Fornjótr is listed as a Jǫtunn in one of the thulur, sometimes included in editions of the Skáldskaparmál. This is as expected, since Fornjótr's son Ægir is also identified as a giant in various sources.
The meaning of the name is not clear, It might possibly be from forn ('old') + jótr ('Jutlander') or more likely the word for 'giant' (Finnish 'jätti', Norse 'jotunn' - giant) or might be from for ('early') + njótr ('destroyer').
Fornjótr is also, following a particular legendary genealogical tradition, the first-known direct paternal ancestor of William I of England and also through other supposed descendants a terminal ancestor of ascending branches of many European noble families and modern Icelandic families.
Fornjótr is mentioned only twice in old verse: in stanza 29 of Ynglingatal where "son of Fornjót" seems to refer to fire and in a citation in Snorri Sturluson's Skáldskaparmál:
How should the wind be periphrased? Thus: call it son of Fornjót, Brother of the Sea and of Fire, Scathe or Ruin or Hound or Wolf of the Wood or of the Sail or of the Rigging.
Thus spake Svein in the Nordrsetu-drápa:
First began to fly
Fornjót's sons ill-shapen.
In the Orkneyinga saga and in Hversu Noregr byggdist ('How Norway was settled')—both found in the Flatey Book—Fornjótr appears as an ancient ruler of Finland and Kvenland. He is the father of three sons named Ægir or Hlér, Logi 'flame', and Kári. The Hversu account says further that Hlér ruled over the seas, Logi over fire, and Kári over wind.
In Popular Culture
- One of the planet Saturn's moons is named after him.
|Jǫtnar and Gýgjar|
|Jǫtnar||Alvaldi • Annarr • Auðr • Baugi • Beli • Bergelmir • Bǫlþorn • Býleistr • Eggþér • Fárbauti • Fjǫrgynn • Fornjótr • Gangr • Geirrǫðr • Gillingr • Gymir • Helblindi • Helreginn • Hrímgrímnir • Hrímnir • Hrungnir • Hrymr • Hræsvelgr • Hymir • Iði • Ím • Kári • Litr • Logi • Loki • Mímir • Mǫkkurkálfi • Mǫgþrasir • Naglfari • Narfi • Narfi Lokason • Søkkmímir • Surtr • Suttungr • Útgarða-Loki • Vafþrúðnir • Váli • Víðblindi • Vǫrnir • Ymir • Þjazi • Þrívaldi • Þrúðgelmir • Þrymr • Ægir|
|Gýgjar||Angrboða • Aurboða • Bestla • Eimyrja • Eisa • Fjǫrgyn • Gerðr • Gjálp • Glǫð • Greip • Gríðr • Gunnlǫð • Harðgreipr • Hljóð • Hrímgerðr • Hróðr • Hyrrokkin • Járnsaxa • Jǫrð • Laufey • Leikn • Nine Daughters of Ægir and Rán/Nine Mothers of Heimdallr • Nótt • Skaði • Sinmara • Þǫkk|