Gobeze Derso :
Gobeze is a poor, peace-loving, young man of 25; a brilliant student who dedicates his whole life to Sem Ina Werq riddles (literally translated to “Wax and Gold riddles”, which are riddles with dual meaning). He spends seven years searching for his young love, Aleme, and upon finding her, he is chained to his rival and her husband Gonite and sets off on a long journey to defeat him in the royal court, to reclaim his love and to get justice.
Gonite Tigabu :
He is a 55-year-old local judge, rich farmer, landlord and Aleme’s husband. He interprets the law to fit his own selfish needs. He is aloof but well-respected. After he catches Gobeze with his wife, he is filled with pride and eagerness to get Gobeze punished in the royal court.
Aleme Bantideru :
Aleme is a wise, beautiful, shy but courageous 23-year-old woman who is a victim of the tradition of abduction marriage. Although married to Gonite, her heart longs for Gobeze.
Queen of Kings, Zewditu Minilik :
King Minilik’s daughter. She was enthroned against her will in order to continue her father’s legacy. Her passions are spiritual dedication and social justice. She likes church songs and “Sem ina Werq” riddles. In the midst of a silent political struggle, her husband is kidnapped, and is likely dead. Not long after his disappearance, the mourning queen presides over Gobeze and Gonite’s trial as part of her royal service to the community.
Afenigus Tarekegn :
He is a royal judge in his 60’s with his title translating into “the mouth of the queen”. He is very dignified and well versed in the law as well as the rules of royal debates. He is famous for terrible deeds such as receiving bribes from both debating parties but judging in favor of the party that pays him more.
Tessema Belew :
Gobeze’s friend; 24 years old. He has a great sense of humor, is eager to learn from Gobezé and follows him to the royal court as a sign of his friendship.
Priest Bewketu Bogale (Yenta) :
a dedicated teacher who trains Gobeze in the church school where he is also fondly referred to as Yenta. He has had a special interest in Gobeze after noticing his talent for “Sem ina Werq” riddles.
Areru the Bandit :
a stern man, quick to anger, who once served as the Queen’s guard. Loyal to the Queen and upset that she was enthroned against her will, he becomes a bandit. An encounter with Gobeze inspires him to seek his own justice by appealing to the queen.