The Kite Runner Important Characters


Amir is a man of thirty-eight when he receives a phone call from his father's former business partner Rahim Khan. Rahim is sick and dying, he wants Amir to visit him in Pakistan. He tells him he has a way for Amir to be good again. This starts Amir reminiscing about the past, particularly about his former playmate Hassan.

Amir grew up feeling his father always hated him, because his mother died giving birth to him. He knew he was not the boy his father expected him to be, as he was not athletic, brave, or willing to be adventurous. Hassan was all these things, plus he was pure of heart. Hassan never lied, always kept his word, and would do anything Amir asked of him. In return for such devotion Amir played tricks on him, made him eat dirt to prove his loyalty, and allowed Hassan to take responsibility for his indiscretions. An example of this would be the trouble the boys would get into for shining mirrors into the neighbors' homes. Amir would ask Hassan to shine the mirrors with him, but upon being scolded for their actions, Amir let Hassan take sole responsibility for their actions.

The day Amir wins the kite fighting tournament and finally makes his father proud of him, is also the day which changes his and Hassan's lives forever. Hassan is a kite runner, which means he chases down the cut kites. He chases down the last kite Amir cut only to be harassed by Assef, a bully and his friends. To get the kite back Hassan is told he would have to pay a price for the kite, he doesn't know it is being raped by Assef. Amir is in a position to stop the horrible act, but fear and a need to bring the kite to his father keep him from acting. He regrets this decision for the rest of his life. It colors his life from that moment on and he cannot ever forget what he didn't do to save Hassan.

Amir grows up to become a successful author and marries Soraya. They live a quiet life, with one exception, they cannot have children and this puts a distance between them. The day Amir receives the call from Rahim changes his life again.

He is told Hassan is his half-brother, he is dead, and his son is in an orphanage in Kabul. Rahim asks Amir to show courage and bring the boy back. Amir summons up the courage to face not only Kabul and the Taliban, but Assef and a scared boy. In the end he shows he does have bravery in him and he rescues not only Sohrab, but also himself.


Hassan is the son of Ali, Amir's father's servant. He is Hazara and Shi'a Muslim, which means he cannot attend school and is ostracized by the Pashtun people, who hold the power in Afghanistan. He and Amir play together whenever Amir's school friends are not around. Hassan is an honest open hearted boy, who will do whatever Amir asks of him. He thinks of Amir as his friend, while Amir thinks of him as a playmate and nothing more.

On the day Amir wins the kite fighting tournament, Hassan is chased by some Pashtun boys, led by a boy named Assef. Assef, is cruel and hates Hassan and his people, so he doesn't see anything wrong with raping the boy. This is what Hassan endures, in order to take the last kite Amir cut back to him. He promised Amir he would bring him the kite and he fulfills that promise, even though it changes his life forever.

Amir lets Hassan down by not stopping the heinous act. He saw what was about to occur but he did nothing to stop it, because he was paralyzed with fear and a desire to have the kite. This day changes Amir and Hassan's relationship. Amir frames Hassan for theft and Hassan lets him. He takes responsibility for stealing Amir's birthday gifts, even though he was innocent. This act forces Hassan and his father, Ali to leave Amir's father's home, which causes Baba, Amir's father, great sadness. It is only as an adult that Amir finds out Hassan is his half-brother.

Hassan's life ends at the hand of the Taliban, leaving his son, Sohrab, an orphan. In an act of atonement Amir takes the boy from Kabul to the United States to become his son.


Baba is Amir's father, a man of contradictions. He tells Amir the greatest sin a man can commit is theft. Then he steals Ali's wife, by having a child, Hassan, with her. She cannot stand to be with Ali after the child is born, so she leaves him. This steals Hassan's mother from him. He robs Amir of affection, because he blames him for the death of Amir's mother. She died while giving birth to Amir. Baba is also a business man who is able to get the greatest return on his money and he doesn't seem to care how he achieves his goals.

Then there is the philanthropist Baba, the man who builds an orphanage, who helps out the poor and unemployed by giving them money and jobs. The man seen as the greatest man in his district. He is proud of his accomplishments and he is proud of his standing in the community.

This all comes crashing down after he and Amir are forced to escape from Kabul, after the Soviets take control of the Afghanistan. They move to California, where this once wealthy man finds work in a gas station. He doesn't understand American culture, but he knows his son has a chance to thrive here.

His relationship with Amir strengthens and in the end as he lay dying, it is Amir and his wife who take care of him. He also in those final days acknowledges his son's talent as a writer.

Rahim Khan

Rahim Khan is not only Baba's business partner, but he is also the one adult who believes in Amir. He spots the boy's talent as a writer early and encourages him. He stands up to Baba when he puts down Amir and is a true friend to a lonely boy.

Rahim is the person Baba trusts with his home, as he and Amir escape from Kabul. Rahim brings Hassan and his wife to live with him in that house. He is the one person Amir is willing to fly to Pakistan for and the person who can talk him into going back to Kabul.

Rahim knows if he tells Amir the truth about his relationship with Hassan, it will give him another reason to save Sohbar. He knows if he puts the two of them together then they both will benefit. These two lost people will have a second chance at life, because they can give each other hope.

Rahim is a good man, who tells Amir the truth, even if it is painful to hear, because he knows it is what Amir needs in order to go on with his life.


Assef is the neighborhood bully. His mother is German and his father is Afghan, so he is the only blue eyed boy in the district. He is also the only boy who carries stainless-steel brass knuckles with him at all times. He enjoys enforcing his version of the law on any one he can find. He especially hates Hazaras, so he picks on Hassan. Hassan is very good with a slingshot and therefore he has a way of making Assef leave him alone. On one occasion, Hassan makes Assef back down by threating to take his eye out with the slingshot. Assef never forgets this humiliation.

This is why he rapes Hassan, and later buys Hassan's son to use in the same way. It is he Amir must fight in order to get the boy away from him. Sohbar, Hassan's son takes Assef's eye out using his slingshot, just as his father had taught him.

Assef is one of the reasons for Hassan and Amir's relationship ending. After all, if he had not committed that heinous act in the alley, then Amir wouldn't have had to make the decision he did and Hassan would not have had to suffer. Assef is a sociopath who uses the power of the Taliban to fill his own sadistic needs.


Sohrab is Hassan and his wife Farzana's son. He is also Amir's half-nephew and the boy Rahim sends Amir to rescue. Sohrab in his eleven years has seen too much violence, lost too many loved ones, and is treated abominably by the director of the orphanage. The director sold him to Assef, so he could receive money to keep the orphanage running.

When Amir rescues him, the boy is reluctant to accept his friendship, because his experience with adult men, after his parents died, is horrendous. Slowly he comes to trust Amir, but when Amir tells him he might have to go back to an orphanage, it was too much for him to take. Amir had promised him he would not have to go back to an orphanage, but circumstances make this unlikely, so Sohrab tries to kill himself.

Eventually, Amir takes him to America and him and his wife adopt Sohrab. It takes almost a year, but Amir does start to regain his trust. Sohrab is truly a victim of his times, living in Afghanistan while the Taliban are in control. He is a good boy trying to find his place in his new family and country.


Soraya is Amir's "Swap Meet Princess". This is because they meet at a swap meet. She is the daughter of General Taheri, a friend of Baba's father. Amir falls for her instantly, but it takes a long time before the two of them talk and even longer before they can marry. She is sweet and becomes a teacher. The only thing she wants besides being Amir's wife, is a child. She is not able to have a baby, which is why adding Sohrab to their family means so much to her.

Soraya is thoughtful and kind, as shown by her desire to take care of Baba in his last days. She insists on moving in with Amir and Baba after she and Amir marry. Amir thought she would want her own home, but instead she wants to tend to Baba in his last days. She is a perfect complement to Amir, as she helps him see the world through a different perspective.

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The Kite Runner Chapters 1 - 5 Summary
The Kite Runner Chapters 6 - 7 Summary
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The Kite Runner Chapters 13 - 15 Quiz
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The Kite Runner Chapter 25 Quiz
The Kite Runner Chapters 8 - 10 Summary
The Kite Runner Chapters 11 - 12 Summary
The Kite Runner Chapters 13 - 15 Summary
The Kite Runner Chapters 16 - 19 Summary
The Kite Runner Chapters 20 - 22 Summary
The Kite Runner Chapters 23 - 24 Summary
The Kite Runner Chapter 25 Summary
Literature Summaries

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