In numerous ways, Cardinal Vittorio Scarbanza di Contini-Verchese in The Thorn Birds resembles Rahim Khan in The Kite Runner and Hakim in A Thousand Splendid Suns. The main similarity lies in their paternal function in relation to a main character. Although only Hakim is actually a biological father, the three serve as mentors in various ways, including emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. They differ as well in that Hakim has a daughter, while the other two are father-like to young men.
Cardinal Vittorio had been an archbishop when he began to influence Father Ralph, and he plays a significant role in helping the inexperienced young priest rise through Church ranks to become an archbishop himself. Along with spiritual guidance, he helps Ralph understand the political dimensions of Church hierarchy.
In The Kite Runner, Amir has a difficult relationship with his father, Baba. Rahim Khan helps guide Amir toward the creative life he desires and is helpful once more after Baba’s death. Amir had not understood why Baba was so demanding of him. Rahim shares the crucial information that Hassan was also Baba’s son and helps him toward the crucial decision to raise Hassan’s son.
Hakim is the father of Laila, one of two main female characters in A Thousand Splendid Suns. While not as ambitious or decisive as the cardinal, Hakim was a positive influence on his daughter, especially in regard to instilling a passion for education in her. Although she could not pursue higher learning, his encouraging attitude helped her stay strong during tough times while raising her own daughter.