He instructs her to bring her baby brother to the Labyrinth where they meet, there the final task will be initiated.

Ofelia is successful in finding her brother and brings him to the labyrinth, promising to take him with her away from the dark cruel world they have lived in. At the same time, the rebels attack the station. But Vidal is in pursuit of her. When she meets up with the Faun, the Faun claims that in order to return to her Kingdom, an innocent must be sacrificed and the blood be used to open the door., namely her brother. However, Ofelia begins to distrust the Faun again, and refuses to kill her brother. As she and the Faun argue about this, Vidal catches up to them. However, due to his black heart, he cannot see the Faun. He demands that Ofelia hands him her brother, but despite knowing she will not survive, she bravely refuses. Vidal shoots Ofelia dead and takes his son, only to be halted by the victorious rebels who demand that he hand their son to them. He complies, and asks the Rebels to tell his son about him. Instead, Mercedes cuts him off and declares that Vidal's son will never know his name. Then, Mercedes's brother, who is also the Rebel leader, shoots the monster dead.

As Ofelia dies, her blood seeps into the sacrificial alter just as the Rebels arrive. With nothing else to do, Mercedes comforts the dying girl with a melancholic lullaby. But Ofelia's refusal to kill her brother and sacrifice are not in vain. For she wakes up back in her underground Kingdom, and reunites with her true mother(who resembles her Earth mother) and father. The Faun then appears and reveals that this was a test of character, and that he WANTED Ofelia to refuse, he calls her "Your Highness". The epilogue narration states that Ofelia and her family ruled their Kingdom for countless centuries with justice and kindness, and were beloved by everyone. Back on Earth, Ofelia left traces of her exploits on Earth, which could only be seen by "Those who knew where to look." Her actions on Earth were not in vain either, for although it took 3 decades, the Franco regime fell in 1975 and Spain became a democracy.

Goodness Zone/Admirable Factors

Ofelia's goodness comes from her refusal to obey an unjust and tyrannical regime, inspiring the rebels to never stop fighting, and help pave the way for Spain's freedom, even though it took 30 years. Her mother may also have been a broken woman who was more of a hindrance, but Ofelia still loved her and tried to save her life via the Mandrake. But her true moment of heroic defiance came when she refused to kill her brother, even at the cost of her earth life, showing that even though the boy was barely born, she still loved him regardless of whomever he would grow to be. I cannot say for sure, but I imagine that while her brother never knew his father's name, he was told about his sister's name, and hopefully held her in regard. And in the film's opening and epilogue narrations, it's established that the underground Kingdom knew nothing of lies, pain, suffering, cruelty, or fascism. Ofelia came from a world that was too innocent for the cruelty of our world, and she was too kind and warm for Earth. In the end, her refusal to obey orders, and instead follow her heart, saved the life of her brother, and allowed her to return to her true home.

But Ofelia's goodness also can be found in the movies sub-text which contains allegories to the Spanish Civil War and the Francoist regime. The Fairies that help Ofelia, are akin to the resistance as both live in the woods. This makes Ophelia the Spirit of Spain and freedom. The giant toad that Ophelia encounters represents inequality, social and economic, as it feeds on the small and helpless, and grows larger with each meal. Ophelia defeat it by standing up to it, representing the oppressed standing up to the oppressor. The Pale Man, represents that Catholic Church, as the regime had close ties with the Church, and gave it political power. The Church and Regime were known for treating even the smallest thefts of food or questioning of it's system as a serious crime, even though the people were starving and the upper class had lots to eat. Meaning that like the Pale Man, it was blind until it was awakened by theft, and was monstrous.

As for Ofelia, she also represents it's missing Republic, trying to restore freedom. Just like she is the missing Princess of a magical Kingdom, trying to regain her rightful place. Her tragic death also has symbolism. Though she died, her brother will live to see a better Spain, just as though the soldiers who fought for freedom in the Civil War died, their children lived to see Spain's freedom restored.

Some people think that due to Ofelia's love of fairy tales, combined with disillusionment with the Franco regime, symbolism found in the supernatural elements of the film, the film's realistic war themes, her desire to escape, and Vidal's inability to see the Faun, the fantastical elements are all in her head. But Del Toro himself has stated that the fantasy elements are very much real in story as they overlap at times and the reason Vidal cannot see the Faun, is because he's too evil to see it. This makes the tear jerking ending of the film a bit more bearable, knowing Ofelia finally returned to where she belonged.

Corrupting Factors

There aren't much. Ofelia is known for disobedience, and in my last PG proposal, the character was voted no due to her disobedient nature. But like my last PG proposal character, Ofelia is defiant of a system that harms and oppresses people. She also disobeyed the Faun, but in fairness, it was brought about by Spain's severe food shortage and unfair rationing. I don't think she would have defied the Faun by taking a grape had she had more food available. But in the end, it hardly mattered as the Faun forgave her in the end, and her selflessness saved her brother's life, and allowed her to come home.

Final Verdict

The movies tagline of "innocence has a power that evil cannot comprehend" shows itself well in the film. As it was Ofelia refusing to yield to fascism and killing her brother, two acts of heroism and selflessness that saved her brother and allowed her to return home, where she and her real family brought happiness to everyone. And on Earth, her brother lived because of his sister's bravery in the face of death, and though it would take 30 years, her brother and all of Spain would know freedom as her sacrifice inspired the resistance to continue, which helped contribute to the regime's downfall, and Spain's freedom. Ofelia saved two worlds, and brought hope to everyone who knew her. I say she is PG.