Flying a kite--or kite running--is as much of a national sport in Afghanistan as playing baseball or football is in the United States. The title refers to the characters Hassan, the good friend of Amir, who is the narrator of the story. It also refers to the event that changes the lives of both of these boys, the competitive kite running that Amir wins, with the help of Hassan, after which Amir shames himself by not coming to the aid of Hassan when he needs him. Besides referring to these characters and these events, the title also refers the freedom of the kite made possible by controlling it through manipulation of the spool. The freedom, then, is only partial, but beautiful, a cooperation, in this case, between 2 boys and nature. Because this is a story of their friendship, naming the book Kite Runner, captures all of these aspects of it.