The Originals is no stranger to killing off characters, but the show just axed one family member we didn't think would ever be on the chopping block!

Upon realizing that Roman (Jedidiah Goodacre) was in cahoots with Greta (Nadine Lewington) — who'd kidnapped Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) — Hope (Danielle Rose Russell) was faced with an awful decision. Bind her werewolf side, or lose her mother forever. The two women came up with a creative solution to bind Hayley's werewolf side and use that as a distraction to get the upper hand, but the plan had one major flaw: No longer being a werewolf meant that Hayley was full vampire and therefore vulnerable to the sun.

In a final confrontation with Greta, Hayley sacrificed herself to kill the woman that wanted her daughter dead, ripping off Greta's daylight ring and flinging them both into the sun.

The worst part? Elijah (Daniel Gillies) was there, fighting on the wrong side thanks to his spotty memory. Something tells us he's going to be really messed up about that if he ever remembers exactly how much he loved Hayley.

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Here to tell us whether we'll ever get to see that guilt set in (and whether this death is actually for real considering this show brings people back to life every other minute) is consulting producer Jeffrey Lieber.

When and how did you guys decide to kill Hayley off this season?
Jeffrey Lieber: It was one of those things we knew from the beginning of the season... So we were looking for a way to do it at a point in the season where it really resonated, where it changed all the other characters, but left us enough space to still be able to tell the rest of Hayley's story. So that was what was really important... Being able to do it midseason, it causes an inflection point and it causes every single other character to change in a meaningful, primal way. It also again gives us space in the back half to finish telling the story in a really interesting, cool way.

Is this really the end of her story?
Lieber: I don't think I'm giving anything away in saying that she is in other episodes this season, so that her death is not nearly her end. There's still a lot more of her story and her story with Elijah and her story as the mother of Hope to be told.

What kind of changes will this death spark in Klaus (Joseph Morgan)?
Lieber: Klaus, he becomes a single father. He started the season an absentee father and now he's a single father, and that responsibility weighs heavy on his shoulders, especially given the current circumstances of the magic around him, he can't actually be next to Hope without causing calamity in New Orleans. With each step of the front half of this season, we've added the weight of parenthood on his shoulders.

Can we expect those circumstances to change soon, where The Hollow is concerned?
Lieber: The Hollow issue, or as we've been calling it this season 'the dark magic issue,' is sort of the ongoing problem. How do you put your family back together when they can't be in the same room? We're coming fairly close to a shift in that problem, which will change the dynamic.

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How will Hope deal with losing her mother once she realized what's happened?
Lieber: For Hope, to lose a parent is horrifying. And especially if you're of a group of people to whom the death of people you love is not a given. She is the daughter of everlasting creatures, right? Death is both all around her because they are creatures of death and also something that she's not necessarily prepared for because there's sort of a given of forever-ness with them. So from a human standpoint, anyone losing a parent just changes them. It forces them to deal with all sorts of things they didn't think they had to as a child, but also there's a specific color about this given the nature of her lineage.

When and if Elijah does get his memories back, how will it affect him knowing he played kind of a big part in Hayley's death?
Lieber: It's a big deal. When he comes to the realization of what he was a part of, unknowingly, it's a pretty seminal moment in the series and a pretty amazing acting moment on screen.

The Originals airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on The CW.

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Phoebe Tonkin and Danielle Rose Russell,<em> The Originals</em>Phoebe Tonkin and Danielle Rose Russell, The Originals