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File:Kite runner.jpg

The Kite Runner is a novel written in 2003 by Khaled Hosseini.

The story begins in Afghanistan, and follows Amir, a Pashtun or Pathan and a member of the Kabul upper class. His father's servant, Hassan, is a Hazara, one of the North Afghan tribes (the Pashtuns inhabit the south, along with related regions in Pakistan and Iran). They're best friends, despite their racial differences. One day, Hassan is beaten and raped by a bully as revenge for threatening to shoot him in the eye with a slingshot whilst defending Amir. Amir witnesses this happening, but, due to his cowardice, does nothing to help his friend.

Many years later, Amir is married and living in the United States working as a successful novelist. One day he receives a phone call from someone he had previously known from his childhood. This phone call changes the course of his life as he learns several things about the fate of his former country, as well as several reveals about his, his family's, and Hassan's past.

In 2007, a movie was made based on the novel, directed by Marc Forster (Finding Neverland, Quantum of Solace)

Tropes used in The Kite Runner include:

  • Arc Words: "For you, a thousand times over."
  • Badass Israeli: Baba has this opinion.
  • Beard of Evil: Assef.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: Assef.
  • Brats with Slingshots: Probably one of the most dramatic uses.
  • Cain and Abel: Amir to Hassan in childhood, with Baba playing a God who favors Hassan over Amir. They are brothers in spirit, having fed from the same breast and been raised together. And while loved by Hassan, Amir sacrified Hassan by failing to intervene in Assef's raping of Hassan. Amir did this so that Hassan could bring home a kite that would bring favor to Amir from Baba. Feeling guilty and also wanting to have Baba to himself, Amir later sacrified Hassan again, this time by framing Hassan with theft.
  • China Doubling: Some scenes in the movie was filmed in Kashgar, China(a city in the far western part of China) instead of Afghanistan, because there wasn't any snow in Kabul in the summer.
  • Death by Childbirth: Amir's mother died giving birth to him.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Assef.
  • During the War: Includes the Soviet Invasion.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending
  • Eye Scream: At the end, Sohrab finishes what Hassan started and shoots out Assef's eye.
  • Foreshadowing: "Baba walked out of the welfare office like a man cured of a tumor." A completely forgettable line, blink and you'll miss it--then when you reread the story you realize just how blatantly obvious that one was.
  • In the Blood: All over the place, as: Hassan's son is said to be very much like him, which plays this straight. Seemingly subverted with Amir and Baba, as Amir believes Baba hates him for not being the image of a man as he was, but played straight and noted by Amir when his hatred of him may have stemmed his guilt from how Baba was Hassan's actual father with an affair with Hassan's mother, and they both had past shames. Averted with Hassan, as he is a much more kindly person than his biological father, and said to be near-impossible to anger as opposed to Baba, which is much like Hassan's perceived father.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Assef's friend Kamal, who helps him rape Hassan, later appears in a catatonic state and is implied to have been gang-raped himself. Then he dies, in what's not quite a Karmic Death.
    • With Amir using loyal Hassan and letting him get raped to try to impress Baba, he is later beaten up by Assef, and receives many injuries, including his lip being split, making it look like the harelip that Hassan had. It's pretty much a Discussed Trope by Amir, who notes the similarity on the lip and felt like he got what was coming to him from the assault.
    • See also Eye Scream above for Assef.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Hassan is Amir's half-brother.
  • Magical Hazara: Hassan. Servile? Check. Unappreciated? Absolutely. Vaguely not of this world? Too true. Rescues the hero? Uh-huh. Imparts small nuggets of ill-educated homespun wisdom? All the time. Minority? Clearly. Killed off when melodramatically expedient? Yep. Primitive stereotype? Unfortunately.
  • Most Writers Are Writers
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Assef's beatdown of Amir. With brass knuckles.
  • One Degree of Separation: Lampshaded when a random beggar off the street happens to know Amir's mother. According to the book, this is actually a pretty common occurrence in Afghanistan.
  • Orphanage of Fear: Where Sohrab is sent.
  • Plot Hole: In-universe. As revealed to Amir by Hassan about Amir's story; why didn't the poor man use an onion to shed tears instead of trying to make himself sad?
  • Rape as Drama: Assef's rape of Hassan, which leads to a lot of drama.
  • Redemption Quest: Amir going to rescue Sohrab is used as redemption for how cowardly he had been in the past.
  • Scarpia Ultimatum: When Amir and his father are leaving Afghanistan, the Russian guard will only let the truck carrying Afghani them into Pakistan if he can have sex with one of the women. Baba stands up for the couple. Also to a lesser extent with Assef and Hassan.
  • Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: Assef is a pretty typical example.
  • Serious Business: Kite-fighting. It's pretty much Truth in Television.
  • Step-Father Mentor: Rahim Kahn to Amir
  • Sweetie Graffiti: Amir carves, "Amir and Hassan, the sultans of Kabul," into a pomegranate tree with Ali's kitchen knives.
  • The Reveal: Both a protagonist and a antagonist reveal.
  • There Are No Therapists: Sohrab was repeatedly sexually abused, tried to commit suicide after he thought Amir betrayed him, then didn't speak for over a year. There was no therapy.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Baba, to Amir.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: One of the main driving forces behind the plot.
  • You Are the Translated Foreign Word