Queen Nena was a teacher before becoming the queen. Aspects of her character was inspired by Author C.C. Uzoh's mother who was a teacher. Amongst other things, she taught him how to pray and how to use idioms to express himself.
"Nkemjika is courageous, bold, vulnerable, and honest, making her a heroic lead. She narrates, and her inner monologue is psychologically sympathetic."
Though she didn't finish secondary school for reasons beyond her control, Nkem was bright and intelligent as can be gleaned from the book. She'd studied the English language with her son; making use of the dictionary and English literature books to better herself and help prepare her son for university studies she'd hoped would be a reality for him.
What would you do if your loved one becomes a victim of a supposedly banned sacrificial ritual, one in which firstborn sons from poor backgrounds are the prime targets—though the privileged are not totally exempt—and you learn that your king is aware of its pervasiveness and then goes after you to silence you for good? Would you bring down his kingdom with all you have? Or would you lay low, accept the status quo, and/or hope that someone else fights the fight? What does Nkem do?