In Pan's Labyrinth, there is one scene where Ofelia has to open the correct doorway to get a dagger. The fairies tell her to open one door but she opens a different one, which turns out to be correct. What would happen if she opened the wrong door?

From a blog summarizing this part:

Ofelia's must use the key from the belly of the Toad to open one of three small doorways in the wall behind the Monster and retrieve what lies within. She has strict instructions not to eat anything from the table. On the table in front of the Monster is a plate bearing two eyeballs. He has no eyes, two small holes in his otherwise featureless face that are either nostrils or empty eye sockets, a mouth, and skin that hangs from his body as if he had once been very fat but had since lost a lot of weight. Its hands rest beside the plate, fingers coming to grotesque sharp points.

The Faun's three fairies accompany Ofelia on this task and she has instructions to do what they say, but Ofelia correctly trusts her own intuition/impulse and opens a different door with the key than the one the fairies point out to her. She there retrieves a beautiful ceremonial dagger.

  • 1
    Is there anyway of knowing this other than speculation / opinion ?
    – Stan
    Mar 19, 2014 at 14:38
  • 2
    Maybe the answer is hidden somewhere in the movie, or maybe the director mentioned something about it in an interview. Maybe it has something to do with a myth? The same myth as the monster in this scene?
    – nrubin29
    Mar 19, 2014 at 15:27

1 Answer 1


Director Guillermo Del Toro addresses precisely this point in this interview with TwitchFilm. The door (and indeed the other tasks) are tasks that Ofelia needs to pass in order to become immortal.

That is in Pan's Labyrinth actually. If people watch it carefully, the precise wording of the faun's words to the girl is: "You have to pass three tests before the full moon shines in the sky. We have to make sure that your spirit is intact and not become mortal." That's the real purpose of the tests. It's not if she gets the dagger and she gets the key, those are the mechanics of the test, mechanics which she can then proceed to fault. She can flunk the tests. The mechanics of the test she succeeds in. She believes in herself. She does what she thinks is right. She f*cks up here and there but — when the real test come, when she is cornered with no other options but to either kill or give her own life — she chooses to put her own life at risk rather than the kid's. That's a real test. That's what makes her immortal. That's what makes her that she has not become a mortal. So [in] the movie all the tests are a misdirection and you actually go back and watch the movie and realize that my thesis is that the Faun is the Pale Man in another guise.

Therefore if she chooses the wrong door, she'll have failed the test and will returned to her old life.

Del Toro also makes it pretty clear that despite the obviously fantastic (and allegorical) elements, he definitely intended the events of the film to be taken as literally true.

  • 1
    +1, very interesting. Another major theme of the film is thinking for yourself in defiance of authority. So Ofelia listens to her own intuition instead of the faeries' orders when she chooses a door. This is contrasted with her stepfather, who obeys authority without question and fights mercilessly to force everyone else to do the same. Mar 19, 2014 at 21:12

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