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Ofelia / Princess Moanna
Played By: Ivana Baquero.A little girl who knows a little magic — enough to, say, restore a statue's lost eye to it, and to recognize a fairy no matter what it looks like. Ofelia adores fairy tales and making up stories, even though her mother tells her she's too old for them. But when the Call to Adventure comes — in the form of a mysterious Faun who tells Ofelia that she is the reborn Princess Moanna, of the underworld — Ofelia will dare anything to fulfill her Quest.
- Action Survivor: In the process of the movie she survives getting eaten by a child-eating monster and escape with her baby brother from a household full of fascist soldiers with orders to kill her. Subverted, as she dies anyway.
- Big Sister Instinct: Once her baby brother is born, she'd die for him. Literally.
- Break the Cutie: The whole movie is this. Her mother marries a sociopathic asshole, she's sent on a couple life-threatening quests by a scary faun, her mother dies... and then she does, too! How fun!
- Color Motif: Is constantly wearing green, to symbolize her connection with nature and life.
- Denied Food as Punishment: Setting up her ordeal with the Pale Man.
- Despair Event Horizon: After her mother's death.
- Died Happily Ever After: She gets to rejoin her father and mother at the fairy underworld.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: After getting shot by Vidal she dies in Mercedes' arms.
- Doomed New Clothes: Her new dress of course.
- Kill the Cutie: Ends up getting shot by Vidal.
- Meaningful Name: With a name like hers, it is obviously she's not getting a happy ending.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Receives two- a beautiful dark green velvet her mother makes her, and a red and gold one when she dies and returns to the Underworld.
The Human World
Played By: Sergi López.Ofelia's new stepfather and a Falange officer.
- Abusive Parents: Big time. He's nothing but cruel to Ofelia, and, while he is extremely attentive towards his son, it's only because he's projecting his own daddy issues onto his child He also kills Ofelia.
- Asshole Victim: His death left few, if any of the audiences to tears.
- Bad Boss: Downplayed. Vidal regards his underlings with professionalism even if he's frequently annoyed at their failure. However he has a few notable moments.
- When interrogating the hunters, he has his men restrain them. When his patience tires and he shoots the elder, he doesn't even bother telling the soldier holding him to move, and if he hadn't stumbled out of the way he would have been killed with the hunter.
- When returning to find the compound under attack, Garcés hurries to inform him of the situation, and Vidal just shoves him out of the way mid-sentence.
- Big Bad: He is the leader of the Francoist army in the area, an abusive parent to Ofelia and a cold sadist with no remorse.
- Blood Knight: Exemplified when he states to his underlings that the best way to die is in battle.
- Classic Villain: Pride and rage.
- Clock King: Downplayed, Vidal (who does have a clock motif) makes many plans, manipulating the rebels to come to him while reinforcing the countries power as well as estimating where the rebels will go and whether or not his house staff are trustworthy.
- The Determinator: Exemplified when he chases down Ofelia despite the pain of his facial wound and being drugged.
- Disappeared Dad: His father was killed in Morocco when Vidal was only a boy, and made him obsessed of having a son of his own. He would also become one to his newborn son as Mercedes promises the baby will never know anything about him.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He is left utterly bewildered when Dr. Ferreiro chooses to Mercy Kill a captured rebel to spare him more Cold-Blooded Torture at Vidal's hands, despite knowing that Vidal would undoubtedly kill him for doing so.
- Face Death with Dignity: He tries, but Mercedes doesn't let him.
- Fantasy-Forbidding Parent: More so than Carmen, he violently dismisses Ofelia's fairy tales as "mierda" (lit. shit.)
- Faux Affably Evil: Best seen with the hunters and the Stuttering rebel, Vidal retains his polite and calm demeanor, even as he's breaking bones, noses or murdering people. With the Captive, he gives him a Hope Spot and even states he'll let him go, knowing full well that the man will fail his test. His voice barely rises as he's describing some torture techniques.
- Freudian Excuse: See Disappeared Dad above, since his own father's death shook him up badly. But it doesn't excuse his depravity at all.
- He-Man Woman Hater: Vidal is a chauvinist that underestimates women at best - Mercedes - or views them as little more than means to have an heir at worst.
- Hero Killer: He slaughters a bunch of rebel soldiers, tortures the stuttering kid horribly and murders Dr. Ferreiro. Oh, and he kills Ofelia at the end.
- It's All About Me: Vidal is more concerned about preserving his legacy than actually caring for a child.
- Jerkass: Downplayed. He is in no way a nice person, but he tends to fall under Faux Affably Evil and acts more dissonantly cruel rather than openly obnoxious. However there are times where he's just rude such as when he dismisses Carmen's story about how they met as a fairy tale, or when he shoves a bleeding Garcés out of the way when the man was only trying to do his job.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: If it looked like there's any shred of decency in him, it's really more about fulfilling his selfish desires.
- Kick the Dog: Vidal treats this as his daily routine.
- Knight Templar: While his mindless cruelty with the hunters can make him seem more like a Psycho for Hire, underneath that beats the heart of a proud fascist. As he states at the dinner with his superiors; he's happy to be stationed at the mill, and he wants facism to win and destroy the "evils" of freedom and equality. He wants his son to grow up in a "new clean Spain" and he'll kill and torture all who defy the new regime to see that happen.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: Knows he's beaten at the end, and calmly hands over his son to the rebels before allowing them to shoot him.
- Offing the Offspring: After Ofelia takes her brother away from him, Vidal eventually tracks down Ofelia, takes the brother back and kills Ofelia.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: He sees Carmen as little more than means to getting his child. After killing the doctor and Carmen's health deteriorating, he orders The Medic to make sure the child is born over the life of his wife.
- Pragmatic Villainy: He was annoyed that killed two innocent hunters he's mistaken for rebels. Only because his men didn't check on them thoroughly, thus wasting his time, and killing innocent civilians would probably incite the townspeople to support the rebels.
- Supernatural-Proof Father: Is unable to see the Faun.
- Torture Technician: Does it in the town's barn.
- Troubled Abuser: Haunted by his father's death and his obsession with having a child of his own.
- Unperson: Mercedes won't tell Vidal's son of his true origins or his father's name.
- Villainous Valor: One of the other redeeming factors about him is that he's undeniably brave, as he leads his troops from the front against the rebels and faces the music with almost inhuman detachment.
- Wicked Stepfather: To put it very, very mildly. He's cruel, uncaring, and violent. Taken to the extreme when he actually kills Ofelia.
- Would Hurt a Child: Would kill one, actually.
Played By: Ariadna Gil.Ofelia's mother and Vidal's new wife.
- Broken Bird: The poor woman is quite depressed with her circumstances what with a dead husband, a Jerkass new husband, and a difficult pregnancy. Any time she tries to find joy it gets ruined or shot down.
- Death by Childbirth: Because she burns down the mandrake root that was healing her and The Medic that attends her having orders to save the baby over Carmen.
- Extreme Doormat: Her pregnancy and her need to support Ofelia makes her quite submissive to Vidal.
- Fantasy-Forbidding Parent: Though she's way more nice about it than Vidal. At least, until right before her death.
- Hoist By Her Own Petard: When discovering the enchanted mandrake Ofelia put under her bed to aid her pregnancy, Carmen throws it into the fireplace to show that magic isn't real. Unfortunately, burning the mandrake results in Carmen receiving its pain and going into early labor, which she dies of.
Played By: Maribel Verdú.Vidal's housekeeper.
- Action Girl: Unlike Carmen.
- Badass Boast:
Mercedes: I'm not some old man! Or a wounded prisoner! Motherfucker... Don't you dare touch the girl. You won't be the first pig I've gutted!
- She gives two to Vidal when she has the upper hand on him.
Mercedes: No. He will not even know your name.
- And then when he meets his end.
- Big Sister Instinct: Towards Ofelia.
- Broken Bird: Implied. Take notice of the look in her eyes.
- Chastity Dagger: Mercedes carries such a knife. It's the same knife she uses in the kitchen, and she's shown multiple times folding it back into her dress after she's done chopping vegetables. Her knife is not only used against Vidal, as is traditional, but also to cut through ropes binding her wrists.
- Mama Bear: Since Carmen cannot do a lot for Ofelia, she takes up the role.
- The Mole: For the rebels.
- Parental Substitute: In the end she takes Vidal's baby.
Played By: Álex Angulo.A doctor in the service of Vidal who is also a closeted Republican and aids the rebels.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: His death at Vidal's hands is extremely dignified.
- Face Death with Dignity: Faced with certain death, Ferreiro just calmly walks away. After being shot, he takes his glasses off rather calmly before slumping over.
- In the Back: Vidal shoots him from behind as he walks away.
- Mercy Kill: He euthanizes a captured rebel to spare him more of Vidal's brutal torture.
- The Mole: Along with Mercedes, he's one for the rebels.
- Nice Guy: The only one in Vidal's household.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: He gives a small but effective one to Captain Vidal."To obey — just like that — for obedience's sake... Without questioning... That is something only men like you can do, Captain."
Played By: Roger Casamajor.Mercedes' brother, and leader of the Republican cell in the area.
- Hero of Another Story: While the movie focuses on Ofelia, there's fighting going around and he's in the middle of it.
- La Résistance: Their leader.
- Scarf of Asskicking: He wears a blue scarf in the film.
Garcés & Serrano
Played By: Manolo Solo (Garcés) & César Vea (Serrano).
- Double Tap: Garcés can be seen performing it on the rebels they've shot in the battle, much like the rest of the soldiers in the movie.
- Co-Dragons: To Vidal.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Downplayed, they have stone faces in war and executing prisoners, but look shocked by Vidal's brutality against the hunters.
- Fat and Skinny: Downplayed, Garcés is slimmer and while Serrano isn't fat, he's certainly more broad than Garcés.
- Lean and Mean: Garcés, thinner, shorter and meaner than Serrano.
- Perpetual Frowner: Serrano.
- Smug Snake: Garcés especially in his final scene.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Garcés is shot repeatedly by the rebels. Though multiple gunshots aren't uncommon in the film as most combatants make sure to shoot their victims more than once to ensure death.
- Those Two Guys: Up until the end they don't get much differentiation in terms of personality, until they chase down Mercedes.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Serrano makes it back to the base before the rebels attack, presumably he was killed in the firefight, but we don't know.
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: When Garcés sees Mercedes making her escape, his first idea is to pull a pistol and try to shoot her but he's interrupted by Vidal who demands she be taken alive.
Played By: Doug Jones.
Voiced By: Pablo Adán.An ancient creature, he has been waiting in the Labyrinth for the reincarnated princess to return.
- Berserk Button: He really doesn't like it when rules are broken, especially when it results in the loss of his fairies.
- Evil Redhead: Subverted in the end when he looks young again with red hair, revealed to be a good guy after all.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He can be downright scary, but he really does want the princess to return.
- Rapid Aging: Inverted; he becomes visibly younger as the film progresses. When we first meet him, he moves as if his joints are stiff; by the film's end, his movement is quite normal.
- Time Abyss: He's so old, his true names can only be pronounced by "the wind and the trees."
The FairiesThree fairies that are friends with the Faun.
- Back from the Dead: The two that were eaten by the Pale Man show up in the end.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Green, blue, and red.
- Face Palm: When Ofelia eats from the Pale Man's banquet.
- Fairy Companion: To the Faun, and later Ofelia.
- Our Fairies Are Different: They first appear as stick insects, but transform after Ofelia shows them what they're "supposed" to look like.
- The Unintelligible: The fairies speak through insect like chattering, but the Faun knows what they're saying. Especially when the surviving fairy told him how Ofelia disobeyed him.
The Pale Man
Played By: Doug Jones.A child eating monster.
- Allegorical Character: According to Word of God, The Pale Man represents Institutional Evil that feeds on the helpless.
- All There in the Manual: The Bonus Comics on the DVD reveal he was once a being of excess banished to that room, and unable to eat the food before him, turning into the emaciated being he appeared. He believed that the dagger was the only thing that could harm him but in reality it was all that was keeping him alive, and when Ofelia left, he collapsed in on himself and disappeared.
- Child Eater: Although he doesn't mind the taste of fairies.
- Eats Babies: The murals detailed him eating toddlers.
- Eyes Do Not Belong There: His eyes are on his palms.
- Eyeless Face: His eyes are on his palms, and his face is eyeless with only two holes for nostrils and no lips.
- The Fair Folk: A villainous example.
- Lean and Mean: Is emaciated and eats children (when he can get any, that is).
- I'm a Humanitarian: He likes to eat children.
King & Queen of the Underworld
Played By: Federico Luppi & Ariadna Gil.
The MandrakeA plant "that dreamed of being human." The Faun gives it to Ofelia in order to help cure her mom.
- Blood Magic: Requires two drops of blood from Ofelia everyday.
- Kill It with Fire: Carmen throws it into the fireplace when Vidal discovers it under her bed. It doesn't end well for her.
- Plant Person: It resembles a root shaped like a human baby.
- Synchronization: After being placed in a bowl of milk by Ofelia, it begins to simulate Carmen's movements (i.e. tossing and turning when she does the same in bed.) This is probably why Carmen begins to go into pained labor when the Mandrake is burned.