Ofelia is a young girl who spends her life immersed in imaginary realms thanks to her beloved books. When she and her pregnant, ailing mother move to the home of a cruel captain of the Spanish army, she finds herself surrounded by the horrors of World War II. However, she has a personal quest to keep her busy, as she is informed of a mystical realm surrounding her residence. She is heralded as the queen, but she must complete several dangerous tasks to prove her worthiness. In this mysterious and often frightening fairy world, Ofelia has some control over what happens. This is a sobering responsibility, since her mistakes sometimes lead to deaths. However, it's better than the cruel world of violence swirling around her.