These have been — and will continue to be — trying times.
Cottagecore was once a subculture and youth trend, but shelter in place orders made enthusiastic (or resentful) homebodies out of all of us, and cottagecore became one of the many ways people thrived or struggled through quarantine. We started making our own bread and growing our own food like never before. The safest place to socialize is now the great outdoors. It's almost like the most obvious way to push through hard times is to escape to simpler ones.
There is rampant inequality, an actual tyrant in power, and the laypeople are struggling, some even itching for a revolution. Throughout the Black Lives Matter protests of the summer, actual witches pitched in with their hexes. Oh, and there is a pandemic, which Medieval-inclined youths on TikTok increasingly refer to as a "the plague."
Medieval TikTok is not new. For as long as the app has been in North America, young history buffs like @slavicceasar have been sharing fun facts about historical periods. Another segment of TikTok had fun reimagining the distant past as a less-genocidal queer fantasyland. But we now have viral sounds to thank for the current state of Medieval TikTok: one is a Medieval version of Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie" (also Jerry Rivera's "Amores Como El Nuestro").
The meme starts with a medieval version of a pop song and TikTok's green screen effect employed to turn a nondescript medieval painting into the background. Medieval is employed broadly here — it's not about history, but a broad interpretation of all things old-timey and medieval.
And then there's the medieval version (again, medieval employed loosely) of Harry Styles' "Watermelon Sugar." These videos begin as Medieval Quarantine memes and end with some Robin-Hood-looking version of Harry Styles complimenting the damsel in distress. This is where medieval and fanfic TikTok collide.