Long ago, in a faraway land, there were two kingdoms. One was home to the humans, and other, known as The Moors, was home to all manner of magical creatures. This is where the good fairy, Maleficent, was born.

As a child, Maleficent was good and kind, beloved by all in The Moors. One day her peaceful life was disturbed by young boy from the human kingdom trying to steal a gem from The Moors. Maleficent reclaimed the gem from the boy and returned it to its proper place, and then escorted the boy back to the border between their kingdoms. The boy's name was Stefan, and he confided in Maleficent that he was an orphan, and a poor stable boy. She told him that she too was an orphan, and they agreed to be friends. When they tried to shake hands, Maleficent was burned by Stefan's ring, which was made of iron. She told him that iron burns fairies, and so he took the ring off and threw it away, so that he and Maleficent might be able to touch. Maleficent was deeply touched by this, considering that Stefan had so little.

Stefan returned many times to see Maleficent, even though doing so was very dangerous for both of them, because their kingdoms were constantly at odds. Maleficent and Stefan soon fell in love, and on her sixteenth birthday Stefan gave her a precious gift: true love's kiss.

The years passed, and Stefan's visits became less and less frequent; while the ruthless King Henry repeatedly tried to invade The Moors, for he desperately wished to rule them. But King Henry was defeated every time by Maleficent and the Tree Warriors. Maleficent soon grew to be the most powerful creature in The Moors, and became her homeland's sworn protector.

During one of King Henry's attempts to invade The Moors, he was fatally wounded by Maleficent. As he laid upon his deathbed, he vowed that whichever man killed Maleficent would become his successor, and marry his daughter, Princess Leila. Stefan, who had struggled all his life to gain stature and escape his life of poverty, decided to sneak back into The Moors and kill Maleficent himself.

When he reappeared in The Moors that night, Maleficent was hesitant at first, for she was hurt that he had stayed away for so long. However, because of her sweet nature, she soon forgave him and they spent the night together. In the night, while Maleficent slept, Stefan attempted to kill her. But he could not go through with it. Instead he cut off her wings, and returned home and lied to the king about killing Maleficent, offering her wings as proof.

Maleficent awoke in agony, horrified and heartbroken at the loss of her wings. She tried to walk, but struggled in pain, her balance thrown off without her wings. She created a staff for herself and began a journey through The Moors, her friends looking on in horror, until she reached an old, abandoned castle. There she hid, broken and alone.

One day, while walking through a field, Maleficent came across a farmer who had captured a raven. Taking pity on the bird, she transformed him into a man to save him from the farmer, who ran in fear. The raven told her that his name was Diaval, and pledged his service to her for saving his life. Maleficent told him that she needed him to be her wings, and sent him in his raven form to find Stefan in the human kingdom. Diaval went and discovered that Stefan had become king, and the price that he had paid to become so.

Enraged and devastated at his betrayal, Maleficent's heart of gold turned to stone. She returned to The Moors and, with her faithful Tree Warriors at her side, declared herself the Evil Queen of The Moors. All the other creatures looked on in fear as she forced them to bow to her, for The Moors had never had a ruler before, for they had always lived in peace.

Soon Queen Leila gave birth to a daughter, called Aurora, and Maleficent decided to exact her revenge on Stefan. At the princess's christening, Maleficent appeared before the court, much to Stefan's horror. She pleasantly taunted him for what he had done to her, and he ordered her to leave his kingdom at once. With a laugh, Maleficent instead placed a curse on the infant; declaring that before the sun set on her sixteenth birthday, she would prick her finger on a spinning wheel and fall into a sleep like death. Stefan fell to his knees and begged Maleficent to have mercy on his daughter. Her heart softened slightly, and she amended her curse. She bitterly told Stefan that it could be broken by one thing: true love's kiss.

Over the next sixteen years, Maleficent watched over the young princess and despite her initial hate for the little “beastie”, she reluctantly took care of her from afar when the fairies were incapable and struggling to live like humans.

When Aurora was nearly sixteen, she finally met Maleficent, who she believed to be her fairy godmother because she recalled Maleficent's shadow watching over her all her life. Maleficent took Aurora to The Moors and taught her about all its magical inhabitants. They grew closer, forming the kind of bond shared between a mother and daughter. Maleficent's cold heart was warmed by the young princess, and she tried to remove the curse she had placed on her. However it could not be done, for Maleficent had declared her curse unbreakable, and “no power on earth can change it”, except for true love's kiss.

Aurora told Maleficent that she wanted to stay with her in The Moors forever, and Maleficent happily agreed. However when Aurora told her three “aunts” about her plans, they revealed to her the truth about whom she really was, and who Maleficent truly was. Heartbroken, Aurora returned to her father's castle. Although Maleficent was ashamed of herself, she followed after Aurora because she knew that she would not be safe there.

However, she did not reach Aurora in time. Maleficent's curse was fulfilled; Aurora pricked her finger and fell into a deep sleep. Desperate to save her young friend, Maleficent snuck Prince Phillip into the castle with Diaval's help. The prince made it to Aurora's room and kissed her, but to no avail, the princess remained asleep. Maleficent then confessed to Diaval that her amendment to the curse had always been false, because “true love's kiss” did not exist.

Maleficent sadly looked down upon what her hatred had brought to her dear friend. She promised Aurora that she would watch over her all the days of her life, and that she would always miss her sweet smile. She tenderly kissed Aurora's head, and turned to walk away. But her motherly love for the princess was true, and the curse was broken. Aurora awoke, smiling at her fairy godmother.

Maleficent and Aurora decided to flee back to The Moors together. As they attempted to leave the castle, Maleficent was attacked by Stefan and his guards, who he had equipped with iron armor and weapons. She transformed Diaval into a dragon and they tried to fight, but they were overwhelmed by Stefan's army. Stefan was about to kill Maleficent, but at the last moment she was saved by her wings returning to her, for Aurora had freed them from the cage her father had kept them in through the years. With her full strength restored to her, Maleficent and Diaval soon overpowered Stefan and his men. Maleficent tried to end the fighting, but Stefan was too consumed by his hatred, and fell to his death in a final attempt to kill her.

In the aftermath, after all the violence and hatred had finally been driven from the land, Maleficent surrendered her throne in The Moors. Instead, all the creatures in The Moors gathered together and crowned Aurora as their queen, finally uniting the two kingdoms in peace.

And Maleficent returned to her rightful place in the skies, flying joyfully with Diaval at her side, forevermore to be the guardian of The Moors and their queen.