In the Hávamál, an Eddic poem that is one of the earliest surviving texts of Norse Mythology (part of the Codex Regius), Loddfafnir, is the point-of-view character who recounts the events of the text to the reader, narrating them as his own experiences and serving as a stand-in for the reader regarding the admonitions given in the text.

Loddfafnir is a man who claims he visited the well of Urd, one of the Norns (Fates), who know the origins and consequences of all events. There he witnessed the Norse gods holding their daily assembly, and he stayed in Valhalla, the mead hall of their leader Odin, at their invitation. During his stay, Loddfafnir is given an extensive lecture about ethics, morals, and common sense, in verse format, by Odin, who exhorts him to share his acquired wisdom with others, for their benefit.

Much of the advice he is given also consists of superstition specific to the culture of the text's author, granting a peculiar sort of insight into the people and time. Odin also supplies considerable advice about warfare and how to conduct oneself in battle, much of which certainly would not hold up to scrutiny under modern military doctrines. The text also contradicts itself in various places, advising to be "only just wary enough, and not over-wary," yet asserting that if one is a guest at another's house, it is advisable to search the host's belongings for evidence of intended treachery, if the host does not set someone to keep watch through the night.

For his own part, Loddfafnir is less a character than a justification for the author to characterise their words as originating from Odin. When reading it, the conceit reminds me a great deal of Cicero's instructive dialogue Laelius de Amicitia, wherein the characters are not characters so much as representatives of specific ideas and justifiers of the dialogue happening at all.

Iron Noder 2022, 26/30