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In The Two Towers, when Frodo and Sam meet Faramir, he tells them something that happened a few days earlier:

'I sat at night by the waters of Anduin, in the grey dark under the young pale moon, watching the ever-moving stream; and the sad reeds were rustling. ... Then I saw, or it seemed that I saw, a boat floating on the water, glimmering grey, a small boat of a strange fashion with a high prow, and there was none to row or steer it.

...

'A broken sword was on his knee. I saw many wounds on him. It was Boromir, my brother, dead'

Frodo thinks it's a vision:

'Yet how could such a thing have happened in truth?' asked Frodo. 'For no boat could have been carried over the stony hills from Tol Brandir; ... And yet how could any vessel ride the foam of the great falls and not founder in the boiling pools, though laden with water?'

But Faramir seems to think a boat made by the elves in Lorien might make it:

'You passed through the Hidden Land,' said Faramir, 'but it seems that you little understood its power. If Men have dealings with the Mistress of Magic who dwells in the Golden Wood, then they may look for strange things to follow.'

Is it ever established, perhaps by Word of God (i.e. Tolkien's letters) whether this was a vision or Boromir's actual body?

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    TTT, The Departure of Boromir, adds more info: "But in Gondor in after-days it long was said that the elven-boat rode the falls and the foaming pool, and bore him down through Osgiliath, and past the many mouths of Anduin, out into the Great Sea at night under the stars." – user8719 May 5 '13 at 22:54
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    I believe that it was both a vision AND true. Faramir did not literally see the boat but Boromir was carried out into the Sea. – TheMathemagician May 6 '13 at 1:53
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    I believe he had a vision and also found the broken Horn of Gondor... – user14318 May 6 '13 at 16:38
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    Faramir did not find the horn: "The shards came severally to shore: one was found among the reeds where watchers of Gondor lay, northwards below the infalls of the Entwash; the other was found spinning on the flood by one who had an errand in the water." And the fact that two pieces of the horn survived Rauros doesn't exactly support the idea that Boromir and his boat did, too. – Plutor May 7 '13 at 11:38
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In Middle Earth prophecy is real and happens regularly. Both Faramir and Boromir have definite"true dreams" in the books. Its likely that this was one of Faramir's "true dreams".

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    +1 This. In myth-making, the limits between prophecy, dreams and reality are purposefully blurry. It doesn't really matter whether it was "only" a dream; it happened, and it was prophetic, and Boromir was really dead in the end :) – Andres F. May 6 '13 at 21:44
  • Sure, the prophecy was real. He saw the belt and boat from Lorien, which he couldn't have known about. But it can't be both a vision and Boromir's actual body. – Plutor May 7 '13 at 11:43
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    @Plutor Why not? LotR is not characterized by real-world logic, but poetic logic. But I guess the point is that it doesn't matter. It's symbolic; it signifies something important and that's what matters. – Andres F. May 7 '13 at 13:07
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When Gandalf and Pippen arrive in Gondor they find Denothor on his Chair with the cloven horn of Boromir on his lap. This proves that Boromir in the Elven boat made it past the falls, all the way to Gondor and on the way to the Sea. It is more likely that Faramir actually saw his dead brother float past on the Anduin than Faramir having a "vision" or "dream". I prefer to believe that he did see his brother.

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    The horn was not found with Boromir's body, the two pieces were found separately. It doesn't 'prove' the boat survived, it just proves that those two pieces of horn (small and light) survived. – Plutor May 7 '13 at 11:42
  • When Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas put Boromir in the elven boat, they laid the cloven horn on Boromir's lap. Later in that same paragraph it says, "But in Gondor in after-days it long was said that the elven-boat rode the falls and the foaming pool, and bore him down through Osgiliath, and past the many mouths of Anduin, out into the Great Seas at night under the stars." When the boat went thru Osgiliath, the cloven horn was taken and then given to Denathor. This implies that the burial elven-boat laid out by Aragorn was intact when it passed Osgiliath. – Jim May 8 '13 at 0:46
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    As I quoted in a comment above, the horn pieces were not taken from Boromir's boat. They were found in the water in two different places by two different people. (Neither of whom were Faramir.) – Plutor May 8 '13 at 12:56

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