Paul Wade (mentioned by name only once in the novel) is John’s father, and the husband of Eleanor Wade. He plays an enormous role in the novel, insofar as he influences his son’s fondness for deception, manipulation, bullying, and charm. John’s father is a popular figure in his community, and John loves him deeply. At the same time, his father is a drunk, and frequently bullies him, calling him fat and effeminate for wanting to practice magic. Eventually, Paul commits suicide by hanging himself. John is in high school at the time, and is devastated. John learns to use fantasy to repress his sense of sadness, and imagines having long, loving conversations with his father long after his father’s death. It’s suggested many times that Paul’s death gives John a deep need to be loved, a need which influences his decision to enter politics as a career and to marry Kathy. It’s also implied that John learns to go by many names because his father called him names as a child.