Why Didn’t Hayley Die After Becoming a Hybrid?
At the end of season 1 of “The Originals” little wolf Hayley has a little knife taken to her little throat by the resident evil witches after giving birth to little baby Hope. Yet through the power of plot armo- I mean “magic” she comes back to life as a hybrid. Some people are, understandably, rather confused by this. How did she transition? Doesn’t she need Elena’s blood? Shouldn’t she be bleeding out and dying right about now? Whyyyyyyyyyyyyy?!
Well fear not, interepid Medium wanderer, for I have no life and thus know the answer to this question. And I am here to serve up the explanation to you on a silver platter. Well, to serve up an explanation to you on a silver platter. But it’s my explanation and so it is, by definition, the bestest explanation.
Alright, let’s start by laying out the basics.
The Basics: Laid Out
In “The Vampire Diaries” universe vampirism isn’t some paltry virus or some gift from a sneering devil, it is simply a spell created by a witch: Esther Mikaelson. Our dear old Esther cast the spell in order to protect her children from the werewolves because… I guess chaining them to the floor of their house so they wouldn’t go wandering off during a full moon wasn’t enough and GPS trackers didn’t exist yet.
Lycanthropy (aka “werewolfism”) is also a spell. This one was created as a curse by the Hollow which she put on the people who had hunted her. Why did her curse give them enhanced strength and speed? Idk, I guess she thought that was traumatizing somehow. And, in her defence, a lot of characters who have super strength are royally fucked up people. So maybe she had a point.
Hybrids (at least the wolfy-vampy ones) are people who have both the vampirism spell and the lycanthropy spell on them at the same time.
And in fact, in season 3 episode 2 of “The Vampire Diaries” we get a nice little preview of the effects of combining these spells together can have on a person. And, spoiler alert, it’s not a pretty picture.
Ray, the decidedly unenthousiastic test subject, as well as all of his friends, start bleeding from the eyes, the ears and… hopefully nowhere else. They go rabid and they all either bleed out or have to be killed, Ray by Stefan and the rest by Klaus.
These are all things we know for sure.
Good, because it’s about to get a lot more complicated, a lot more speculative and a shitton more confusing. But in an informing and erudite manner.
When It All Falls Apart
Alright, so in order to understand the Hayley situation the first thing we need to understand is why hybrids like Ray fell apart.
No explicit answer is ever given save that they needed doppelganger blood to survive (we’ll get back to that later) so we’ll have to piece together the pieces of this mystery ourselves.
First things first, it seems to be the case that combining vampirism and lycanthropy in one person is inherently difficult. These spells do not seem to play well together. And it kind of makes sense. Vampirism was literally made in order to counter werewolves and werewolves literally have venom inside of them that kills vampires and, wait for it, makes them go rabid.
So, kind of makes sense, doesn’t it? Put these two things together and you get the right and rabid mess you’d expect from a vampire with venom inside of them that was literally designed to kill them.
That explains the insanity but why do they get all leaky and die? In “The Vampire Diaries” universe spells are kind of like helium balloons. In order to keep them around, you have to tie them down to something. Otherwise they float away.
This idea is repeated over and over again in the show. The hybrid curse is bound to the moonstone, therefore it needed to be destroyed to undo it. Daylight spells are bound to lapis lazuli, that’s why a vampire needs one on them to walk in the sun. Moonlight spells are bound to black kyanite, therefore werewolves need to have them on their person to tap into their gifts and control their transformations. Bonnie binds the Silas petrification spell to herself, therefore when Bonnie dies the spell ends. Qetsiyah binds the spell that created the Other Side to Amara because Amara was immortal and indestructible and she needed to tie it to something immortal and indestructible to guarantee that it would continue to exist. Since if the anchor was destroyed, the spell would be undone.
As explained earlier, both lycanthropy and vampirism are spells like any other. And so they too need to bind to something to affect it. And this is where things seem to go wrong. Like… bleed out and become a corpse level of wrong. Like… piss off Klaus on a bad day wrong.
It seems likely that the werewolf spell (which is already on any hybrid before they turn) prevents the vampirism spell from binding properly to the target. Causing it to slowly drift off. And if that spell doesn’t bind to you, well… a vampire without the vampirism spell is just a corpse. This is illustrated quite clearly in several episodes of “The Vampire Diaries” where a person’s vampirism is magically stripped away. Each time it ends with the same outcome: They corpsify.
So if this is the problem then what is the solution? A magical binding agent, of course!
A Binding Whatsit?
In season 3 episode 20 of “The Vampire Diaries” Esther says something that is very important and yet often overlooked by TVD fans. When Elena asks her why she needs her blood to create an original Esther tells her that doppelganger blood, so not just Elena’s blood but any doppelganger’s, is “a very potent binding agent for a spell.”
What does that mean? Well, again it’s never explicitely stated. Blasted writers and their ambiguities. But based on both the name and its usages it seems to be a way to bind very powerful spells to whatever they’re meant to be cast on in a way that doesn’t cause trouble. Keep that helium balloon tied to the bike, as it were. This is something you can imagine is quite handy for one of the most powerful spells ever created (vampirism).
Bindng agents having this purpose is also backed up by an exchange on “The Originals.” When Kol talks to Finn about Davina’s attempts to unlink the sirelines, one of Finn’s first questions is “What’s she using as a binder?” Kol quickly finds out that she was using candahar root, something Kol seems to be impressed by, and then spoils it, clearly in an attempt to make it impossible to complete the spell. Conclusion being, once again: A powerful spell requires a powerful binding agent to work.
Why doppelganger blood in particular is such a powerful binding agent isn’t explained, but we can make a pretty good guess at it.
You see, doppelgangers were one of nature’s loopholes. They were created, as Qetsiyah herself explains, as a byproduct of Qetsiyah’s immortality spell. As a result of being created by nature as a loophole to such a powerful spell it appears that power rubbed off on doppelgangers and so their blood is particularly potent magically. But this is, admittedly, just a guess.
How to Make a Hybrid in 3 Easy Steps
Alright, but whatever the reason is we’ve definitively established that powerful spells need binders and that doppelganger blood is just one type of powerful binding agent. This implies that in most situations where we see doppelganger blood is required for something we can essentially just substitute the words “doppelganger blood” with “powerful binding agent.”
So what does that mean practically?
It appears that in order to successfully become a hybrid you need three things: You need some method to tap into the Esther’s spell before you die, then you need to actually die, and then finally you need to ingest doppelganger blood (aka some sort of “powerful binding agent”) so your brain doesn’t melt. And we can see this play out every time.
First we have Klaus’ own transformation. How did Klaus transform into the original hybrid? He started by drinking Tatia’s blood (a powerful binding agent) with a spell cast on it. He didn’t need need to do the first step because Esther cast the spell directly on the blood. And, as Klaus so vividly describes, Mikael stabbity stabbitied him real good.
Then we have Klaus’ failed hybrids. Ray drank Klaus’ blood to tap into Esther’s spell (so step 1 check), then died (step 2 check), but then came back and drank regular human blood. Error. Nature just deemed Ray a very bad boy. No powerful binding agent was ever ingested. As a result he started bleeding all over and died, seemingly because of the instability of the two spells co-existing. The werewolf spell displacing the vampirism spell, preventing it from binding all on its own.
Then we have Klaus’ successful hybrids like Tyler. Tyler also drank Klaus’ blood to tap into Esther’s spell (step 1 checked), then died (step 2 check), and then came back and ingested Elena’s doppelicious blood, a “powerful binding agent” (step 3 check). As a result he became the first completed hybrid of Klaus’ line.
So now we have a clear pattern:
- Step 1. Tap into the vampirism spell.
- Step 2. Die, preferably spectacularly.
- Step 3. Ingest a powerful binding agent to bind the spell to you and each other strongly enough or start investing in kleenex and a gravestone.
All three steps have to be completed to transition successfully. If you don’t tap into the spell first, you simply die forever on step 2. If you don’t die after tapping into the spell, it just does nothing. And if you do not ingest a binding agent, you go rabid and bleed out.
So how did Hayley get away with never drinking Elena’s blood then? Because she used a different binding agent.
Hayley Marshall Explained!
In season 1 episode 7 of “The Originals” we get a nice little visit to New Orleans from Tyler who, in a traditional Mystic Falls greeting, kidnaps Hayley for old times sake. He then does what is actually important to us for this article, he makes a hybrid. How does he do this?
In step 1 he takes Hayley’s cute little pregnant belly and stabs a giant syringe into it to get the blood. In step 2 he kills the werewolf. In step 3 the werewolf feeds on Hayley again. So is Hayley’s blood a binding agent then? Is that the answer?! Tell me, oh wise and magnificent Analyze!
I sneer at you as I am wont to do, because: No, it isn’t. Hope’s blood on the other hand is.
You see, Hope is a special little snowflake. More to the point, just like the doppelgangers, she is described as “nature’s loophole.” More specifically she is a loophole to a powerful immortality spell cast by Esther, in the same way that doppelgangers were a loophole to a powerful immortality spell cast by Qetsiyah. In fact, Esther seems to have copied Qetsiyah’s homework, simply having used a modified version of Qetsiyah’s spell to create the originals (which she likely got from her descendent Ayanna).
It is my contention that this is what gives Hope’s blood the same power to make hybrids as doppelganger blood. Because it means that it too can act as a powerful binding agent to a spell. As it meets all the same criteria as doppelganger blood.
So now that we have all the puzzle pieces assembled in this bloody puzzle, why didn’t Hayley die? For the same reason that the hybrid Tyler created didn’t turn rabid and die.
When Hope is born Hayley has a rupture. This causes Hope’s blood to enter her system. Hope’s blood, just like her father’s blood, contains the power of Esther’s spell. As such it fulfills step 1, tap into Esther’s spell. Hayley is then killed by the witches, so step 2 is taken care of, and then finally we have step 3, the binding agent.
Throughout much of that episode Elijah reminds Hayley that if she doesn’t drink Hope’s blood she will die. Why is this? Because of the same reason that Ray died. The same reason that his friends died. The same reason that Tyler didn’t die. Without a binding agent the combined spells are unstable and the vampirism spell will simply dissipate and leave her a corpse. Only with a binding agent will the vampirism spell bind properly to her and play well with the werewolf spell.
At the end of the episode this problem is solved when Elijah pricks baby Hope’s cute widdle finger with a needle and Hayley drinks the blood thus fullfilling step 3 by using Hope’s blood as a binding agent.
Mystery solved. You are most welcome.
Now before we end this, there is something I have yet to address that I must and that I’m sure some of you have been clamouring for me to do for the entire article.
Debunking The “Failsafe” Theory
At the end of season 3 episode 5 of “The Vampire Diaries” shortly after Klaus made Tyler his first hybrid, Rebekah asks him why Elena’s blood was the key. Klaus proceeds to tell her that “It was her (Esther’s) failsafe in case I ever broke the hybrid curse. The doppelganger had to die in order for me to become a hybrid, but if she was dead…” at which point Rebekah finishes “Then you couldn’t use her blood to sire yourself a new species.”
Now, many people have interpreted this to mean that doppelganger blood specifically is necessary to create hybrids because Esther cast a specific curse that made it necessary or it was part of the hybrid curse or something along those lines. Those people then reason that because that curse was never cast on Hope, she can sire hybrids freely. I admit that this might seem sensible on the surface. Sensible and, in light of all the evidence, oh so deliciously wrong.
You see, there are many, many problems with this theory. And, if you’ll indulge my OCD for just a moment, I want to tell you every single bleeding one of them.
Firstly, it can’t have been part of the hybrid curse because of the little detail that the hybrid curse had already been broken at that time. The thing the hybrid curse was bound to (the moonstone) was destroyed and the spell was gotten rid of. This is made very clear and explicitely referenced several times. If there is no spell then the spell cannot be affecting anything. That’s just common sense. So that’s out.
Secondly, it’s unlikely to have been part of Esther’s vampirism spell either. You see, the originals all drank from the same spelled blood the night they were turned. There is no indication that the blood Klaus drank was in any way different. This would mean that this spell would have to have rested on every single one of them. Which is clearly not the case. Elijah, Rebekah, etc. clearly do not require their sirelings to drink doppelganger blood to transition.
Thirdly, Hope-line hybrids still aren’t like normal vampires. If having to drink doppelganger blood was merely the result of a curse then without the curse that should mean hybrids should be able to transition like any other vampire can and should not need specific blood. However, this isn’t what we see with Hope’s hybrids.
When in season 1 episode 7 Tyler’s friend has to complete his transition, he specifically drinks Hayley’s blood (which presumably at that time shares the properties of Hope’s blood). In season 1 episode 22 Hayley has to complete her transition by, you guessed it, specifically drinking Hope’s blood. Elijah mentions this outright and Hayley makes no attempt to complete her transition by feeding on anyone else, despite the fact that she had only 24 hours to do so and Hope was not nearby at the time. Finally, in season 5 episode 1 of “The Originals” when Hope gives her friend the means to turn she gives him two vials of her blood and tells him that he should ingest one before and one after. Again, he specifically has to drink her blood to complete his transition. Specifically notice any specific themes here?
All of this shows very clearly that Hope-line hybrids, despite supposedly not being affected by this curse since Hope didn’t even exist when it was cast, still aren’t like normal vampires as you would expect them to be if such a curse was the culprit. They still cannot drink just any human blood to complete their transition. They need Hope’s blood specifically. Showing that the explanation that a curse was responsible and Hope is not affected by that curse and therefore her hybrids don’t have to drink doppelganger blood is quite implausible.
Fourthly, Klaus’ statement is suprisingly ambiguous for all people make of it. He says that “it” was her failsafe. But what does he mean with that exactly? Because “it” could be her failsafe in two different ways.
The standard interpretation is that Esther specifically cursed Klaus to need doppelganger blood to make hybrids, but this isn’t the only interpretation of that line.
Perhaps instead Esther specifically chose doppelganger blood to bind the hybrid curse BECAUSE she knew that Klaus already needed doppelganger blood to make hybrids. So perhaps her failsafe wasn’t casting a specific spell so that he’d need doppelganger blood to turn hybrids, her failsafe was designing the hybrid curse so that he’d need to drain a doppelganger to death in order to become a hybrid thus eliminating his ability to make further hybrids since she knew he’d need doppelganger blood to do that.
And, in fact, this is backed up by the fact that when the hybrid curse’s ritual is performed again in episode 6 of season 5 on Hayley (and Freya attempts to perform it an episode before on Hope) and no doppelganger blood is used. Instead the blood which is used to soak the moonstone is, you guessed it, Hope’s blood.
This makes it both clear that Esther didn’t need to use doppelganger blood specifically to bind the curse while also, once again, demonstrating quite clearly that Hope’s blood can act as a replacement for doppelganger blood since they are both just functioning as potent binding agents for a spell.
And then fifthly and most importantly, Klaus isn’t a witch. Well, he probably was a witch but there’s no reason to believe he was ever taught magic. And even if he had, he hasn’t been a witch in 1.000 years. Point being that Klaus isn’t an expert on spells or magical theory. He also didn’t see Esther cast this part of the spell, clearly, otherwise he would’ve known about it sooner. In other words: Klaus, in that moment, was just speculating. He was talking out of his ass.
And with that lovely imagery I believe the article can be concluded on a truly high note.
Big takeaway: Tying the vampirism and werewolf spells to a person properly, like any powerful spells, requires a powerful binding agent. Both doppelganger blood and Hope’s blood are powerful binding agents. Tyler didn’t die when he was made a hybrid because of Elena’s blood and for the same reason Hayley didn’t die without Elena’s blood because she had Hope’s blood instead. And that, my dears, is the bloody route to how you make a non-leaky hybrid.
If you want to read more articles about the fascinating lore of The Vampire Diaries & The Originals which I will surely write in the future subscribe to Analytical Madness here on Medium or follow us on Twitter. Or if you’d rather watch the articles in video essay form, subscribe to our Youtube channel.
- The Pint-Sized Powerhouse — Uncovering the True Power of Hope Mikaelson
- Shades of Blonde — A Short Look at the Symbolism of Blonde Hair in The Originals
- Every Stone and Flower Tells a Story — The Symbolism of the Almsivi’s Skin Colour
Copyright: The images used in this article are screenshots taken from the episodes of the show. We are allowed to use them under section 107 of the US Copyright Act of 1976. The Originals belongs to the CW and Alloy Entertainment.