- Alternate Character Interpretation: Is Amir a misunderstood boy who just wants his fathers affections? A coward who always runs from his problems? Or a selfish but still caring person? It seems that everyone sees Amir differently. However, this it's made clear that he's actually all of the above in the novel.
- Base-Breaking Character: Some people see Amir as a protagonist everyone can relate to who has to tackle the obstacles in his path, while others see him as a spineless jerk who only cares about himself. Granted, as said above, this is actually more clear in the novel since the reader is privy to his internal thoughts, and his whole arc is growing out of being spineless jerk who only cares for himself.
- Broken Base: Over the film as to whether it's a good adaptation of the book or not.
- Complete Monster: Assef begins life as a brass knuckle-brandishing sociopath and a racist bully with a virulent hatred of the Hazaras. Possessed of an admiration for Adolf Hitler himself and considering him a visionary, Assef is already known as an ear-eating savage around his area and shows his true colors by raping Hassan alongside his friends after the boy humiliates him. Assef graduates from bully to a member of the Taliban who introduces himself stoning a blindfolded man to death and taking orphans to be sold into sexual slavery, among them the now-deceased Hassan's son Sohrab as his personal Sex Slave. Assef is no less adamant about his mission to massacre the Hazaras, and proudly accepts the term "ethnic cleansing" as one he likes. Assef views himself as taking out "garbage" around Afghanistan, but when everything is clear, Assef is little more than a domineering, depraved, remorseless bully from youth to adulthood.
- Hollywood Homely: In the book, Ali is described as having his face muscles damaged by a sickness, and Hassan as having a cleft palate. Neither are present in the film; despite both of these things, especially the latter, being kind of really important details about said characters, with Hassan's cleft palate being bought up multiple times in the novel.
- It Was His Sled: The book is an international best seller even adopted as a classic reading for students, and the film has also contributed to its success. It's hard by now to not being familiar with some twists like Hassan's rape and his real parentage.
- Jerkass Woobie: As a child, Amir is shown to be stubborn and to often outwit on Hassan with tricks for his amusement. But he has a father who doesnt appreciate the way he is, feels guilt about killing his mom when she gave birth to him, has a massive Guilt Complex in general, and Hassan and Rahim Kahn are his only friends. He may be a jerk sometimes, but what Amir had to go through was rough; and it only gets worse for him from there. So, so much worse.
- General Tahiri, while not a "jerkass" per se, is an overprotective father who is restrictive about what he wants his daughter to do, once crumples up one of Amir's manuscripts and throws it in the trash in front of him, doesn't sleep in the same room as his wife anymore, and is way too snooty to want to get a job in America. However, one has to feel sorry for him, considering his constant headaches, and especially how he went from a general to some poor nobody, as he waits for the day that he can go back to Afghanistan that never comes.
- Baba, sort of. He's a nice person to everyone but Amir, who he is extremely neglectful towards and puts the full expectations of a "true Afghan man" on. However, once his backstory is revealed, and seeing him actually cry when Hassan and Ali leave, one also has to feel somewhat sorry for him. It also helps that he Took a Level in Kindness after moving to America.
- Moe: Hassan is loyal, innocent (or too innocent as Amir mentions) and a bit naïve. Its no surprise that people find him adorable.
- Moral Event Horizon: Assef crosses it... And then struts through it several more times while laughing. See Rape as Drama on the Main page and Complete Monster above for more details.
- One-Hit Wonder: Zekeria Ebrahimi and Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada, the Afghan child actors who played young Amir and young Hassan respectively, had never acted before and have never acted again. In fact, acting in the movie caused major problems after shooting finished, because many questioned sending them back to Kabul, where their families feared attacks because of the homosexual themes in the movie. They were relocated to the United Arab Emirates.
- Unpopular Popular Character: Even though Hassan is a nice person who would do anything for Amir, he is often subjected to racial comments by the Afghans for being a Hazara. But a lot of people adore Hassan and sympathize him for what he went through.
- The Woobie: Hassan, oh so much.
- Sohrab. Sadly, his situation isn't unique for children orphaned in Afghanistan during Taliban rule.
YMMV / The Kite Runner